Sky Services (SKY) started its fixed-base operator (FBO) activity almost 20 years ago, following Italy’s decision to open up the General Aviation market. SKY was the first Italian handling company to follow the American concept of establishing a network of FBOs across the country. Over the years SKY has expanded its portfolio of services and thanks to extensive market research and through listening to customer feedback now sets the benchmark for private aviation in Italy.
The European caught up with Marketing Manager, Simone Klümper to find out more.
Please outline your strategy to maintain SKY’s position at the forefront of private aviation in Italy.
Simone Klümper: Our main goal at SKY remains to keep the service level as high as possible, we achieve this through quality-control monitoring and frequent internal and external audits. It is important to continually improve the foundation on which the whole structure is built. With this in mind, SKY is in the process of getting the IS-BAH certification, which will demonstrate to our customers a further guarantee of quality.
A significant landmark achieved by Sky Services in 2016, is that it has been selected through an EU international tender to become the airport company for Siena Ampugnano Airport (LIQS) until 2036. Siena is located in Tuscany, one of Italy’s most beautiful and popular regions so we see this as a major destination and a great opportunity for Sky Services to develop a truly unique airport. With an area of about 180 hectares at our disposal, there are currently plans to transform this location to feature world-class facilities entirely dedicated to General Aviation (GA) and its crews and passengers. The airport is currently operative and schedules only GA flights and thanks to the amount of space available, long-stay parking in hangars or on the apron will not be an issue. This aspect represents an alternative to Florence and Pisa airports, which like most Italian airports, have parking restrictions and a lack of hangar space.
Another distinguishing feature of Siena is that private limousine access will be possible at arrival or at departure directly to the aircraft. Furthermore, SKY has introduced private aircraft charter of its Mustang C510 fleet. This is a real breakthrough as the Mustang C510 has the capacity to reach any airport in Europe, which will be invaluable to many of our established customer base.
In addition, this coming summer, we are proposing a yacht charter service. Visitors will be able to directly reach the yacht by our aircraft and cruise the hidden bays of Italy’s Mediterranean coast. All services arranged and provided directly by Sky Services staff.
SKY will continue with its progress by improving key areas of the business, while also developing the services in line with new market opportunities. The ultimate objective is to be completely independent from third parties and therefore able to provide General Aviation services directly to our customers.
Highlight the suite of services that SKY provide and at which destinations?
SK: Sky Services offers a network of FBOs throughout Italy at the following airports: Milan Linate, Milan Malpensa, Venice, Treviso, Verona, Siena, Rome Ciampino, Naples Capodichino, Salerno Amalfi Coast, Bari and Brindisi. At each destination, SKY employs its own staff and has its own VIP facilities and equipment.
We also offer Supervision and permits at 43 airports in Italy with SKY representatives at each location. With the support of our head office and the Supervision department, operations are monitored and coordinated to ensure that each flight is handled exactly as per the customers’ wish.
To distinguish itself from the Italian GA market, Sky Services has improved its catering by offering, through a dedicated line, SKY CUISINE. All certified suppliers have been selected by SKY and offer a rich variety of local and international menus, all are delivered in elegant packaging tailored to an aircraft’s space restrictions.
Another important service is the provision of JETA1. Thanks to the negotiation of new agreements with fuel companies, SKY is in a position to provide fuel at even more competitive prices – this service is being rolled out to 33 airports across Italy.
Due to its passion for aviation, SKY has also established a flight academy (IT.ATO.0075), which operates at Milan Bresso, Capua (Naples) and Brindisi airports. The aim is to train pilots in a highly professional environment, using latest generation of aircraft training and simulators. So it’s accessible to all students, lessons are conducted both in Italian and in English. At the end of each course, SKY can offer the most promising cadets a range of private and commercial aviation opportunities. Thanks to partnerships with several aviation companies, cadets can also receive training through a Cadet Program project. According to new law EASA Part FCL 055 and in addition to the English radiotelephony qualification, SKY Flight Academy also provides TEA courses and examinations. As a certified TEA center (N. 216), SKY can also assist in university degrees for pilots thanks to partnerships with two recognised universities.
As we’re certified CAMO and EASA PART 145, SKY is developing a new maintenance activity, whereby our technicians will be ready to directly intervene in the case of aircrafts on ground (AOG).
In order to facilitate private airlines and broker companies and make the payment procedures smoother, SKY is promoting a new card in partnership with AvCard: the SKY Card. Customers can use this card to pay for all Sky Services, including all aircraft related costs, such as handling, additional services, airport taxes, refueling etc. The same card can be used also outside our FBOs at over 7,500 locations around the world for all costs related to the aircraft.
In a competitive market, what do you attribute SKY’s success to?
SK: As a privately owned company, Sky Services attributes its success to its flexibility, which allows it to constantly respond to market trends and exceed customer expectations. Moreover, Sky Services has learned that it’s not enough to simply have the right equipment; you need a well coordinated and focused team, full of dedication and passion. SKY has this and as a result is the only Italian company to be selected as part of the Air Elite network, as it meets premium FBO criteria.