Aware that mine is an unusual way to make a living, when people ask: ‘What does an aviation writer do?’ my answer is usually, ‘I write about planes’. Looking back through the pages of this Spring 2023 EVA, I realise that’s not true at all. This edition neatly reflects the diversity of geography, people and technologies that characterise business and VIP aviation.
We talk connectivity with SmartSky Networks, maintenance with Bombardier at its London Biggin Hill Airport service centre and support with JSSI. We discover how Aircare International and Aiber deliver medical assistance, two quite different online systems occupying different spaces in the digital marketplace, and SherpaReport’s guide to aircraft ownership for those new to private flying or looking to step up to ownership.
We also learn something of Dubai culture with ExecuJet Middle East, while Gulfstream, sharing the detail behind how it flew two G700s more than 54,000nm during a world tour at the end of last year, provides a demonstration of the reach only business aviation can deliver.
David Helfgott, CEO and Director at SmartSky Networks says the company is looking forward to a busy 2023 now that its air-to-ground connectivity solution is connecting jets across the US. The same could be said of the industry in general, with 2023 showing normalisation post-pandemic and settling above the level of activity seen in 2019 – those new entrants to private flying are staying and a steady stream of fresh customers continues to arrive.
The OEMs, Bombardier and Gulfstream among them, have no shortage of buyers even for their largest, most capable jets. Bombardier is investing heavily in aftermarket support as it looks to grow that aspect of its business to $2.5 billion by 2025, even as it works to bring the Global 8000 to market. Meanwhile, Gulfstream presented its G700 to customers during that extraordinary world tour, setting 25 city pair records in the process.
Working hard in 2023 and beyond to extend its international presence, JSSI offers a worthy alternative to OEM-offered support programmes, using the power of data to predict what its customers need, when and at a reasonable price. Again, it’s a story of expansion, as it is with ExecuJet Middle East, where a brand new FBO at Al Maktoum International Airport will join the refurbished facility at Dubai International Airport from Q3 2023.
The final word goes to Scott Evans, Gulfstream’s Head of Flight Operations. He positively bounced through our interview, such is his enthusiasm for all things Gulfstream and flying. “I am so fortunate. I get to go fly these beautiful machines!” This is, indeed, the most fortunate, endlessly fascinating and extraordinary of industries.