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Creating an Unforgettable Flying Experience

Bernardo Moreno - Redwings


José Escobedo By José Escobedo | Senior Editorial Manager - Fri, 05/12/2023 - 09:58

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Q: How would you describe the Redwings flying experience?

A: Competition is very tough these days. Therefore, we need to differentiate our services from other regional aviation companies. This is only possible with the amenities found inside the aircraft and the services provided by our bilingual flying hosts. Our main objective is to provide the best customer service possible. We want our customers to remember us for how they were treated, especially when it comes to our food catering service and how we welcome and treat each passenger throughout the flight. We believe that little things make a huge difference. For instance, we will provide a cake for you if you are flying on your birthday, or we will throw a little theme party. These little things make the Redwings experience an unforgettable one.

In addition, we have logged 790 hours per aircraft — the average flying time for a private jet is 400 hours— we are basically flying twice as much. Over 3,000 passengers last year lived the Redwings experience. Today, our problem is availability and our next available jet flight is in May. We fly to many US cities, including New York, Miami, Van Nuys and Carlsbad, California. We also fly to Europe but on a lesser scale. For instance, for every 1,000 flights, 100 will be to Europe. Our principal destinations are Rome, Venice, Berlin, Mallorca and London. Our main destination is the British capital – which makes up 60% of our Europe trips.

Q: Can you talk about your latest agreement with Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA)?

A: We just signed a contract to run the FBO (Fixed Base Operator) from AIFA. We believe it is going to be the biggest private airport for Mexico City. The difference between the Toluca airport and AIFA is that the latter is located at an altitude that is 1,500 feet lower than Mexico City. In addition, we have exclusive use of three runways longer than 10,000 feet. In other words, no matter what problems may arise, we will always have a runway available. In regard to operations, it is going to be more cost-effective to be based at AIFA. In addition, we have customs and immigration authorities within Redwings FBO at AIFA. The airport has more than 20,000 m2 of parking space and in the future, it will have capacity for up to 100 midrange airplanes. Another advantage is that by December of this year there will be three main highways that will connect AIFA to Mexico City, with an estimated travel time of 35 minutes from Mexico City.

Q: How did Redwings come about?

A: When I was 22 years old, I opened-up a piston engine shop and developed a plan for DHL. I ran that company for two years and sold it. Soon after, I founded Redwings. The company started as a consulting firm to create AOC permits in 2007. We are happy to say that for the past 17 years we have run a business without violations or operational problems. We have been operating helicopters for almost 10 years without any incidents.

Q: What are your fleet certifications?

A: We are certified with Wyvern Wingman and we are the only one in Mexico that complies fully with that specific certification. This is because last year, insurance requirements were so high that we were the only ones who qualified. This means that in today's market, our company is the only one that fully complies with Wingman on every flight.

Q: How will you be working with the AIFA in regard to the services you will be offering your customers?

A: We are going to have a helicopter on site that will connect our passengers to Mexico City. In addition, we are working with a US company on VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) services. Our goal is to set up VTOL services from AIFA to Mexico City at a cost that is comparable to that of an Uber. It is a five-seater VTOL aircraft that is run on an electrical engine — we will not be polluting the city. The noise is one third of the noise a helicopter makes. In regard to cost, the advantages are amazing. For instance, today you are paying about MX$1,000 when you take an Uber from downtown Mexico City to AIFA, sometimes an Uber or a taxi is more expensive than the airplane ticket itself. We will charge approximately MX$1,500 to get from AIFA to Polanco in just six minutes. This is a very low cost. We will provide this service from cities surrounding Mexico City, such as Puebla, Morelia and Queretaro. This is going to revolutionize the private sector in Mexico because we are going to provide connectivity to AIFA. We are not going to be the first; we are going to be the only ones to provide this service.

Q: How would you describe your aircraft management program?

A: We specialize in heavy private jets. Clients place their aircraft under our certificate and we provide you with free hours for your own use and charter the rest to pay up that cost. As an owner you do not have to deal with pricing or anything money-related. This is a very good advantage because no matter where you set up your airplane, you always end up paying money to the charter company, such as maintenance or pilot training, you always get charged for something. In our contract, we stipulate zero payments for one year and we set up the number of hours you can fly for free. The client does not have to worry about anything; they sign, they fly and whenever they are ready to sell, they get their investment back. I do not think anyone in Mexico can sign these kinds of contracts other than us.

Q: What is your fleet and the market like in Mexico?

A: In regard to chartering, many things have changed. For instance, the domestic market has been plummeting for the past 10 years. This is because a lot of government contracts were not given or extended to the private sector. The domestic market will stay like this at least for another six to 10 years. Nevertheless, after the pandemic, we realized that we are part of a global market. Soon after, we started connecting South America with North America, North America with Europe, Europe with Latin America, all traveling through Mexico. Our beach destinations are in great demand. We take passengers from Puerto Vallarta to the US, and then from the US to Cancun or from Cancun to Europe. Our market today is 95% international. Today, we employ 85 people, 25 of whom are pilots. This year, we are planning to employ 50 additional people because we have new facilities. Our fleet is composed of one G550, one G4, two legacy 600s, two Learjet 60s, and one helicopter 505. For the moment, we do not have plans to increase our fleet.

Q: Where is Redwings heading in the next five years?

A: We are going to emphasize fixed air operations. No matter what happens, we will always have tourism in this country and because of nearshoring, no matter what government is in office and no matter how bad the economy gets, there will always be companies interested in investing in Mexico. Those who invest do not fly commercial airlines, they fly private.

Nevertheless, we still have room to grow. In Mexico, we only have 77 airports for 120 million people versus the US with 6,000 airports for 330 million people. If you do the math and calculate how many airports per capita there are, we are way behind that curve. In the future, we can count on Mexico having more infrastructure for airports to accommodate tourism and Redwings will be there to satisfy this growing demand. We are going to focus on logistics, we are not going to be just handlers, we are going to be the facility itself. We want our clients to rely on us for a smooth, enjoyable flight to Mexico. At the moment, our main focus is AIFA and the next FBO is going to be Puebla in May this year. We are focusing on the central part of Mexico at the moment. Moreover, we plan on having another destination in Baja California by the end of the year.

Q: What motivates you?

A: When I was a kid, I used to play with toy airplanes. In my office, I have over 250 little airplanes. This job is not monotonous, it keeps the adrenaline going and keeps you on your toes. There is always a new challenge. I feel very proud when I say I have been leading a company for 17 years. I am also very gratified that we have helped put Mexico on the world map. Our facilities are among the most beautiful in the country. Despite today’s challenging national aviation policies and challenges, I know one day the wind will change and Mexico will take off like a rocket.


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