in Business Aviation / Features

Signum's significant move in Africa

Posted 13 November 2017 · Add Comment

As flight planning and trip support company, Signum Aviation, looks forward to celebrating 10 years in business, it hopes to further spread its capabilities in Africa.

Signum Aviation might be based at a small grass airfield near Manchester in the UK but it has been making an impact in Nigeria for the last seven years and is now looking at tapping into other African countries.
“I set Signum Aviation up 10 years ago this November with the aim of providing operations support flight planning, handling arrangements and overflight/landing permits to the corporate and business aviation sector,” said managing director, Jonathan Gill.
“We started with one client and we thought we would cater to local operators, but we just grew and grew. I never imaged we would become a global company.”
Today, Signum Aviation has a team available 24-7 and is responsible for the handling of more than 7,000 global flights per year, providing support for a wide variety of aircraft types, from Citation Mustangs to Boeing 747s. It manages missions ranging from short domestic flights to complex long-range operations.
The company has clients located in North America, Europe, China, the Middle East, and Africa – a continent Gill says is “exciting to work in”.
“Africa is a developing market that has huge potential and we are already making a mark on the continent with 20% of our turnover coming from the region,” said Gill. “We regularly do support flights over West African countries, including Ghana, São Tomé and Príncipe, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Guinea, Gambia and Sierra Leone. But we are most well known in Nigeria, where we have been doing business in Lagos for seven years.”
Gill explained that an aviation company from Lagos cold-called Signum one day and this turned out to be its first client in Africa.
“Since that day, seven years ago, it has been word of mouth how we have got our business out there,” said Gill. “It went from one aircraft to, currently, 11, ranging from Hawkers up to Global Express.
“We look after a range of things at Lagos, including flight-planning, fuel, over-flight permits, and landing permits. We are very experienced in Lagos, which has been noted.”
The company, which boasts an African government as a client, is looking to further spread its wings on the continent and already has its eye on two countries.
“While Nigeria is already big in the business aviation market, so is South Africa, so we will look to work there too,” said Gill. “Also, Angola has seen a rise in business aviation in the last few years, so this definitely a country to keep an eye on.
“While we have a lot of exposure to Africa, these two countries are of interest. As a company, we can bring worldwide experience to the region – something that is actually lacking in Africa.”
Gill travels to Lagos to visit clients as often as he can.
“Members of the team and I fly all over the world to make sure our clients are happy. This is a very important part of who we are,” said Gill. “As private jet travel is a growing sector of the aviation industry, we understand the specific needs of our operators and clients. We pride ourselves on our bespoke and flexible service – and offering tailored packages to clients also sets us apart.
“Our friendly and personal service enables us to establish and retain excellent relationships with our clients, who decide to stay with us for one simple reason – we’ve earned their trust by providing the quality they expect. It’s something we look forward to maintaining and growing in Africa.”

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