Flyinggroup has officially opened its new headquarters at Antwerp International airport in which it has invested more than five million euros. The Belgian company remains confident in the future and expects a rapid revival of the industry; it says the modern, 100 per cent energy-neutral headquarters and its recently unveiled new corporate identity are the symbols of this.
“Business aviation is an essential element in the success of economic hotspots. The same applies to Antwerp, which is the economic capital of Belgium. Our belief in the future is so strong that today we just inaugurated our brand new headquarters at Antwerp. More than ever we are ready to receive our customers in the most modern and secure way," says Bernard van Milders, chairman and founder.
The new Flyinggroup corporate identity and website were also unveiled at the inauguration. “We are building on our customer-centric DNA. The iconic aircraft, which graced the previous logo for the past 25 years, is pointing its nose towards the future. Everything is aligned with the renewed vision of the future,” explains Kristiaan Cloots, director of marketing. “Our new baseline, 'destined to delight', reflects the essence of Flyinggroup: our passionate commitment to providing our customers with a high quality service in all aspects of their journey, for both current and future generations of business aviation fans.”
Flyinggroup wants to continue to focus on excellent service and sustainability. The Flyingbubble concept, in which the customer is offered a door-to-door driver service with electric vehicles from home to their destination, is a good example. Continues Cloots: “We have set up a one-point contact procedure for baggage handling, and we monitor the hygiene of our fleet continuously. We want both our corporate and leisure customers to be able to remain operational safely in their bubble while saving time, an essential characteristic of business aviation.”
The offices, meeting rooms and passenger and crew lounge at Antwerp are housed in a sustainable construction. Existing buildings were also thoroughly renovated. The new building produces more energy than it actually needs. In addition to the aircraft hangar, there is a meeting place and event hall that includes a bar and an art gallery.
The roof and the outer façade are covered with 408 solar panels covering a total of almost 700 sqm. A geothermal power plant with 18 geo-energy probes is located 150 metres below the building. This cooling and heating system with huge water tanks that hold around 30,000 litres of rainwater carries heat to and from the underfloor heating and cooling.
For this project, Flyinggroup called on A2D Architects and energy expert engineer Geert De Bruyn. The construction works were carried out by ASK Romein of Malle, Belgium. The limited construction area was a specific challenge because both the Flyinggroup building and the access road to the airport had to remain in use during the works. Preparation took about 13 months and construction 15 months.
“Our ambition to reduce our CO2 emissions is not only reflected in our strategic memorandum and our energy-neutral head office. We know that the future will also include hydrogen and electric flying. That is not yet possible, but as soon as these new aircraft are approved for commercial flights, we will be the first Belgian company to add them to our fleet,” says Cloots.
Johan Van Lokeren, CEO, adds: “COVID-19 mainly had consequences for the number of flights performed. That was most visible during the first lockdown. In July and August, the market recovered significantly – we even performed better than in the summer of last year. However, it should be noted that in terms of turnover, the impact is considerably smaller, because the majority of our income comes from the management of our customers' aircraft anyway.”