in Business Aviation / Features

Afrijet targets business and commercial sectors

Posted 1 November 2017 · Add Comment

Afrijet, a key business aviation player in both Gabon and the general region, is reacting to commercial opportunities by expanding into new fields of commercial flying.

Afrijet Business Service was founded in 2004 by a group of Gabonese investors, who adopted a mantra of ‘service and safety’ from day one.
Profitable since its creation, Afrijet is now one of the top ten business jet operators on the continent, boasting more than 200 employees.
Based in Libreville and N’Djamena, Afrijet operates – or charters – business aircraft within Central Africa, offering a range of services including handling for take-off and landing, dealing with authorisations and immigration, providing a VIP lounge for passengers and crews, and FBOs in Libreville and Port-Gentil.
The philosophy of the company is to provide a unique combination of African values and European practices.
Managing Director Marc Gaffajoli explained: “Business and commercial aviation are two separate worlds that often ignore one another. We are hybrid. When I joined the company in 2010, I had the exciting and complicated task of diversifying a company that was purely into business aviation – with a single product – into something entirely different.
“Since then we have transformed Afrijet into a company capable of operating in two separate fields, with the emphasis, going forward, on commercial aviation. We intend the balance between business and commercial aviation to be 50-50 by 2018.”
The oil crisis of 2014 led the company to adopt its development strategy in the face of declining business from oil and mining companies. “We found that the criteria imposed by the oil companies in terms of standards, punctuality and availability were an excellent preparation for our foray into commercial aviation,” said Gaffajoli.
In 2012, Afrijet developed a new ‘offer’ to its oil and mining customers by operating shuttles to link business centres with exploration and production sites and then, three years later, by expanding this service to Chad by linking N’Djamena to Moundou, the main airport serving the southern oil fields.
Being an airline operating in a country that’s ‘blacklisted’ by the European Union is a constant source of positive pressure and this explains the company’s rigorous emphasis on safety until now, said Gaffajoli. It is one of the few regional airlines operating into Europe.
The company’s six-strong fleet comprises two Falcon 900s for charter flights and VIP services, two ATR42-500s, and two ATR72-500s, with the turboprops destined for domestic flights from Libreville to Franceville/Mvengue and Port-Gentil and for regional services to Sao Tome and Pointe Noire.
Afrijet is also seeking investors who are keen to share in its future success, including operating to regional routes from Abidjan to Lagos and Ndjamena to Luanda.
 

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