Euro Jet has a huge global presence, usually with its own people on the ground, ready to handle any aspect of flight support. Gareth Danker, Director of Global Sales and Marketing, explains how
Headquartered in Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, Euro Jet provides flight support on the ground at a bewildering number of what it terms ‘Core’ and ‘Global’ locations. It was no surprise then that when he spoke to EVA from Warsaw, Gareth Danker, Director of Global Sales and Marketing, was in the middle of a 14-day, seven-country, eight-hotel trip that began in Estonia, then encompassed Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Next, he was driving on to Romania, then Bulgaria, before flying home. “It’s 50% work, 50% pleasure,” he claimed.
“We have a presence at 175 airports in 30 countries. These people are the Euro Jet network. They are all English speakers, they wear Euro Jet uniform, they are trained by us, they’ve been through the NATA Safety First programme and many of them have worked at their airports for 25 years or more,” Danker says. Euro Jet was founded just 15 years ago and therefore benefits from the vast experience of its network.
Explaining the extent of Euro Jet’s reach, Danker says its primary presence is in central, southern and eastern Europe, the Baltics, the Balkans, the countries of the former Yugoslavia, the Caucasus and the ‘stan’ countries, with 95% of that region served by Euro Jet employees. He also notes that the company is ready to return to Ukraine as soon as possible after ceasing its operation there in February 2022.
“In most of these locations the handler is the airport, or an organisation nominated by it; the only location where we are handlers is in Prague, where we also have a hangar and newly renovated lounge. There’s only a handful of cities in central and eastern Europe, and central and eastern Asia that have what we would consider an FBO and our product there is primarily people on the ground who coordinate all the services the customer requires. We have a minimum of one person at an airport, typically two or three, and a maximum of seven.
“Those increasing numbers have been part of our expansion over 15 years as we’ve handled more flights. From working with around 2,000 flights per year, this year we expect to exceed 16,000. As we continue to expand, we identify the cities with most volume and allocate more people to them.”
Keeping this geographically spread team happy and feeling connected requires a deliberate effort. Joiners are brought to Prague for orientation and training, and subsequently return for special events. There is also an internal social media site for employees to post photos and messages, a newsletter and regular visits from the management team.
The Euro Jet ‘empire’ includes 17 crew lounges, up from four when Danker joined 12 years ago and set to grow. “We typically add another crew lounge every year, often inside an airport’s general aviation terminal. They’re all branded the same way. They have workstations, Wi-Fi, TVs, drinks and snacks. And we offer ramp cars, especially where aircraft parking is some distance from where crew and passengers leave the airport. Most are Mercedes-Benz Vianos, in Euro Jet livery.”
Roughly half Euro Jet’s work involves private aviation. The remainder is with commercial passenger and freight flights, and the military. Aspects of the latter neatly overlap into the private/VIP aviation space since Euro Jet handles head-of-state as well as troop movements. In perhaps the year’s most impressive demonstration of Euro Jet’s specialist capability, the company was responsible for managing all ground support for the NATO summit in Vilnius.
Interestingly, Euro Jet also holds contracts with major commercial airlines to manage their requirements in the case of a diversion to an airport from which they usually do not operate. A team of 12 is constantly ready to react to a diversion, sometimes with as little as 30 minutes’ notice, based on a database of more than 500 airports globally.
Euro Jet applies the same care and exacting attention to all flights, regardless of whether the customer is an individual, the US Air Force or a NATO leader. Danker is delighted to reveal: “Our customer service complaint level is less than 0.01% – but we still see that as 0.01% too many. We usually achieve our objective of avoiding issues, but when a problem does arise, having people on the ground means we solve it very quickly.”