News & Blog
Business aviation is essential for the positioning of elite tourism in Croatia
(Photo credits: CROPIX)
On May 19 2021, Croatian daily newspaper and one of the most visited online news media in the country - Jutarnji list, published an interview with Jung Sky's board member, co-owner and one of the team's captains Kresimir Jung.
Jung Sky has been in the business for almost twelve years now. It brings together a team of 26 people, including nine pilots. Its fleet comprises of two Cessna 525A CJ2 jets which average more than 1,200 flights per year. The two-member flight crew operating the aircraft includes the captain and the first officer or sometimes even two of their captains.
One of the captains and the company's board member and co-owner is Kresimir Jung, who has spoken to us about the growth of the business aviation market and the type of passengers using the services provided by Jung Sky, an airline which he founded with his brother Vedran and his brother's wife Jasna.
For the industry he's a part of, Krešimir Jung continuously uses the term ‘business aviation’, not ‘private aviation’. The reason for this, as he explains it, is the context of private aviation that is a bit different. Private aircraft owners do not necessarily have commercial flights, and if flight operations are not commercial, different regulations apply.
At what rate is the interest in business aviation services growing?
- The notion of the 'growing interest' in our services mostly refers to the fact that since March 2020, more often than usual, we have had passengers flying private for the first time in their lives. An increasing number of passengers are becoming aware of this service and that, of course, is very good news for Jung Sky and the rest of the BA community. First-time bookers generally continue to use this service, so the strong collective awareness about business aviation is continuously increasing.
Last year, especially during the summer, it was very popular to say that, because of the problems with scheduled airlines, flying private suddenly became a big 'hit'. This type of interpretation is wrong because passengers have been showing great interest in flying private for many years now and we've had an extremely large number of inquiries during the summer period long before the pandemic.
Numerous problems in scheduled air transport raised awareness about the benefits of the business aviation transport, especially in the context of the epidemiological risks as well as the ability to always choose the destination and the airports you would like to fly to. Plus, the flights are always direct.
What are your expectations for this year and this season?
- We anticipate a very good season. We know what to expect during summertime. It’s the peak of the season with an increasing number of inquiries regarding seaside destinations as well as an increasing number of passengers renting our jets for tourism purposes. If we maintain the level of performance from previous summer seasons, we will have somewhere between 140 and 160 flights a month. But we don’t really concern ourselves with the number of flights because revenue, in any case, depends on the structure of those flights, not on their quantity.
Do you have any benefits with respect to Croatian airports? Do you have the support of domestic public institutions in the tourism sector and the Croatian Ministry of Tourism?
- Business aviation in Europe is at a high level. It is on the rise in Croatia as well, and I think that a concrete and palpable cooperation between the tourism sector, either at national or local levels, and domestic business aviation operators is sure to happen in the future.
Other operators in Europe are moving in this direction as well, which has been particularly evident in the past year. At the moment, Croatia unfortunately lacks a comprehensive vision and strategy on how to use business aviation in terms of positioning the tourist offer, at least in the part that concerns the so-called 'elite tourism'.
How much is the so-called elite tourism represented in Croatia?
- Elite tourism in Croatia is still not sufficiently coherent. There is a lot of talk about nautical tourism, luxury hotels and villas which certainly have wonderful potential, but there's not enough conversation about all the other features and parameters that contribute to a certain experience being characterized as ‘elite’. The potential of business aviation as a great starting point of any experience is definitely not recognized enough.
Who are the people renting your aircraft?
- Our passengers are people who often aim for nautical destinations, as well as private and more secluded accommodation. Contrary to common prejudice, these are not exclusively individuals with deep pockets, but people who are very active and are willing to spend their money on various products, services and experience, especially authentic and personalized ones.
Renting a private jet, especially if there are more passengers in the aircraft and if they're coming from destinations that are not so well connected in terms of air routes, can certainly be an optimal and reasonable investment that fits perfectly into the story of a quick, practical and carefree vacation.
What are their favourite destinations?
- Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar, Cote d'Azur, Sicily, Sardinia, Greek islands, Tivat, Naples, etc. are in high demand in the summer. Last summer we landed on 109 airports. As far as Croatian cities are concerned, every summer we report an increase in demand for our destinations.
Can your company's business be sustainable?
- With occasional exceptions, our passengers are almost exclusively foreigners. The business aviation market in Europe has already developed quite a lot and it continued to progress intensively. The competition is strong, but there are also plenty of clients. Someone always needs to travel somewhere and if you are committed to the quality and smart development of your own service, if you don’t settle for anything less than being proud of your work, the clients will come to you and - more importantly - come back to use your service again.
In this type of air travel, trust is everything. We have enjoyed our time in the business aviation industry so far, we really like where we're at right now and the fact that we continue to plan for the long term is a sign that our business is sustainable. We have gathered fantastic experts on our staff, we have great pilots, we're going to establish our own aircraft maintenance organization and in the near future we are certainly going to expand our fleet.
ABOUT A POTENTIAL AIRPORT ON THE (CROATIAN) ISLAND OF HVAR:
"It is definitely in the operators' interest to have a greater number of airports.
It is difficult for me to estimate the current extent to which the lack of an airport on Hvar island is of crucial importance for our profile of passengers. However, an increase in the number of airports is unquestionably in the interest of business aviation operators, primarily for two reasons.
The first, seen from the perspective of passengers, is that it improves the product quality and the overall experience. The second, seen from the perspective of an operator, is the presumption that more subjects or 'players' on a certain market generally lead to a healthier competition."
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