Thomas Flohr is the Founder and Chairman of Vista, one of the world’s largest private aviation corporations. Vista is renowned for providing a variety of aviation services, from guaranteed availability programs to on-demand booking.
Shortly after studying business and political science at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Thomas Flohr started working in asset finance. However, he soon discovered that the corporate world left much to be desired. The rigid and slow pace of the sector frustrated him and cemented his notion that it didn’t align with his personality. One thing that stood out during his corporate tenure was the range of standards and quality in private aviation. There was a discrepancy between services, which meant that customers could never be sure what they’d find on the tarmac.
“You have to trust your instincts,” the BBC reported Flohr as explaining. “I sensed that the business jet market was underserved, and I wanted to challenge the established players. I like a good David versus Goliath fight.”
An ambitious entrepreneur, Thomas Flohr saw a gap in the market. There was an unquestionable demand for a top-quality, cost-effective, standardized model to serve all fliers worldwide. That’s when he founded VistaJet and, more recently, Vista, which owns VistaJet and XO its on demand digital marketplace for charter and shared flights. While working on expanding the Vista, the businessman noted a genuine desire for a bigger group that could provide a unified customer offering. The services would be quality-assured regardless of customers’ demands, location, or even budget. Identifying this unique area of market disruption, Thomas Flohr got to work realizing that vision.
Gulf Business magazine reported Flohr saying, “What I needed to do was build a global infrastructure of identical airplanes on every continent in order to be a real competition to full aircraft ownership. If you own your plane, you can take it anywhere. If you enter into a subscription contract with us, you can have access to our airplanes anywhere around the globe — identical to aircraft ownership, but at a much lower price point, because we’re using the assets more.”
Since the private aviation sector was fragmented, there was room for improvement. The challenge was simple: He would create a seamless ecosystem, offering a unified approach to leading customers around the world. While technology was already beginning to penetrate the industry, he was keen to include a level of connectivity. It was vitally important that all of the elements come together to work in sync. That was a tall order. It was the birth of his latest feat, Vista — a network that better controls the sector for operators and customers.
Under the umbrella of Vista, there’s the tech-forward XO brand. The company is bringing cutting-edge technology, managing flights with various charter operators, and running a live marketplace. All of the above is simultaneously taking place while Thomas Flohr looks for the best growth opportunities in the sector. In simple terms, XO is a digital marketplace for on-demand flying. The theory is that the business will make private flying more accessible to everyone. By utilizing the latest tech, the brand is changing the way that this industry works. No longer will it be on a need-to-know basis. Instead, customers of all backgrounds from around the world will be able to hire jets.
“We have stayed true to our model,” Flohr said in an interview with Corporate Jet Investor. “If people want to fly on demand they can go to XO, but we also want to be able to serve people who want guaranteed availability and price. We are also continuing to look at other opportunities for acquisitions.”
Understanding the growing demands in private aviation is the key to Thomas Flohr’s success. He knows his demographic. With that in mind, it’s worth taking a look at what a modern-day traveler’s top priorities are in 2022.
The modern world is evolving faster than many of us give it credit for. With the use of Zoom, Skype, and other platforms, we can communicate with people from countries far and wide. These changes must be mirrored within the private aviation sector. When an executive takes to the air, their workload no longer goes on pause. These individuals have to continue with their schedule whether they’re traveling or not. That’s why Vista recently announced the industry’s first rollout of the next gen of internet connectivity technologies.
The move means that private jet passengers can continue with their day while they’re flying. No matter whether they’re flying to a new country or seated in their office, the experience they have should be the same. The new technology allows them to stay in touch with colleagues, answer emails, and even take video calls when they’re on the go. That’s a real bonus to people who need to work around the clock to get things done.
There once was a time when the act of private aviation was a luxury in itself. Those days are over. In the modern world, customers demand more from private jet services. While 10 or 15 years ago, the fact that they could have their own plane was enough, these clients now expect an elevated level of service. Thomas Flohr has been quick to notice this growing trend. As a result, the Vista offering is consistently stylish and high-end. When customers choose to hire a jet through this brand, they always get the best.
In the coming years, we can expect customers to continue demanding more from the private aviation sector. Whether that means stylish interiors, extra features, or more exclusivity, there are many areas that can be expanded. As Thomas Flohr has proved time and time again, he has his finger on the pulse. Giving customers what they want is a baseline requirement for founder Flohr.
In 2022, it would be a colossal mistake to ignore the trend of globalization. Experts have been discussing this for decades and it’s finally coming to a head. The transformation of globalization doesn’t only touch the business world. It’s also about personal ties and making connections regardless of where in the world the other person may be.
Having a private jet at their fingertips is a real game changer for executives looking for new opportunities. The flexibility that this service offers cannot be underestimated. This is something that Thomas Flohr has put great emphasis on over the years. He’s all too aware of the needs of these executives and how to meet them. Allowing business people the option to explore new territories and regions is certain to be a major selling point.
Looking toward the future, it’s clear that Vista is set to take flight. Under the guidance of Swiss billionaire Thomas Flohr, the sky’s the limit.
“I am not the establishment,” Flohr declared in a cover story for Corporate Jet Investor. “If you are not humble you do not get to see the next opportunity. I am going to reinvent the concept of the establishment.”
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