Swiss-based corporate aviation company Albinati Aeronautics has a rare asset in Stefano Albinati. As the owner and active CEO of Albinati Aeronautics and Albinati Aviation, Stefano devotes his time to personally overseeing the wide range of international aviation services offered by the company, from aircraft management, completions and maintenance, to sales, acquisition and jet charter around the world. With a resumé that started as a successful pilot in business aviation to becoming the aviation advisor for many big-name organizations in Europe, there is little doubt as to the benefit of having an expert like Stefano Albinati on the team. In this first-ever interview, he talks about what keeps his company flying high.
You’re the sole owner of Albinati Aeronautics, how does this benefit your clients?
This question brings to mind an example. The representative of a private business plane called me on a Sunday morning, quite early -- so it's good to wake up early -- saying ‘I have a problem, my management company went bust, and I need to move my aircraft. How long would it take you to get my plane registered as part of your fleet?’ Let’s say that by noon, I had answered all his questions and in just a few days, we managed to put the airplane on our AOC certificate. Most other aviation company owners can’t be reached on Sunday, and even if you reach them, they aren’t necessarily the ones who will be able to answer the tough questions. That being said, I couldn't achieve this level of service without the support of our highly experienced team of managers – they are always available and able to get results quickly.
What motivates you to offer this level of service?
Passion. When something is your passion, of course you put more energy into it. I have always loved flying, starting as a young boy when I learned to fly with my father. This passion for aviation is part of who I am, and it’s what’s missing in our industry, and in other jobs as well. People have lost the passion for what they do. Whether you are a waiter in a restaurant or the CEO of a major corporation, you have to have the passion and willingness to understand what you do and to do it right. With this sort of approach, you are determined to understand and ask more questions.
What advice would you give to an individual looking to buy a private plane?
Two words: reputation and honesty. Get help from experts who have a reputation for transparency and honesty. Contrary to larger groups, we are free from any constraining partnerships with manufacturers and maintenance centres thus we guarantee our customers total impartiality and full financial transparency as we strive to represent and protect the interests entrusted to us.
Your reputation also extends to pilots, the best of whom are eager to join your team. How have you earned their trust?
When I used to work as a professional pilot in business aviation, I would approach management companies that offer similar services to the ones we provide now, and I would often get the impression that I was going to lose my autonomy, and that the company would be controlling my operation. I said to myself, if one day I run an airplane management company, I don’t want the pilots to feel like I will encroach on their space, so I would like to offer them a platform of services, the menu so-to-speak, and they can pick up what they want. It’s important that the pilot retains a certain amount of freedom to maneuver within the clear policies and structured framework of our operation.
What have been the highlights of your career so far?
When I was a young pilot, there were a couple of operators and aircraft owners that everyone dreamed of working for. They were the richest and biggest, and funny enough, they don’t have their management companies anymore and they are our customers. It’s gratifying. I would have loved to work for them, and now they work with us. They were known to be very professional and to do things the right way, so they kept this philosophy, and the fact that they came to us proved that our standards are as high as the ones they had when they were running their own company. That’s the best satisfaction we can have.
Geneva - November 2017