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000 Citywing April 13:Layout 1

21/03/2013

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Clear skies ahead… Eric Barton meets up with Isle of Man aviation supremo David Buck from Citywing The Isle of Man aviation scene has come a long way since the first flight in 1911 by Claude Graham – White. The whiz of jet engines and the throbbing of jet props have replaced the stretched yawn of canvass and the groaning, turbulent creaks of wood. The 1st of January 2013 tannoyed the dawn of a new era for a small, but perfectly formed aviation service. Citywing provides inexpensive flights from the Isle of Man to Gloucestershire, Blackpool, Belfast, Newcastle and Anglesey. Led by Managing Director, David Buck and colleagues Phil Cowin, Judith Musgrave and Andy Mathieson, they make a formidable management team. It’s a team that have vision, belief and a commitment to providing the best service they can. David Buck said, ‘the opportunity arose to purchase the business which was then called Manx2.com. It seemed like good, sound business sense to go through with a Management Buy Out’. David Buck goes on to further comment,’ There’s no other business like it on the Island and as the financial model stacked up it seemed prudent to go ahead and prepare the path to the actual buy out’. Perhaps there’s’ an oversimplification here? Not a

bit of it. David Buck further comments,’ it took about six months of preparatory work behind the scenes to ensure that we had a smooth transition from Manx2.com to Citywing. It was particularly interesting over the Christmas period in 2012 as many of our support agencies either shut up shop or slowed down their operations. We of course had a business to change over. Quite challenging really’. It seems to me that the aviation industry on the Isle of Man is in a period of change. They have a new Executive Jet Centre being built at the Ronaldsway Airport complex and there is quiet optimism in the air . David further says, ‘all the aviation businesses on the island are in a sense fishing in the same pool, so we do want to look off island for more routes and increased traffic’. He further says,’ the Isle of Man is a natural hub for Citywing and of course as a management team we are all very settled here on the island’. In fact David Buck has been resident since 2000 and with a wife and two children he is well entrenched in Isle of Man life. David Buck comments,’ we have ten excellent staff and hope to grow this number in the future. The economy in the UK and here on the Island will be crucial in sustaining that growth. We do

“all the aviation businesses on the island are in a sense fishing in the same pool, so we do want to look off island for more routes and increased traffic”

have hurdles to face in the guise of an increased UK tax which will come into force on the 1st April’. I mildly hint at what that might be and David Buck fixes me with a no - nonsense stare. ‘It’s another passenger tax hike’. He says. In fact I’m told this will be £13.00 per passenger per round trip to the Isle of Man for flights originating in the UK. Thanks UK Government. How on earth are businesses to flourish if these kinds of taxes continue to be levied? The next three years will I’m guessing, be crucial for Citywing as they will undoubtedly want to expand the operation. David Buck says’. If the economy improves then we will grow with more routes and increased frequency, together with an extra hub off the island. However we have consolidated the business to ensure it’s stable and secure before we take any further steps’. Citywing currently carries around 80,000 passengers every year. Everybody has good and bad days. However it seems this enigmatic Managing Director has something unique – the ability to control his emotions to the point that there’s always continuity. He simply says,’ my best day was when we broke our sales record in February and I don’t do bad days. I’m fairly unflappable’. So it looks like a smooth ride ahead for David Buck and the Management Team at Citywing… it looks like the only way is up! CS For more information and to book www.citywing.com

APRIL 2013



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