The Luxaviation Group is one of the largest private aircraft operators in the world. In the UK, Luxaviation is overseen by CEO George Galanopoulos, with the firm going from strength-to-strength since its initial inception and now looking to expand its reach even further. We find out more as George is named in the Most Influential CEO Awards.
A global private jet management, charter and FBO (fixed based operator) company, Luxaviation Group currently operates a fleet of 215 aircraft under management and VIP passenger terminals in 23 airports around the globe.
The company history dates back to 1964, when Abelag, now Luxaviation Belgium, was established at Brussels Airport. Today, the Group has bases in the UK, continental Europe, Middle East, Africa, Australasia, and the Americas.
With a diverse clientele, ranging from business executives to high-net-worth-individuals, celebrities, to governments and Royal households, Luxaviation’s business jets are used as a business tool for busy executives – contributing to the creation of financial stability and employment globally. The firm also manages private jets for owners, and also charters those aircraft to users.
George Galanopoulos is the firm’s UK CEO, and also head of charter sales Europe for the Luxaviation Group. He has been in the aviation industry since 1985 and tells us a little more about his career.
“I started as a commercial pilot and went on to establish London Executive Aviation, a business aircraft charter operator,” George begins. “London Executive Aviation evolved to become one of the largest private jet operators in the UK. In 2014, the company joined Luxaviation Group.”
Starting as a pilot with very little business experience, George set up London Executive Aviation with his business partner, Patrick Margetson-Rushmore, who had a corporate finance background and loved aviation. This partnership of two totally different characters worked well in developing the business, as both parties brought different benefits to the table.
“In the 25 years working together we hardly had any disagreements!” George tells us. “I could not have asked for a better business partner. Launching a business is never easy and having the right people around you is vital. It is very difficult for one person to have all the strengths and qualities needed to succeed, so having the right business partner is essential.”
George has carried this ethos with him throughout his career and today he works hard to ensure that he has a good relationship with his employees to create a positive working environment and encourage strong performance. In fact, employee loyalty is one of Luxaviation UK’s strengths, with some people having been with the company since its establishment in 1996.
The biggest challenge for private aviation has always been to change the public’s perception and overall image of the industry. The business aviation industry is of significant economic value globally, supporting the progress of UK, Europe and international business, and the creation of jobs.
“Tied into that perception is also sustainability,” George elaborates. “We were one of the first private jet operators to offer a carbon offset programme, many of our ramp vehicles have been electrified and we have employee incentive schemes for buying electrical cars and promote cycling to work. We also continue to explore additional Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) procurement opportunities worldwide, and in the cockpit, we are digitising processes to reduce paper waste and have placed recycling points in all facilities.”
In line with the company’s commitment to its social, ecological, and economic responsibilities to society, Luxaviation has also enabled customers to carbon offset any flight, and book with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in locations where it is currently available.
However, George is hoping that people’s perceptions may have shifted slightly over the last few years, as during the pandemic Luxaviation saw a lot of new users turning to private aviation, many of which are still with the company today.
“A lot of those new users are definitely not your traditional high-net-worth individuals – enquiries and bookings came from a new audience – families who can, actually, afford it but had never considered a private jet before as an option,” he explains. “Last summer for example, 25% of our actual bookings were from complete newbie private jetters who had never considered it before.”
Best known for its unrivalled customer service, and with George at the UK helm ensuring the group follows the highest standards in safety, quality, and service, it’s no surprise that he was recently recognised in the Most Influential CEO Awards 2023 and named Most Influential Executive Aircraft Charter CEO 2023 – UK.
Now, as the future beckons, George is looking to support the growth of Luxaviation. The Group recently announced that it had expanded its fleet in the Asia-Pacific region, adding the Dassault Falcon 2000XL and two Bombardier Global 600 aircraft to its Australian charter fleet.
Later this year, ExecuJet, part of the Luxaviation Group, will be opening a brand-new 33,000 square foot facility at Dubai Maktoum Airport (DWC). This will be the largest stand-alone facility in Dubai South and will feature an air-conditioned hangar. The opening will support industry growth in the Middle East.
Another focus for Luxaviation will be continuing to implement new sustainability initiatives, beyond its existing efforts to incorporate SAF and carbon offsetting schemes.
“My career – and life – has always been about aviation,” enthuses George. “I intend to remain in the industry for some time to come!”
For business enquiries, conatact George Galanopoulos from Luxaviation UK on their website – www.luxaviation.com