Interview – Andreas Christodoulides: ‘Zela Aviation Aims to Exceed Customer Expectations in Air Chartering Industry’
By Nikos Krinis
Having recently celebrated its 10th year of business, air charter brokering company Zela Aviation has a highly regarded position within the air transport industry.
“Everything we have achieved within the past 10 years has been built upon the support and trust of our valued clients”, Andreas Christodoulides, the company’s founder, told the Greek Travel Pages (GTP).
In the air transport industry, Zela Aviation’s role is that of a professional intermediary between supplier (airline, aircraft lessor or even an aircraft manufacturer) and customer (airline, tour operator, travel agency, corporate firm or even an individual). As an aircraft charter broker, Zela Aviation introduces the supplier and customer to each other and negotiates on behalf of the customer to get them the best commercial terms whilst ensuring that the supplier is also equally commercially/operationally protected in any arrangement.
“Our main goal is to continue to be focused on providing the best aviation services to our partners and customers”, Christodoulides said.
With offices in the UK, Cyprus and Greece and a team of 10 members that speak six languages, Zela Aviation has long and successful partnerships providing cost effective, timely solutions for whole plane charter seat capacity.
- GTP: In 2016 Zela Aviation celebrated its 10th year of business. What milestones have been achieved?
Andreas Christodoulides: After being founded in 2006, Zela Aviation did indeed reach an important milestone. It’s taken a lot of time and effort to get to this point and our success is focused on having a great team. We are still working with the same customers today as we did 10 years ago and we have been able to build up a steady client base, globally. Relationships and teamwork are definitely key to the company’s success.
Andreas Christodoulides: Zela Aviation offers support and expert advice on all aspects of aviation. We have a long history in providing Full Series Charter and Ad-hoc capacity to our customers and have successfully placed a wide range of narrow bodied aircraft across the world for clients, including national flag carriers on medium to long term ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance) contracts. These contracts may be full wet leases or damp leases.
- GTP: Zela Aviation provides various services including the handling of ACMI leases. How important is this market for the company?
Andreas Christodoulides: We are active in the short and long term ACMI leasing of aircraft to airlines that need to address seasonal demand, temporary fleet structure problems and expansion of network or charter work, to cover technical problems, scheduled maintenance inputs, program disruptions and so on. ACMI represents our core business.
- GTP: What makes Zela Aviation a great ACMI partner?
Andreas Christodoulides: In the last 8 years, we have become one of the major ACMI providers working successfully with a number of major carriers worldwide. We have a wealth of experience on handling ACMI Leases whether they be wet or damp, ranging from ATR42 equipment to A340 or larger. We offer a 24-hour ACMI department run by aviation professionals who are highly dedicated and experienced.
- GTP: Zela Aviation was in its third-fourth year when Greece’s financial troubles began. How did this affect your business and do you still face challenges?
Andreas Christodoulides: Unfortunately, aviation did take a considerable hit during Greece’s financial difficulties as did all sectors of the economy. However, Zela Aviation weathered the storm and placed various aircraft assisting Greek carriers through the difficult times.
- GTP: Can you share your views on the air chartering business? What are the prospects of this market?
Andreas Christodoulides: There is a level of instability in the air chartering business as the industry is constantly being faced with new challenges. In order to survive you must adapt to changing needs. The role of Zela Aviation and our future as a traditional chartering business is to exceed customer expectations service and knowledge delivering always at the highest standard. By sticking to this practice potentially we will have a bright future.
- GTP: In 2015, Zela Aviation was appointed GSA (general sales agent) of MIAT Mongolian Airlines on ACMI. What services does Zela Aviation provide to the flag-carrier of Mongolia?
Andreas Christodoulides: We act as General Sales Agent (GSA) for MIAT for handling air passenger transportation services on ACMI. We provide comprehensive services to them covering sales and marketing of ACMI as well as working with their partners to expand MIAT’s presence in this industry sector and increasing tourism in Mongolia.
- GTP: In which countries does Zela Aviation operate and should we expect your expansion in other regions?
Andreas Christodoulides: Mainly we are concentrated in Europe and expanding in Asia and Africa. With the potential of ACMI and European seasonality we are able to cover all continents.
- GTP: What are your future goals?
Andreas Christodoulides: Having earned a highly regarded position within the industry, our main goal is to maintain this position and continue to be focused on providing the best aviation services to our partners and customers.