Phil Everitt – Chief Operating Officer, Avcair
What does a typical workday look like for you?
My typical work day is a very early morning coffee at my dining table, viewing and responding to immediate emails. This can sometimes take me through to 10 or 11am. Then a shower, change of clothes and head into the office. I may remain there for the day or into and out of cafes/other offices for meetings. Generally home by 6pm, walk the dogs, cook some dinner and end the night with a final task back at my dining table viewing last minute emails/tidying up some business/project priorities. However, this is usually done with a nice glass of red at hand.
What led you to want to get into aviation?
I have been in aviation for almost half of my life. First and foremost the attraction was to surround myself by my purest of passions- aircraft. I started flying in charters between UK and Caribbean at 21, which led me on to long haul flying on 747, 777 and 767’s out of Auckland for Air New Zealand. Over time and experience I reduced my flying hours and started in aviation management and leadership, also experiencing alternative leadership roles in other industries to build knowledge of business; while completing a Masters of Business. I am now proudly positioned as a Chief Operating Office for Avcair, which is where I feel is a perfect place for me at this time in my life, still surrounded by my passion.
Tell us about your current fleet of aircraft and helicopters
Avcairs offering extends across servicing oil and gas companies, mining, fuel management, aeromedical aviation provision, as well as private passenger charter services.
Avcair has several aircraft under management and we also own our own LR60 Learjet, and we are in the process of purchasing a second LR60. Our management covers King Air 200’s and 300’s, Phenom E300 and soon an additional Phenom 100. Of the 2 LR60’s we own, one is specifically configured for aeromedical, while the second will be the primary Private Charter jet. Avcair is a business that is capably equipped, with operational expertise and a diversified service offering which is comprehensive enough to manage all streams of non-RPT aviation. We have 104 years of experience and Avcair has owned its own AOC for the last 19 years. We continue to grow and are constantly looking for development opportunities, new aircraft to manage and purchasing our own aircraft to service global passengers. We are a company with an exceptional team of employees, and a strong focus on growth.
What do you think are some of the biggest challenges facing aviation today?
Specifically for me, I believe the biggest challenge is the lack of ‘economy of scale’ within Australia for private jet travel. This has several leading factors, such as poor general engagement amongst the population, extremely well developed RPT services, high barriers of entry for providers and brokers, but most predominantly a lack in ease of service and fundamental private jet awareness for a financially stable ‘mum and dad’ type client. By this, I mean to suggest that few people would know where to go to book a private flight directly in the same manner they may book an RPT (Virgin/Qantas) flight, and or a hotel. This also extends a mitigated awareness in the next generation of astute individuals/couples/families (not just ultra-wealthy) looking for a cost effective, yet tailored travel experience.
A lack in economy of scale keeps private jet travel expensive. Simply put, at present, if you wish to privately fly from Brisbane to Sydney (one of the busiest commercial routes on the planet), you would likely need to pay for the empty leg to have the private jet return to Brisbane; due to a lack in an additional group purchasing the return flight. This makes the trip twice as expensive as it should be for the initial purchaser of the flight.
I believe one potential solution is to make private jet travel more accessible to the ‘mum and dad’ and astute traveler, so in particular, empty legs can be sold and reduce overall costs. The goal would be to move away from an ‘empty leg’ type discounted offering, and instead just have a better developed industry. This would directly compete with RPT business class prices, however with private flying it allows passengers to choose their own travel schedule, avoiding large airport crowds and enjoying the comfort and luxury of your ‘own’ plane. This cannot be done without significant development and implementation of an excellent private travel online platform. Monarc Global has been pivotal in this and have created a platform which will increase accessibility for a larger private flying community. This will increase empty leg sales, create economy of scale and thus reduce prices further, making it continuously more attractive industry for the general public to utilise.
What’s the best or worst career advice you’ve been given?
‘The behaviours you walk past are the behaviours you accept, so always be brave enough in your leadership to know when to stop walking, listen, then talk’. This resonates for me in more ways than just behaviours, as I think it includes noticing capabilities, skill, effectiveness, professionalism and kindliness. Never be afraid to stop, listen and talk and by doing so be clear in communicating what excellence in all facets of performance should be. In most scenarios, I find this allows others to be given the opportunity to see how they can do things better and truly understand. It also allows me to understand others, learn from them and continue to be a strong leader who can support them as well as the business.
‘Don’t challenge the norm as this is how we always have done it’. I believe we should always challenge the norm, reflect on our day, and continuously accept change. This is what drives innovation, development and new ventures. This needs to be balanced with being present and in the moment, however a ‘reach for the stars’ mentality has always been my go to trait, and I am certainly grateful for it.
What was your most memorable flight?
This would be the inaugural Christchurch to San Francisco flight I operated on while with Air New Zealand almost 20 years ago. It was a very long day, however as a handpicked crew member, and with some unique and loyal passengers selected for the flight, it was a wonderful experience and one I will never forget.
When is your busiest time of the year and why?
Generally it is the cruise ship season in the pacific region. This is primarily due to an uplift in aeromedical flights where we have many passengers either injured or falling sick on cruise ships or in the foreign ports they visit.
What’s your favourite city to fly into and why?
Toss up between London and Auckland. On a good day, flying in from the east into London, you often fly along the Thames, getting a fantastic view of London and all the sights it has to offer. I must say though, you cannot beat hitting good old NZ after many hours over the pacific, and looking down over the bay of islands at the beautiful and often rugged North Island coastline. Then descending across the Hauraki Gulf into Auckland. Sublime.