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

F-16Vs to the rescue of Bahrain's age concern

Bahrain is to recapitalise its ageing fighter force with the purchase of 19 new-build Block 70 F-16Vs and via the upgrade of its 20 surviving Block 40 F-16C/Ds to the same standard.

Emirates and Flydubai celebrate six months of successful partnership

Emirates and Flydubai has revealed strong passenger numbers for the first six months of their partnership.

Etihad Aviation Group launches initiatives to commemorate the Year of Zayed

Etihad Aviation Group has unveiled its extensive Year of Zayed initiatives which are set to be launched throughout 2018.

Emirates renews its support to Mauritius and Seychelles

Emirates has announced its renewed support to Mauritius and the Seychelles by extending its global marketing agreement with the respective Tourism Boards of the two countries.

Flydubai announces direct flights to Helsinki

Flydubai has announced services to Finland’s capital, Helsinki.

Oman Air unveils First Class suite at Arabian Travel Market

Oman Air unveiled the new First Class Mini Suite of its Dreamliner 787 -9 fleet, at the Arabian Travel Market, a key travel and tourism event taking place from 22-25 April, held in Dubai.

TAA SK0902311218
See us at
EBACE 2018GATM BT1004061118Global Aerospace BT2018MEBAA BT1004121218Cargo BT1004091018ArabianTravelMkBT250418SOFEX BT2018AirportShow BT1502090518BIAS BT271017161118Istanbul Airshow BT22018ASDubai BT1004091018