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Data-led transformation Project Partners

Data-led transformation Written by Nye Longman Produced by George Tweed


In the second phase of its technology transformation, VistaJet is using technology to provide an offering like no other


n the challenging environment of business aviation, every move is important and reputation counts for everything. Twelve years ago, VistaJet decided to split from the pack and offer a unique subscription model whereby discerning corporate and high net worth customers purchase blocks of flight hours, rather than a fraction or entire aircraft, to obtain guaranteed access to its fleet of over 65 business jets anywhere in the world. Business Review Europe speaks to Chief Information Officer Pedro Nassif about the value that digitalisation has brought to the company’s internal processes, as well as what this means for both one-time and regular customers. The business of aviation The market for business aviation is certainly rewarding, but competition is stiff, from players both big and small, old and new. By owning its fleet, VistaJet sets itself apart from competitors by focusing on providing


“Delivering bespoke services can only be achieved using timely, targeted and accurate data. So the approach to technology is to make sure that data is made available accurately, in real time to the right people� – Pedro Nassif, VistaJet CIO

Speed your way to the fastest cabin experience available

You email the quarterly numbers critical for the CFO’s presentation while your colleague is on a video conference call with headquarters about the new product launch. Next to her, the vice president of marketing is downloading the files for the annual report and live streaming the company’s latest ad premiering during the World Cup finals. Sound like a typical day at the office? It is, except for the fact that it’s happening while you’re cruising at 39,000 feet. This is the type of passenger experience new technologies like Jet ConneX (JX) from Inmarsat are enabling for business aviation customers around the world. Connectivity for business aviation is not new – what is new is a service like JX that provides connectivity at higher speeds, with higher bandwidth and true global coverage. Rockwell Collins is a provider of the Jet ConneX service as part of its ARINCDirectSM offering. “There are several existing technologies, but JX is a game changer,” said David Stanley, vice president, Business Aviation Cabin Services for Rockwell Collins. “It provides the fastest broadband connectivity speeds available with usage plans that are similar to what you see with your home cable provider.”


Why do business jet operators care? Because passenger demand for connectivity is growing. “The desire for constant connectivity is actually driving the choices that business aviation customers are making in terms of which aircraft they fly,” notes Stanley. “If you have access to two aircraft and one has high-speed cabin connectivity and the other doesn’t, guess which one is going to be used more often? Passengers want the same experience on board an aircraft as they do on the ground, and they are making their preferences known.”

Global coverage Beyond speed, coverage is also an important factor. “JX is unique in that it’s the first high-speed Ka-band broadband network that supports worldwide operations,” said Stanley. “It’s a global service with consistently high-level performance and quality of service, which is essential for international operators.” Because a single company provides JX, business aviation operators can fly across time zones and provide continuous, reliable service to passengers, eliminating gaps in coverage that exist with older technologies.

Cost considerations: flat rate service plans create new economies of scale Stanley notes that one of the biggest issues he sees in the industry is confusion by business jet operators about the cost of using – or upgrading to – JX. While there are upfront installation and hardware costs associated with moving to JX, service contracts are based on a fixed, flat fee basis or an “all the data you can consume” pricing model. That’s a key differentiator from existing connectivity options, which are typically based on per megabyte pricing. “As a flat rate service, JX changes the dynamic because it eliminates the need to manage cost on a per trip or per month basis. So, depending on the frequency of flight, JX could be a much more economical way to provide connectivity services to the cabin.”

Smart cabin routers make a big difference While passengers experience the speed and performance benefits of JX, new smart routers help business jet operators better manage the use of voice and data on board the aircraft – and more. But not all routers are created equal. As aircraft get more sophisticated, they may have several connectivity solutions onboard. For example, perhaps JX for high throughput cabin connectivity, Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband for the flight deck as well as another for air-to-ground communications. “No one wants to get on board the aircraft and see multiple

networks to choose from – they just want one,” said Stanley. “And that’s what Rockwell Collins’ airborne data router does: it creates one network with the ability to prioritize traffic to effectively manage an entire suite of connectivity options through one device.” A smart cabin router can also have a big impact on minimizing costs. Rockwell Collins routes data based on the lowest cost given the available networks, and the company’s airborne router knows which service or technology to prioritize based on the location of the aircraft. “So if you’re on the ground, our airborne data router switches off of SATCOM and goes to GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) because it’s a lot less expensive than using up satellite megabytes,” said Stanley.

