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A Tale of Two Airways

Lockdown continues to weigh down on people and business. A high-flying private jet brokerage and high-flying DJ tell us how they’re adapting. Abigail Parkin

Adam Twidell, CEO of PrivateFly 

For us, operating from home is a relatively easy task since we’re a tech-focused charter provider. We already used things like Zoom and are keeping things tight as a team.

Demand patterns in March have been significantly higher than we would have expected. But across the industry this was short-term demand with people repatriated home. April’s not as bad as we feared but it’s still about returning people who are out of position.

We’re not seeing normal types of private jet demand but we are seeing lots of new customers using private jets for the first time.

Talking to other providers, we’re seeing fractional ownership falling off. We don’t own our jet fleets and charter providers are busier because of our flexibility. Leisure market trips and events of the sort Red Carpet writes about would normally make this a busy time of year but we won’t see the summer peaks now.  

Future flying

Looking ahead to when border restrictions are lifted commercial airlines will still need time to mobilise their operations. Customers of ours who use both commercial and private jets have said they’d feel a lot more comfortable not being a in a shared cabin or moving through busy airports. We we will be more agile and won’t be taking weeks to resume operations like airlines, so there will be opportunities for us when we come through the other side of this.

Financial planning

We are not complacent and will cut costs and scenario plan like any responsible business. As a group we’ve taken a voluntary salary deferral scheme to defer a portion of our salaries. Employee uptake has been as high as 80% throughout our group. This is unique, certainly in our industry. The idea is to keep our loyal teams together and be able to respond effectively when this is over rather than lose people and rebuild.

Customers will ask new questions about aircraft cleansing and how crew greet passengers. The model will change but there will be a bright future again for our industry.

Aimee Vivian, DJ, Capital FM

I would say I’m coping pretty well actually. I’ve got myself a little structure so it feels as 'normal' as possible. But I can’t lie, this industry is so social, I am missing everyone like mad. Instead of popping to the pub after work, I’m popping to the back garden. It’s not quite the same as mixing with everyone at events. I’m a really social person, so I’m spending a lot of time chatting with people over Zoom, which is better than nothing (and if anything I’m saving a heck of a lot of money)! I just can't wait for the parties and holidays next year.

It's not challenging in a bad or difficult way, but it is something I’ve never had to do before so it took some getting used to. Transforming the spare room (for show broadcast) was pretty exciting to be honest! I’ve got the set up as close to the studio as possible - I am doing live links, calls with listeners, and can see all the texts which is lovely, so I still feel really connected.

 Nation’s mood  

I think every radio show has a slightly different vibe in the current climate, but we are really embracing this ‘new normal’. At Capital we are all about being positive, keeping the listeners entertained with the biggest and best tunes right now, getting listeners on to hear the unique ways that they’re keeping themselves busy during lockdown etc. It's actually a really special time to be a presenter - we feel like part of a community with our listeners. I’ve always wanted it to feel like I’m a ‘friend in the afternoon’ for my listeners, and it really does feel like that at the moment.

Colleagues   

Everyone seems to be doing really well - we WhatsApp and chat most days. I'm really close with Will Manning, so am missing seeing his face every day (our shows are one after the other) but we, just like everyone else, are doing Zoom quizzes with the rest of the Capital gang on a weekly basis (not that I’m very good at them!)

Sanity tips

Routine is key. I’ve been getting up in the morning as if it were a normal working day and getting dressed in ‘normal’ clothes. I have this weird thing of eating ‘weekday’ breakfasts to remind myself it’s a working week - boring jam on toast or something. That differentiates between the bacon/ sausage sarnies on the weekend for me!

Keep busy and set yourself daily tasks. I’m back on duolingo brushing up on my Spanish, doing zoom Pilates classes with the girls on a Monday and having virtual drinks with my friends on Wednesdays just like we would normally.

Stay positive. It's ok to have ‘meh’ days, but when they hit, try to do something that makes you happy. Do a facemask, play your favourite album and dance around acting silly. Remember this isn’t permanent but try to take advantage of some probably much needed down time to focus and plan for the future. Positive Mental Attitude - all day every day!

Is your wine ban still in force?

NOO WAYYY - that would be expecting too much! I need a nice glass of pinot noir to keep me sane and three days off wine was enough!

Listen to Aimee from 1-4pm Monday – Saturday on Capital Fm

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