16….in aviation since 1973, that is 44 years!
The first twelve aviation years I did a bit of flying myself, as military pilot on one of the fastest and thrilling jets of its time, the F104G “Starfighter”, during the cold war, ending up with around 1’800 hours and more than 2’200 landings, minus 2 that is. Two times I lived through so-called “nylon letdowns”: I ejected to save my behind, once in the US, once in Germany.
Due to family reasons (my wife is Swiss) we decided to move to Switzerland after my military career, Swissair said they would take me on, but when we actually arrived there was a ban for alien pilots in effect (when it was lifted later I was half a year too old).
Picture: Memmingen 1978
My career in business aviation started as dispatcher at Jet Aviation, then the biggest management company worldwide with 55 business jets based all over the world, after 3 years I was promoted to chief dispatcher and after 7 years became representative of the worldwide (except USA) General Manager.
After 9 ½ years I accepted a new challenge with Zimex to establish their business jet / executive aviation branch for this company known for its support flights with turbo-prop aircraft for Red Cross, UN and oil companies mainly in Africa and Middle East. For various reasons the plan didn’t materialize.
After just one year there I started with Avcon as chief dispatcher, soon to becoming director operations, growing the fleet from some Piper Cheyennes and Cessna Citations to PC12, Falcon 10, 50 and 900, Fokker 100, Gulfstreams and Bombardier aircraft to finally 22 managed aircraft. 2001 Avcon was taken over by ExecuJet with me being the ops director, closely cooperating with its stations in Denmark, Africa, Middle East and Australia, enhancing my field of expertise by becoming a quality auditor, building up a procurement department and again growing the fleet to 65 aircraft in Europe. During this time we also established new AOC’s, both in the UK at London City and Germany at Berlin-Schönefeld, opened up the Moscow office and the FBO’s in Zürich, Berlin and London City. The financial shock of 2008 and more so a new investor at ExecuJet made me and some colleagues flying again to new shores ……….
In 2009 I was one of four to establish Premium Jet forming the boutique, single stop business aircraft management company, growing it successfully from some Learjets and Citations to today’s G550’s and Global Express’, Falcon 7X, (all the while not forgetting the smaller ones like Excel’s and Challenger 300 and 604) fleet with its worldwide excellent reputation of the Swiss virtues o
Honesty, transparency, safety, punctuality and professionalism at highest levels.