Think of the future growth Technology is changing so quickly that, “You need to consider your needs not only today but in the future.” Rockwell Collins’ airborne data router is modular in design, so it has been architected for future grown. “Essentially, the router is really designed for the life of an aircraft. Regardless of what new technology comes down the road, its flexible design allows operators to adapt.”

Do the homework Thinking about transitioning to JX? “While the move to new connectivity solutions is exciting, you need to do your homework,” cautions Stanley. “We’re moving from basic satellite connectivity solutions on aircraft to literally creating an airborne network. Take your time and do the research. Business aviation operators need the expertise of a company like Rockwell Collins to be able to architect, configure and troubleshoot that network so they get the best results possible.” For information on how JX from ARINCDirect can transform your cabin connectivity experience, contact sales@arinc.com.

ARINCDirectSM airborne data router

VistaJet app visual


aircraft services that are truly like no other – providing its customers with a guaranteed aircraft, true flexibility and unmatched personalised service, all whilst offering the largest service area in business aviation. “It’s like having your luxury car waiting for you outside your business meeting,” Nassif says. “You might be late, so you can tell us to wait. You might want to fly tomorrow instead of today; we can change the flight destination, the time, the date and even the passengers on board. This actually happens about three to four times on average per flight.” Alongside private individuals seeking convenience and discretion, VistaJet has been trusted to arrange flights for a variety of high-worth individuals including several heads of state, as well as a high number of business leaders and entrepreneurs. Flying to well over 180 countries globally, the aviator is capable of tailoring each flight in line with the demands of its customers through a number of separate channels using bespoke


The year VistaJet International was founded

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Thomas Flohr, VistaJet Founder and Chairman


internal systems, traditional booking methods and a dedicated app. VistaJet’s identically branded fleet of over 65 Bombardier Global and Challenger jets is currently the largest privately-owned collection in the world, but what is more staggering is its age: the company ensures that its planes are no less than 18 months old on average – a rarity in the industry. Technology transformation Over the past five years, Nassif’s work as CIO has been to ensure that digitalisation is at the forefront of the company agenda. The first stage of this process, which started in 2011, focused on digitalising internal business processes in order to deliver more than 100 unscheduled flights per day as efficiently as possible – the next, still ongoing, has been to ensure that digitalisation has a

direct benefit to the customer. “Technology is absolutely vital for our business processes,” he says, “Delivering bespoke services can only be achieved using timely, targeted and accurate data. So the approach to technology is to make sure that data is made available in real time to the right people, in order to deliver a world-class experience on every flight. “What we are going through is quite unique. I don’t think that in the business aviation sector, anyone has the sort of commitment to technology that VistaJet has. We have built an end-to-end technology platform that we call GlobalView which allows our value streams to collaborate at every stage of the flight – from booking to billing.” He explains that, when a customer calls or uses the Vistajet App to book a flight, the booking is recorded


Number of VistaJet International employees

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J S S I B A C K S V I S TA J E T W I T H G L O B A L S E R V I C E C U LT U R E JSSI and VistaJet jointly announced the largest hourly cost maintenance program in history in May of 2013. JSSI has enrolled close to 70 VistaJet aircraft onto its specialized programs to streamline their maintenance processes and deliver a predictable budget and higher residual value year after year. From the beginning, it was obvious that VistaJet and JSSI shared a global approach to the business jet market, and an exceptional service culture. The success of the two companies continues to thrive today and are bound together by a common corporate culture.

