Stuttgart/Filderstadt, November 04, 2020

With vaccination serum above the clouds

ProAir flies cargo and passengers. And Corona changes the demands.

The pilots of the ProAir company transported 25 kilograms of diamonds in a special suitcase. “With this valuable cargo, it was particularly challenging to ensure safety”, says Andreas Wald. The manager of the charter and logistics company is constantly confronted with emergencies, especially now in times of the Corona pandemic. If such transports between Africa and Europe have to be handled particularly quickly, he says, it is important to find unusual solutions within a short time. The company has also flown vaccine serum from the Filder to the USA. There it depends on a good cooling.

“We have now built up our own fleet of aircraft”, says Thomas Godau. This makes it easier for his company to react quickly when an aircraft is urgently needed. The pilots are permanently employed by the company and have the appropriate pilot license. A car manufacturer from the region, for example, has reserved a transport aircraft for a longer period of time. “This is still considerably cheaper than if the belts are left standing for five hours because supply chains break down”.

There is still a lot to be done in the freight sector, says Godau. “But the customer must also be able to rely on the goods reaching their destination on time”. That’s why everything has to go smoothly with customs clearance and the paperwork. “And we are available 24 hours a day”, says Markus Ciravegna. You can’t take a quick shower with him when he’s on call. “If a customer calls and can’t reach us, he looks for another company”, explains the manager who is responsible for business development.

With the helicopter to the factory

Often it is a matter of spontaneously finding a new machine that is suitable for the cargo in question: “That’s what two or even three of us take care of”. This requires a lot of coordination – and above all a good network. Ciravegna recalls the beginnings of his work at ProAir more than 20 years ago. Cable harnesses from Poland were urgently needed. “If the transport from the airport to the factory has to be fast, we also reload such goods into the helicopter at the airport”. Because there is often traffic jam on the A8 freeway.

The constant tension attracts manager Andreas Wald to his field of work in air freight logistics. ProAir started with freight transports. “Then the customers came to the conclusion that it was more economical to send their employees on business trips in private aircraft”, says the expert. This is especially true when there are no direct scheduled flights. “Time is money”, knows Thomas Godau. That’s why it is often absolutely uneconomical to wait for the next scheduled flight. “If a chartered plane is available, the employees reach their destination faster”.

The charter company also flies soccer teams such as VfB Stuttgart or 1. FC Heidenheim. Ciravegna is still raving about VfB Stuttgart’s match against FC Barcelona in the Champions League ten years ago. “Not only the team but also 1,600 fans came to the game at the Camp Nou stadium in Catalonia”. Seven Boeing 757s with 220 to 250 seats each were booked at the time. In 2019, he organized the USA trip of a soccer team: “With the whole shebang”. Since March 2020 such events no longer exist.

Markus Ciravegna and Andreas Wald of ProAir Group

Private flight to the vacation home

How has the Corona pandemic changed the work of the charter company? “Because there are fewer scheduled flights, we have more vacationers.” Those who have the appropriate financial means fly privately to their vacation home in Mallorca, reports Andreas Wald about the changed demand.

Noble automobile presentations or press trips no longer exist. Instead, more companies are letting business travelers fly in private jets. In Corona times the danger of infection can be reduced. “Often airlines have cancelled the line”. As far as travel restrictions and quarantine rules are concerned, he must always be at ball level so that customers can travel to their destination country. Wald likes it when he and his team help sick people. “Years ago, a crew brought a vital medicine to the island of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean”. This is also part of the business.

Esslinger Zeitung of November 4, 2020 (Elisabeth Maier)
Photos ©Rudelfotos (Horst Rudel und Ines Rudel GbR)

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