Having positioned itself on the charter market as a supplier in the 50-passenger segment since its formation in 2015, Denmark's Global Reach Aviation reveals that it had to rapidly adjust its business model with the onset of COVID-19. “When the world closed in March last year we, as everyone else in aviation, had to adapt to the new world situation,” says CEO Jacob Rasmussen. “Right after the initial lockdown cancellations started to come in but we also received bookings for trips to help people who were stranded getting home. This secured some optimism for survival of the company in a very dark time. However, when we reached June the booking system was almost empty. In Denmark the government helped for a few months, but when August came and the help stopped, we had to make a difficult decision to let treasured employees go if we wanted to survive.”
The company was founded by captains Camilla Engelbredt and Jacob Rasmussen, who wanted to create an environment where employees were at the centre while giving the passengers a personal and unique experience. After the first couple of years with different partners, Global Reach Aviation has since May 2017 worked strategically with building a solid sales function, an active marketing strategy and established a surrounding organisation with experienced and competent employees.
In 2020, survival before everything else became the mantra for the owners and the board in the hardest time of the company’s history and aviation in general. All employees were offered freelance contracts and many accepted, coming through for the company in a way that it says was almost unimaginable. The same applied to suppliers, leasing companies and the Danish Growth Foundation (Vaekstfonden). After a tempestuous summer inquiries started to return for autumn and winter.
“Winter is traditionally low season, but we have managed to keep ops going,” Rasmussen continues. “Still impacted by COVID-19 in a very volatile market so to speak. The infrastructure for aviation is broken, and we can only guesstimate how the world of aviation returns post-COVID. We are experiencing harsh competition in a red ocean market, where everyone’s survival is at stake.” Being in the private charter business means Global Reach Aviation has the advantage that passengers avoid interactions with many touchpoints in airport terminals. “We also guarantee new-tested crew, disinfected aircraft and last but not least you can travel in your own social bubble,” Rasmussen adds. “2021 is starting slow but we have been receiving requests for trips. It is still too early to predict how aviation will return. Vaccines are being rolled out, which will have a positive impact on aviation. Some customer groups still need to travel. In order to meet the needs of our customers we added another CRJ-200 from Canadian AvMax in October/November last year. The other CRJ-200 is leased by Regional One in Florida. At the time of writing the new strategy is being drawn up, and we look forward to being able to continue our operation and implementation of new initiatives.”
Global Reach Aviation operates two CRJ-200s on an AOC with Copenhagen AirTaxi.