Holger Paulmann CEO, Sky Airline.
Why did you change your business model to become a low-cost carrier?
We knew that the low-cost model had been successful in many regions, but shifting from being a standard airline to a low-cost carrier is a challenge that can be measured only by how the market changes the way it travels, and changes its habits. Especially when you’re the first one to embark on such an endeavor.
Today, one year down the road, we are excited with where we stand; keeping our promise to deliver the option for a safe and swift means of transportation for people that only months ago didn’t have that chance.
What is your strategy for the next couple of years and do you have any specific targets or goals?
Apart from the renewal of the fleet, which will add 21 new Airbus A320neos, the other major project is an investment plan to create centers in other cities of Latin America beyond our Santiago base. But these would not necessarily be in capital cities. The new fleet will provide us with greater seating capacity, so if a new route makes sense we will explore it, as we did in December 2017 in Brazil with the opening of the seasonal routes, Santiago—Rio de Janeiro and Santiago—Florianópolis.
Operating in other Latin American countries seems inevitable, and this is a challenge we definitely accept. An effort of this magnitude requires a sound financial plan, and the search for financial partners has already begun
Where are the big opportunities in the future?
Operating in other Latin American countries seems inevitable, and this is a challenge we definitely accept. An effort of this magnitude requires a sound financial plan that takes into account local regulations, limitations, and opportunities. The search for financial partners has already begun, with the need to find partners willing to invest. Another option that the company is considering is acquiring smaller local airlines, although this recognizes that both models can coexist.
We are actively looking for growth options. Our impeccable and fast transition from an inherited airline to a low-cost airline, with sustained success during the last semester, is our best calling card when we meet with potential financial partners.
In brief… Sky Airline
- Sky was founded in 2002, and has gone on to become a vital player in the South American region
- Operating out of Chile, it flies to 20 permanent destinations across four countries
- It became the South Cone’s first low-cost carrier in 2015, a move that had a direct impact of a 35% reduction on domestic market fares
How can IATA help aviation in the region thrive?
By continuing to pave the way for sustained growth for all operators in emerging and consolidated markets. Also, by helping to reduce airport taxes and charges to create a more competitive industry, especially in developing markets. Of course, pressing constantly for a safer industry on all continents should always be the main pillar for the future, too.
What made you choose aviation as a career?
Aviation is an exciting industry that evolves at the speed of light. It is constantly challenging you to innovate, to implement new models, and to dare to take a step further.