We sat down with three of our leaders to uncover milestones from TrustFlight in 2022. Karl Steeves is one of the Directors of TrustFlight, Andy Wilkinson is head of Software Sales and Jim Swoboda is VP of Airworthiness.
Karl, how was 2022 for TrustFlight? What did your team accomplish?
Karl: “It was a great year. I think 2022 was the year that TrustFlight confirmed the worldwide remit and scope of its aviation expertise available for clients, coupled with best-in-class software and analytics tools. Everything we do incorporates such strong ‘aviation DNA’. The result is new clients that we’ve onboarded and clients who have entrusted us with more work. These are good reasons we’re called TrustFlight.”
Unpack that a bit. Who are the new clients?
Karl: “Well, every new customer is a testament to our progress. Three new clients this year are good examples. The first is Bonza, the new Australian airline. The second is a well-known global fractional business jet operator. The third is a global original equipment manufacturer.”
What about Bonza was unique? Jim, you’ve got significant experience with large fleets of commercial aircraft…
Jim: “The entire team is proud of our work with Bonza because it shows we can provide an airline a combined offering, such as CAMO services, data and analytics tools, and our electronic Tech Log. Even the largest competitors can’t provide the compelling bundle of software and services that TrustFlight can. And for that matter, most airlines do not have access to the kind of tools we’ve built and services we offer without huge, expensive in-house development.”
Still, you’ve got competition.
Karl: “I think we're surprising people. We beat a large established provider on contracts twice in the last two years. And, I would add that TrustFlight managed to help Bonza’s electronic Tech Log get approved in record time, a first with the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority. That demonstrates how good the system is and our ability to have good processes and industry experience that we can provide to get up and running quickly. And that happened here.”
You mentioned a global business jet operator. Who is that?
Karl: “It is one of the largest fleet operators of any aircraft in the world, and significant U.S. operations. In 2022, we wanted to serve a large operator like this — to have such a large fleet using our systems. We work now with TAG Aviation, Luxaviation and a few others — certainly a large percentage of the top ten of business jet operators globally. There’s been much consolidation, and we’re well-placed to help.”
How does consolidation factor from a maintenance or CAMO perspective, in the business jet space?
Karl: “Well, it demonstrates the benefits TrustFlight provides from a systems perspective. Our systems work to manage multiple fleets quite well. The systems are not just for a single-AOC operator — although they can be. And that’s probably why several larger fleet operators come to us as there is configuration available to solve their unique situations and a level of fleet wide oversight and reporting other systems can’t match.”
Andy: “It’s similar across all of our products, for all of our clients, and something we’ve worked towards in 2022. Every additional element of the TrustFlight offering — be it product or services — provides integrated benefits to the other elements.”
The global original equipment manufacturer —they’re not flying per se? What’s the TrustFlight use case?
Andy: “No, they aren’t flying but they have a fleet and equivalent demands to the operators we support. And they are using Centrik to manage their large, worldwide operations. Speaking of other types of organisations, Centrik is also used by national regulators and airports to be efficient, safe and compliant with regulations. It’s that flexible of a product.”
Milestones aside, how has TrustFlight’s footprint changed over 2022? How many employees does TrustFlight have now and where are they based?
Karl: “We now have over 120 employees across UK and Canada. We have grown every team in the business on the services side and product side.”
Andy: “I think in 2022, we've been able to fish in a bigger pond. TrustFlight has been able to demonstrate that we can work with all manner of airlines and operators. We've been able to call upon aviation DNA in different parts of the world. Our services team did over 60,000 hours of work. That’s about 40 full-time employees. And it’s a worldwide effort, across every type of operator.”
Jim: “I agree. We’ve grown the CAMO team to make it a truly international organisation and we’ve done that by balancing expertise in our Vancouver and Luton offices. We can be closer to our customers and support them on a true 24-hour basis.
Ok. Any specific examples of how that worldwide remit has helped an airline, Jim?
Jim: “I’d highlight our support for Bonza in Australia, where they are six hours ahead in Brisbane. So, for the 16 hours before their morning, we’ve already had two shifts working to complete the work of the day. And, we’ve got a great customer in Flair Airlines in Canada, more than two dozen aircraft, flying across North America.”
Andy, you’ve said that meeting customers face-to-face was a big part of the year. Why is that?
Andy: “This was the first year where people could have face-to-face meetings again, and TrustFlight was out in force, at conferences like Aircraft Commerce. The information flow was spot on. We participated in three trade shows last year, including valuable contributions from our industry experts as panelists.”
Andy, you’ve been working with airline and business jet operators to offer a full suite of products. Mid-year, TrustFlight added MEL Manager. Who is the primary user of that product?
Andy: “MEL Manager launched this autumn, and interest is high, especially after product demos. It offers many benefits to business jet operators that maintain their own MELs, and for organisations that outsource them to other entities. They can bring them in-house for a fraction of the cost and time it would normally take. It shows enormous promise. And it’s a light-touch product, very much self-serve.”
Jim, tell me about the Fleet Dashboard tools and Reliability Analytics tool you’re working on. It was built from scratch in 2022, right?
Jim: “Right — again based on personal relationships and knowing there are aviation experts wanting to fix elements they’ve endured throughout their career. In all cases with our Fleet Dashboard, we’ve focused on operational analytics that the operators want and need— like our premium Reliability Analytics tool. It will become the default tool for delivering all of our reliability reports and insights. We’ve vastly enhanced analytics capability for our customers. I've built these types of tools because I've had the responsibility for 300 aircraft. I’m trying to fight for one more percent of aircraft availability because it might represent $5M to the operation’s bottom line. 1% more might represent profitability for a large carrier.”
This is about 2022, but what’s in store for 2023, Karl?
Karl: “In 2023, watch for us to help our customers better use data to provide better reporting — ultimately making it easier to run their operations and more profitably. We’ll have developments in the combination of safety, maintenance and operational data. And always with the best user experience. On top of that, you’ll see us provide more integrated approaches to the services and software we offer because there is so much untapped potential leveraging that technical expertise.”
Who gets a big year-end thank you?
Karl: “First, I would like to thank our employees, who have worked tirelessly to deliver the vision we have for the industry. They have really gelled as a team in 2022, across functional groups, and I think people see what we’re doing, the work environment we’ve created and that worldwide remit we’ve all spoken about. Second, our customers are the lifeblood of our business, and I hope they know that. They have been very good with supporting us, providing key feedback on development. We’re working every day with their pain points in mind.”