Few airlines in the industry can claim to have a history of more than fifty years while maintaining a reputation as strong as TAG Aviation in the business aviation community. Present in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, TAG offers a complete range of services: charter flights and aircraft management on behalf of owners but also maintenance, ground services and flight crew training.
With its presence in Europe and the strengthening of its market on the Old Continent, TAG Aviation announced last February the opening of a new commercial office in Paris. This resulted in the arrival of Victoire Totah as Business Development for France, Monaco and Benelux, which in turn has given Ultimate Jet the opportunity to get up to speed on this market, which seems to be getting a second wind.
For what reasons did TAG decide to reinforce its presence in France?
TAG has two historical locations in Europe in Geneva and Farnborough, representing nearly 900 employees in Europe. France is geographically located between these two major business areas and has always represented a dynamic market for business aviation. Because of the presence of our Bombardier and Dassault-approved maintenance center at Le Bourget, it made sense for TAG to have an on-site representative who could showcase the expertise of our French-speaking teams to the local clientele regarding the services provided: charter flights and aircraft management. This decision was also made in view of the more favorable French political and economic context and a greater demand from our clientele, whom we wanted to be closer to. After a decade of crisis, the year 2017 has shown us very encouraging signs of recovery in business aviation and we now want to anticipate the growth of the coming years. TAG has not only strengthened its investments in France but also in Russia, Portugal, Malta and Africa.
What are the specificities of the French business aviation market?
The French market is still a little less mature than the Swiss or English markets, where there are still a large number of small local players. It is imperative to be there to reassure a clientele that is still afraid of the image of business aviation, which is still heavily stigmatized by the French media. I also feel that French customers are more reluctant to deal with a large international group because they are afraid of paying brand prices. It is for this reason that it is important to be there, to explain to them that on the contrary, it is thanks to our scale that they will not only benefit from a more qualitative service but also from lower costs and more transparency.
What are the key factors necessary to successfully develop the French market?
Beyond the importance of building relationships of trust with French customers by being on site, it seems essential to me to understand the specific constraints of this market to offer truly personalized solutions. TAG Aviation’s ability to meet all business aviation needs is an undeniable advantage. The size of our fleet and the volume of operations we manage allow us to provide expertise that is highly appreciated by our partners. Our international reputation is also a non-negligible asset that allows us to engage more easily with leading actors.
What prompted you to take up this challenge?
I have been working in business aviation for more than 12 years, and having often collaborated with TAG in the past, I have appreciated the seriousness and skills of the teams. After 10 years in the sale of aircraft and aeronautical consulting at Aéro Capital, I was the Commercial Director of a very light jet company in France that allowed me to understand the operational dimension of our business. It is undoubtedly this transversal experience and my knowledge of the market that make me comfortable representing TAG Aviation and developing all its activities in this area. I wanted to use my experience while keeping the option of being creative and autonomous. With the resources and support of the teams, and especially that of Florent Sériès our VP Sales and Marketing Director, this job is ideal for me.
You started your role in February. What are your impressions after three months?
They are very positive. The competitive environment is changing very quickly, especially at Le Bourget, and it is obvious that French customers are looking for greater quality in the management of their aircraft. Our expertise and our durability are valuable assets that have received a lot of positive feedback. We will soon be able to announce the arrival in our new aircraft fleet based in France and in particular at Le Bourget which will strengthen the presence of TAG Aviation in France.