Leslie Hart has joined the business development team of Switzerland-headquartered charter specialist Vertis Aviation with immediate effect.
Based in Johannesburg, and with a focus on Africa, he is responsible for identifying new markets of opportunity, growing the charter market for aircraft currently within the Vertis portfolio, as well as strengthening the suite of marketed aircraft through the Vertis Charter Management Programme.
Existing and new African partners will benefit from having an additional local presence as Hart’s appointment complements the success of Mark Abbot in Africa, as they continue to develop the company’s continental presence.
Hart’s initial focus will be on countries where increased economic, social and political stability is enabling economic growth, particularly in east, central and west Africa. The resulting increase in high-net-worth-individuals supports the need for business aviation and Hart anticipates this will bring new customers to the sector.
Hart said: “Growth is predominantly driven by commodity prices on the whole in Africa as the oil, gas, gold, and minerals sectors need business aviation to thrive. In addition, industries such as construction, telecoms and general infrastructure development are driving demand.”
“There is huge potential across the continent, and we see a lot of opportunity for the Vertis business model to support the increased needs,” said Hart. “It is a huge task to manage business development across the continent, but one that I’m looking forward to taking on.”
Hart’s background in the multinational consumer electronics business saw him opening subsidiaries and brands across Africa as well as creating distribution channels into, and within, Africa. The last three years saw him dedicated to charter aircraft management.
“It seems that Africa is one of the last continents where there is still massive potential for investment from local and international companies. Confidence has grown as economies have strengthened. Commercial airline travel still has many limitations and business aviation is often the only means of travel between point to point destinations.
“We know that Leslie’s experience with international business, combined with his local knowledge in the air charter field, adds massive value to our team. We’re excited about the possibilities,” said Vertis Aviation CEO, Jeffrey Emmenis.
Vertis markets on behalf of the owner/operators, a select portfolio of business aircraft including two Boeing Business Jets BBJ, an Airbus ACJ319, two Bombardier Global 6000, a Gulfstream G450 and a Bombardier Challenger 350.