GLOBAL BUSINESS VistaJet’s Bombardier fleet of business jets fly to 182 countries across six continents. They have multilingual staff around the globe ready to arrange every aspect of their customers’ flights, 24/7/365. It only makes sense that they receive that same type of global service commitment from their maintenance program provider. Neil Book, JSSI’s President and CEO, states, “Our job is to provide VistaJet with peace of mind should they encounter a maintenance issue anywhere around the world. They have the strongest and most committed team behind them to bring their aircraft back to service safely and efficiently, so they can continue to deliver the world class experience they are known for.” JSSI’s Technical Advisors and key management staff travel the globe meeting with and evaluating maintenance facilities to identify key support locations that will service VistaJet in the most effective and reliable manner. No matter where any JSSI customer flies, aircraft maintenance expertise is always a phone call away and available within the region whenever and wherever assistance is needed.

J S S I – S E R V I C E C U LT U R E T O M AT C H Service is a rather broad term and is commonly an over-used and under-delivered benefit in today’s fastpaced business world. As the leading Global business aviation company providing seamless private jet travel across the globe, VistaJet delivers the ultimate level of service to their clientele every day. In addition to providing budget stability with its financial service, JSSI adds another dimension of service to the basic maintenance program. VistaJet gains 24/7 access to the largest, most experienced JSSI technical and client services teams in the industry. VistaJet and JSSI have complementary work cultures, as Neil Book explains, “At JSSI, our product is our entire system of people that make JSSI tick, 24/7, 365 days of the year. We have a team of passionate professionals that keep our customers flying. We are proud of the culture of collaboration, innovation, and integrity that we have inspired here at JSSI, while we continue to set the bar high for excellence in exceeding VistaJet’s expectations.” Thomas Flohr puts it like this, “JSSI cares for their clients the way we at VistaJet do for ours: always willing to go above and beyond to rectify or prevent a situation that could impact our client. And most of the time, the JSSI people making the difference are behind the scenes. Our clients don’t even know about an issue avoided that could have kept them on the ground much longer than planned.”

“JSSI’s global support culture demonstrates the continuation of VistaJet’s Think Global strategy and its commitment to provide reliable, non-stop point-to-point global coverage with guaranteed availability,” indicated Thomas Flohr, Founder & Chairman, VistaJet.

Nick van der Meer, Neil Book, VistaJet Crew. Far left L-R: Neil Book & Thomas Flohr.

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and managed throughout its entire life cycle in GlobalView. This enables every team (Operations, Catering, Customer Service, Finance, and Maintenance) to work simultaneously on preparing the flight. All while providing line managers with Management Information System (MIS), so they and other key stakeholders can track and understand what is happening in real time. “That’s a big achievement because many companies working with platform systems specialising in a specific area struggle with the integration of this many to make them work,” Nassif says. “We are in a positive investment perspective – many companies will spend the lion’s share of their technology budget maintaining their systems and on operating costs – we keep that low and spend the majority of our technology budget on the future; on investment. “This started with an internal phase where we looked at our functions and processes and created GlobalView. The second phase of is to provide these digital processes to our

“What we are going through is quite unique. I don’t think that in the business aviation sector, anyone has the sort of commitment to technology that VistaJet has” – Pedro Nassif, VistaJet CIO

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customers, which we are succeeding at because we know them all very well and can spot behavioural trends. Data enables a very personalised service – we know that Person A likes the cabin at 20 degrees and likes to be treated in a certain manner. It’s very specific.” Collaborative partnerships VistaJet does not shy away from bringing elite partners on board to solve a variety of problems, and the

relationships are usually integrated. With a global staff base of 150, it has dedicated operations in South America (Monitora), Middle East (VentureDive), Eastern Europe (Digitally Inspired and Dreamix) and the UK among others. “Those companies work very closely with us – mostly with our project managers or business analysts,” Nassif explains. Having engaged with the needs of its customers from day one,

VistaJet’s position in the private business aviation sector has been cemented. By leveraging the latest developments in technology in order to better understand the needs of its customers, the company has ensured that its offering is indispensable for businessmen and selective customers seeking connections anywhere in the world, at any time.

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VistaJet International Ltd. London, UK W1J 5EUE T: +44 (0) 207 060 5700 E: sales@vistajet.com www.vistajet.com

Profile for Business Chief Europe

Vistajet brochure - October 2016  

Vistajet brochure - October 2016