By Sylvie Peron
AirGo, the German boutique airline, which entered service almost 20 years ago, is famous for being the first to operate the Piaggio Avanti aircraft in Europe. Co-founder Daniela Flierl is a strong advocate of the Italian-made turboprop, whose distinct aerodynamic design of the fuselage contributes to its efficiency. Its sleek and stylish cabin layout is most appreciated, in particular for charter use. Environmentally friendly, the Avanti consumes only two-thirds of the fuel compared to other aircraft in the same class. Ultimate Jet asked Pilot Daniela Flierl what makes BizAv such a reliable way to travel in times of the virus.
“The global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic marked a turning point affecting our personal and professional life as well as world economics. The rapidly evolving situation forced extreme measures to contain the new virus. Governments mandated to practice social distancing, home quarantine and released travel bans. It is commendable that almost all people and communities adhere to these instructions and a big step towards limiting the spread to the Corona virus. However, what to do if there are still important and inevitable reasons to travel? Now, more than ever, it is important that enterprises providing fundamental services, infrastructure and healthcare can continue to operate. Those who need to travel or have to make travel arrangements presently are confronted with a lot of uncertainty. Most commercial airlines drastically cut their flight schedules or temporarily ceased operation. Also, flight schedules are subject to constant change. This is partially due to the decline in travel demand, but also due to travel bans and flight and passenger restrictions by states. Moreover, when travelling commercially it is almost impossible to mind social distancing. Due to the variety of human touch points, the fear and the risk that the virus might be transmitted is constantly present. Many of these obstacles can be avoided by choosing business aviation. Especially now, it is an efficient, safe and reliable way to travel, and sometimes the only option available. Private jets operate on demand and are not bound to a flight schedule. The client can choose the best suitable travel date and time and then flies directly from origin to destination. Connections at airports or having to overnight at the destination can be avoided. Human touch points are reduced to a minimum. Business jet passengers use private terminals (FBOs) with fewer visitors and spend less time at the airport. Besides, the client(s) have the entire aircraft to themselves and do not share the cabin with anyone else, except their companions and crew. The fact that it is an individual service even gives us the flexibility to enter countries with travel restrictions. Commercial airlines cannot justify the reason of travel for every single passenger and check supporting documentation. For a customer entering a country on a private jet, we can collect and process documents that could grant a flight even into a lock-down area. Especially when nationals or residents are repatriating. Furthermore, the health and safety of our passengers and crew is our highest priority. Therefore, we take preventive measures to fully protect our staff and clients as much as possible.The cabin of all our aircraft is cleaned and disinfected before every passenger flight. Health information and disinfecting equipment are accessible to our customers when they are travelling with us. Also, all of our flight crew and office staff members received a briefing concerning special measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. While normally the crew is interacting with the passengers to make them feel welcome and create a personal experience, currently we minimize interaction between the crew and the passengers. Thanks to the spacious cabin of our aircraft, the Piaggio Avanti, it is possible to keep the recommended distance even while being on board. We meet all regulations and recommendations published by national and international health and safety authorities. We are implementing any new recommendations in the fastest way possible.”
Daniela Flierl offers a positive outlook about the ‘day after’, when normal life will resume, hopefully in a not so distant future. “Business Aviation was always an important part of economic growth. While scheduled airlines will need time to reactivate the flight network, our private jets are available immediately to perform point-to-point travel. As the virus will not disappear completely, we’ll most probably face enhanced hygiene measures for a longer period, which are met by business aviation based on the privacy of private jets and private terminals. In a world coping with a pandemic, the private jet will give the security to companies as well as families to be able to travel responsibly and safely. While private jet flights will increase again, there will be also an increasing amount of empty leg (positioning flights without passengers) which AirGO will provide cost free to humanitarian workers, transport of medical equipment and medical workers as well as for any other crucial help to fight against the spread of the virus or to help the most vulnerable people.”