Sir CEO can you appear at the world of the aviation of which you are a member and in Africa?
Meridian Air Company is the leader of the Russian business aviation market offering a diverse range of services including aircraft management and flight operations, VIP charter flights, continuous airworthiness, flight dispatch and aviation consulting. The airline operates flights all over the world, including Africa.
Present we briefly Meridian Air company, his history and the motivations of his creation?
Our company is the oldest business jet operator in Russia, its first flight was performed in April 1992. In that period business aviation market in our country was new and prospective business area, and Meridian Air Company has grown and developed simultaneously with the growth of the whole market. 2017 has become a significant year for our company — in March we were the first Russian business jet operator to receive the top Stage III certificate of conformity with the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO), also this year we celebrate our 25thanniversary.
Who makes Meridian Air Company’s peculiarity, and which are your competitive advantages with regard to(compared with) the other companies?
In 2011, we have made a crucial decision tovoluntarily underwent IS-BAO certification audit in order to attain the highest international standards in the level of service quality and flight safety. After 5 years of hard work we can claim with confidence that we have reached that goal. I am pleased to note that Russian companies are increasingly focusing on security and are following our path in applying for IBAC audit.
We are also proud of our achievements in flight safety — integration of both Safety Management System and Quality Management System. When we started preparing for our first IBAC audit and implementing international standards, we improved the efficiency of all corporate processes in our company. During these years, we have integrated Risk Management System, Change Management System and Voluntary Reporting System as well as we have created regular flight safety training for the personnel.
And besides that, our unique competence is ability to operate foreign aircraft in the registries of three countries — Switzerland, Ireland and Bermuda. In 2013, we received EASA Part-M Subpart G Approval Certificate that authorizes the airline to manage the continuing airworthiness of its European-registered aircrafts. I would like to note that companies outside the European Union rarely receive such certification — as far as I know, there are only three or four such organizations in the world.
The result of our work was that, despite crisis and Russian business aviation market decline by 5-10% in 2016, our company has been steadily demonstrating volume growth for the last few years. For instance, our operational results increased by 24% in 2016 in comparison with previous year.
Why Meridian Air Company participates in the lounge(show) ebace on 2017, and make we the balance sheet(assessment) of this participation?
EBACE is considered as one of the most significant events for business aviation leaders in and outside Europe. This yearwe took part in the EBACE as an exhibitor for the second time. For us it is an opportunity to keep up to date with significant industry topics, to stay in touch with our foreign partners as well as to share our achievements. In particular, during the exhibition, we met with the Director General of the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), who congratulated us on becoming the first air operator in Russia, that received IS-BAO Stage III certificate.
What are various destinations of Meridian Air Company in the world, be you present in Africa?
The most popular destinations among our clients are Russian cities such as Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Sochi; European capitals such as London and Paris and Near East Countries. Flights to the African continent are currently quite rare, but in my opinion there is a great prospect for further development of cooperation between Russia and Africa in terms of industry and tourism.
How do you plan be known in Africa?
The direction of our business development largely depends on economic activity between Russia and other countries. We hope that enhancing cooperation between Africa and Russia in 2017 will cause increase in the number of flights to the African continent. In addition, recently there has been an increasing number of discussions about the resumption of air traffic between Russia and Egypt, which was ceased in 2014.
What are the innovations which Meridian Air Company realized in the world of the aviation?
Meridian continuously implements and applies the best international and Russian practices connected with flight safety assurance of leading aviation organizations – ICAO, IBAC and IATA. The safety standards implemented in the company are higher than market average that is why before starting the work with a new Russian or foreign counterparty, we conduct our own audit of the company.
For instance, recently the airline has applied a Risk Management System based on the sophisticated, improved model developed by the ARMS (Aviation Risk Management Solutions) group. It allows us not only to assess the initial risks, but also to calculate the so-called « residual risks », taking into account the effect of our corrective actions.
What are your perspectives of development?
We used to intentionally hold down the expansion of our fleet in order to fully concentrate on achieving maximum improvement in flight safety and quality. Now, after reaching quality standards that we have been striving for, it is high time to work on expanding our fleet and to build up business capacity.Currently our fleet contains 5 business jets, including Challenger 605 (EI-TAT), Gulfstream 450 (VP-BAK), Gulfstream 450 (HB-JGB), Tupolev-134B-3 (RA 65737) and Hawker 750 (VP-BSX), but now we have several projects in progress related to fleet growth.
A message has the place of your partners, your customers, the African continent and in world of the aviation?
Business aviation seems finally recovering from a long-term decline in volumes associated with the global crisis. From our side, we hope for the stabilization of the world business aviation market and its gradual growth.As for the airline’s plans, Meridian Air Company will continue giving safety our top priority in order torenderto our clients the highest level of service.
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