The best thing about working in aviation is the daily challenges

60 seconds with… Andrew Madar, CEO, Cobalt

What are your hopes for the airline in 2018?
An ever-increasing flow of passengers, a target we are achieving through an effective commercial and marketing program. In 2018, we also expect to increase the number of destinations and capture the necessary market share to drive profit.

What is your airline’s unique selling point?
There is no unique point but a unique combination of factors, ranging from the experience of our pilots to the warm smile of our cabin attendants. Our business model also proves that an airline can offer products and services equivalent to legacy carriers while maintaining a lower cost of operations through efficient cost control by our highly qualified personnel. 

What are the biggest challenges facing the global industry?
The fuel price uncertainty is one of our major concerns. The volatility of the price—driven by geopolitical and other problems—makes operation planning very difficult. Revenues keep getting lower but efficient cost control can increase the profit margins. Stiff competition from ultra-low-cost carriers is also putting pressure on the airlines to materialize their revenue targets. Finally, although global GDP is rising, breakeven load factors continue to be pushed up as a result increasing industry costs.  

Does an airline CEO need aviation experience?
An airline CEO must have vast aviation experience as well as business managerial skills. In particular, he or she must have specialist knowledge of flight operations, training, and engineering practices. The level of involvement in these areas varies of course, but since in most cases the CEO is also the accountable manager, their qualifications must include at least a degree in an aviation subject.

Airline economics and commercial practices are other areas in which the CEO must possess good understanding since he or she is the one driving the overall strategy of the company.

What’s the best and worst thing about working in aviation?
The best thing is the daily challenges and non-stop troubleshooting. Being part of one of the top industries, with issues from strict regulatory requirements to multimillion dollar fleet planning decisions, may seem overwhelming but the excitement is hard to beat. The worst part is the long hours! But the end results and the sense of accomplishment in this demanding job far outweigh the disadvantages. 

Window or aisle seat?
It doesn’t matter. Window or aisle, the great feeling of being airborne and cruising at high altitude in a state-of-the-art aircraft is always the same.

In brief... Cobalt

  • Cobalt is a next-generation carrier, combining a low-cost set-up with the flexibility to deliver a full-service business class
  • Operating out of Cyprus, it flies to 20 destinations across 12 countries
  • It aims to bring the world to Cyprus, developing the country as a hub to connect Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe.