Industry leaders have launched an association to establish the Czech Republic as a key regional hub for private aviation.
Dagmar Grossmann, chairman and founder of Central Europe Private Aviation (CEPA), says: "Business aviation is a relatively new field in central Europe with a huge growth potential for its share on the European market. CEPA's aim is to support and develop business aviation in Central Europe."
CEPA, she explains, is a voluntary, non-governmental and non-profit association of private citizens and legal entities that will represent the interests of producers, operators, service and training organisations, aircraft and helicopter brokers and supporting organisations including financial, insurance and publishing companies. "It welcomes both individuals and companies as members," she adds.
Antonia Tomkova, md and co-founder, says the association's primary aim is to represent its members' interests at national, European and international levels and support the growth of private aviation in the Czech Republic and abroad. She adds: "The association will also have an educational arm in order to disseminate information about the current climate in business aviation in Central Europe, attract the attention of other operators and participate in and sponsor conferences on business aviation."
CEPA will initially focus on Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Board member Jaroslav Malinsky says: "All these countries are a potential wealth of new business for the region, providing new markets for the business aviation industry. In the Czech Republic, private jets held only a small percentage of total flight volume until recently, and interested clients were often directed toward foreign companies who could provide the service. Today, there are 19 business jets registered in the Czech Republic."
Grossmann says CEPA will also focus on promising markets such as Belarus, Ukraine and Russia. She is founder of Grossmann Jet Service, a Czech private jet operator, which has become CEPA's first member.
"Based on the response we've received from brokers and business jet operators, it is clear that the launch of CEPA is the right step to take to achieve a common goal - the development of business aviation in Central Europe," Grossmann says.