Subscribe Free
in Business Aviation / Features

Smart move for VIP operator

Posted 17 April 2018 · Add Comment

With more than 30 years’ aviation experience, Captain Mohamed Roshdy Zakaria knows the airline business from top to bottom.

When he became EgyptAir CEO in 2012, he had already been a chief pilot examiner and instructor on the Airbus 300-B4, the Boeing B767 and B777, and he had been instrumental in creating and building the airline’s integrated operation control centre (IOCC).
Consequently, when it came to stepping down from the airline’s hot seat, Zakaria knew early retirement was not an option. Instead, he took up the reins at Egypt’s first private aviation company, Smart Aviation.
Stepping into his office in the Ministry of Civil Aviation building, it was clear that Zakaria is hands-on… very hands-on.
“We need fuel in the Gulfstream now and where are the crew?” he barked down the telephone.
He had picked up on a charter opportunity for a Gulfstream G450 managed by Smart. “We have just one-hour-and-a-half to get crew, catering, fuel and permits,” he said.
Zakaria has been tasked with turning around the loss-making charter business, which had been formed in 2007 and operating in the VIP sector since 2009.
“So far it is working,” he said. “We have seen losses reducing each quarter and I am confident that we will now be turning into profit when the 2017 results are out.
“We have seven aircraft in the fleet, six Cessna Citation Sovereigns – one is managed by us and the others owned – and the Gulfstream, which we manage.”
The operator is part of the Avinode network and is seeing its international charters increasing.
“We lost a lot of our market after the revolution and it hasn’t recovered,” said Zakaria. “It has picked up over the past year but is probably only to 80% of what it was before.”
The Sovereigns are ideal for medical evacuation activities and two of the fleet have been made ready for medevac operations.
“These are the only real air ambulances in Egypt,” Zakaria said.
Smart also operates a King Air 350 for inspection and calibrating navigational aids. “We have worked on the systems at most Egyptian civil and military airports and also won contracts in Oman and Saudi Arabia. We have also begun working in South Sudan,” he added.
 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

Gulf Air launches stopover travel packages for Bahrain

Gulf Air has announced the launch of new stopover travel packages designed to promote Bahrain as a tourist destination to its customer base.

Jet Set X chooses Dassault Aviation Falcon 8X as aircraft of choice

Jet Set X, an exclusive members only club, has appointed Dassault Aviation Falcon 8X as the aircraft of choice and JETEX as the Official FBO for The Middle East.

"Daesh as an organisation, is probably the most despicable group I've seen."

Group Captain Chas Dickens, OBE, commander of the UK Royal Air Force’s No903 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW), gives a first-hand account of the UK’s combat air operations over Syria and Iraq to Jon Lake.

SalamAirsigns five-year contract with Swissport

SalamAir of Oman has signed a five-year contract with Swissport for hub handling at Muscat International Airport.

Hamad International Airport voted 'Best Airport in the Middle East'

Hamad International Airport (HIA) has been voted as the 'Best Airport in the Middle East' at the 15th Annual Global Traveler’s GT Tested Reader Survey Awards in Los Angeles.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecasts the global airline industry net profit to be $35.5 billion in 2019, slightly ahead of the $32.3 billion expected net profit in 2018 (revised down from $33.8 billion forecast

TAA SK0902311218
See us at
AIME19BTA3005120219ACCA19_BT2141218280219SaudiAirshowBT0711140319Aviation Africa BT0607280219MECAS_BT171218130219