Puja Mahajan

Elit'Avia

Steffen Fries

MHS Aviation

Holger Ostheimer

DC Aviation and Al-Futtaim

The Art of Management

Operating and managing aircraft is one of the hardest jobs in aviation. Wherever they operate across the globe, aircraft management firms often share the same challenges and strains

How confident are you about 2019?

Puja Mahajan

Very confident. Our operations are running smoothly, our utilization rates are very good and we enjoy the trust and confidence of our valued clients. However, we must never become complacent. For example, we were recently re-awarded Stage 3 International Standard – Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) certification by the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC). This prestigious accreditation requires our organization to focus on continuous improvement while maintaining a rigorous safety management system (SMS).

Steffen Fries

We are optimistic in terms of charter, but it is challenging and at times difficult to find new aircraft for management. Scheduled services are still growing, which has a positive impact on our Dornier 328 operation. We receive more and more requests for ACMI from our business jets, which is another business area of MHS. We have improved our charter capabilities with a much bigger team, new on-board service and stronger presence in the Middle East so that we can win additional business. And finally, our total set-up is constantly improving which leads to a better reputation and should eventually result in additional managed aircraft. The Argus Platinum rating is just one proof for our quality.

Holger Ostheimer

We always remain confident. The business aviation industry is very niche, it caters to the world’s top 1% ultra-high net-worth individuals.


There will always be aircraft that need management, maintenance or even hangarage, so we will always deliver the highest standards of service. We have received and continue to receive strong interest from owners and operators for our aircraft management and handling services which show that we are on the right track. We continue to remain optimistic and expect to progress steadily.

What is the biggest threat?

Puja Mahajan

We have seen quite a bit of consolidation in the industry. When mid-size operators become “mega” operators, there may be pressure to reduce costs and cut corners. This trend may become problematic if it impacts operational integrity. There is continuous pressure from ever-increasing regulatory requirements, which sometimes require highly-specialized and expensive professional services to implement.

Steffen Fries

As with all industries and businesses, global, regional, political and financial climates play a very important role in the success of any business. We are not immune to these challenges. However, from an operational perspective, rigid schedules, aircraft operation based on regulatory constraints such as flight-crew duty time and price dumping remain the main threats that would affect the business.

Holger Ostheimer

A high fuel price. If this increases by 10% it has an immediate financial impact on our costs. We cannot pass fuel price increases on to customers as commercial airlines can. An accident is something the whole industry worries about. EASA making things even more complicated

What keeps you up at night?

Puja Mahajan

Safety. I think it’s the same for all operators. As professionals, we do everything possible to minimize risk. Ultimately, the mission of our entire industry is to be 100% accident-free.

Steffen Fries

The unpredictability of demand. And a good book.

Holger Ostheimer

My kids.


Ian Molyneaux, Reporter, Corporate Jet Investor