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CEPA minus one

What an event, still we receive registrations, it is a very good spirit here at the moment, the entire organisation is very busy and we are all looking forward to our big aviation event

martina and bara with their uniforms, glad they will help us on these 2 days.


CEPA EXPO in Prague next week

We are ready for the big show in Prague. More than 4 months 5 people were working on the organization of the 2012 CEPA EXPO. Myself i talked and mailed personally to for sure more than 1000 people. The good news is that no one ever doubted that this show will make a breakthrough and even many people cannot come, they dropped me a mail saying how much they appreciate our efforts.

Aviation needs a help. EU cannot do this for us all, we have to pave our way to the next decade and connect over the whole world. People in France, USA and everywhere in the world are interested and will be connected with us through our stream and we need every support.

David, Lubo, Petra, Bulat, Lada and many more, thank you for everything. It was very tough to get everything toghether especially after our new setup and technical tools we will use for the first time. We created our own messanger system called CEPPANGER to connect the auditorium and the panels and have all the comments seen which are posted by a special app for the smartphones.

Our nameless, countless helpers who believe in the project working for free. I do thank you all when we will open the 3rd CEPA EXPO which will be held in 2013 at the Prague Airport.

Welcome on board

Dagmar Grossmann



Do you know what happens when Romney and Obama assume you can vote? And do you know what exactly means assumption?

Assumption is what you add to what you hear before you speak…

Communication is who says what to whom through which channel and with what effect.

When I was a little girl, we used to play a game we called „STILLE POST“(silent post). During this game seven children lined up. The first one said a sentence, which was then passed from one to another. At the end, the seventh and last kid said aloud what he got from his predecessor.

The game usually started with simple sentence such as “I eat an apple”. After this sentence was whispered six times into the ear of the next kid in line it became something totally different, such as “Spain is the second biggest banana importer in the world”.

And this is actually the same thing we experience every day in private and business life. “Stille Post” is happening around the world, as it has to do with communication, sender and receiver. More…




Are you a controlling person? Do you return home to check if your stove is shut down? And how often do you check your emails? I bet you carry your phone at all times with you – like an accessory – so you are able to control emails and text messages. Where is the line between control and obsession?

Watch your kids! Make them call you every 5 minutes to tell you where they are and control their entire life. FaceTime, yippee! With the help of this application we now can know where our husbands actually are when they say that they have to work longer. Control people are everywhere, but mostly you will find them among those, who have powerful positions and are used to be responsible for other people as well. They control the work of others to make sure they at least know for what someone above them will chop their head off. Control people have problems whenever they think someone else, whom they could not entirely access, takes their life in their hands. Good example is the pilot. If you are a control freak, the worst thing that can happen to you is to sit in the middle of the cabin, with the sunshields down and the lights off so it looks as if it is dark night, and the turbulence is making the plane bumping without your control. Or if you are undergoing a surgery and the anesthetist is telling you that shortly you will fall into deep sleep. Those moments are awful, you can’t control the situation and it leaves you feeling helpless and lost and there is nothing you can do about it.


The second wisdom of the Shaolin Monks teaches us that: More…


The Unbearable Lightness of Being ‘East’

The Unbearable Lightness of Being  ‘East’.

‘Confirmation Bias’ is a tendency to gather information that confirms your prior beliefs, and to ignore information that contradicts them. As an example of how this affects decision making, imagine you are a senior manager listening to a project team pitching a new project. The team has talked to project engineers about feasibility, and they have run some marketing tests to measure consumer/buyer behavior. Their financial models indicate a very profitable product and everything seems tip top. Should you invest? Before you do, try to determine if the team has subconsciously favored the information in their hands or not.

If they were particularly enthusiastic about the project from the start, then it’s likely that they have gathered mostly favorable information and they have a positive predisposition. Is confirmation bias at work when we consider the future of aviation in Central and Eastern Europe?

Sometimes the entire world thinks that Central Europe (formerly known as Eastern Europe) has still to do their homework in aviation. Majority tends to keep this heuristic posture: banks, risk managers, clients, brokers… the list is endless.  It seems that Central Europe unfairly compete in the scale from 0-10 with an open end. But things have changed and keep changing.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being takes place mainly in the same place that CEPA is based – the promising city of Prague. The novel openly challenges Nietzche‘s concept of eternal recurrence (the idea that the universe and its events have already occurred and will recur infinite times) this is where we align with the feeling ‚nothing is permanent except change .

Change is important and inevitable in European aviation as well. If the market is to be united into one solid European aviation industry, as it should, it is time to give Central Europe an opportunity to show where it stands. And it stands in a very promising place. The Economist, Eurocontrol, and Mckinsey are just few in a long and growing list of believers and trustable sources to back up the notion that aviation market is thriving in the CEE region.


Each industry or market has several dimensions such as product, geography and time. To accurately predict the market the only reliable data to be considered is supply and demand. We should ignore the costs of making the market for now. And making the market is exactly what we do here with all our supporters in the CEPA region. Central Europe is the classic perfect place to build up the aviation for the next decades. Since it is part of the European Union it is inevitable that all legal and fiscal factors can be handled easier than anywhere else. That is clear advantage.

The good old economic rules tell us that we should give attention to making profits not to decrease the costs. But instead of heading this advice we let things like market demand and supply rule our businesses completely. We therefore focus only on buyers’ behavior, and this biased mindset often shifts the predicted forecasts astray.

“Eat and sit with people to understand who they are” means in this case that all these analysis will not replace the fact that it is important to dare going East and while being there creating the new aviation market. We are already far. The number of business jets and AOCs is steadily increasing. But we can do even better. Above all, we have to get equal and good conditions in financing and we must try to understand each other on the same level and then just go a do the business.

The most important thing to understand about the upcoming Central European market is that it is crucial to enlarge the possibilities and opportunities and take the long run forces into account. Short term high profits are just not the goal.


All the calculations show it can’t work. There’s only one thing to do: make it work.

 Pierre Georges Latécoère, early French aviation entrepreneur


The importance of the mysterious UHNWIs

When was the last time you went to a fashion show after-party and the models or designers paid for: drinks, apparel, accessories or jewelry? Many would think these kinds of personalities are the best example to frame a picture of the Ultra-High-Net-Worth individual.

UHNWIs can be the people who probably just nailed a juicy contract to be in the new Louis Vuitton or Hermes Campaign. Others would define the UHNWI simply as a wealthy person with more than 30 million USD ready to invest or spend, and according to some estimates there are almost hundred thousand of them worldwide.

It seems to me, based on my experience from various industry related shows and conferences, that the prevailing sentiment in our industry is to target the UHNWIs. We seem to assume that every person with more than 30 million USD of disposable capital needs an airplane.  And so we focus on them. Common sense after all says that hedonists, whether they are rich businessmen or models with new contracts, make good luxury buyers. But is it the right decision to define our industry by the number of UHNWI we fly per year?

Epicurus the philosopher was a hedonist, but not in the popular modern sense. In these days we tend to associate hedonism with excessive pleasure-seeking or with refined selective experiences. What Epicurus meant, though, was something more subtle; he certainly didn’t think the road to happiness was paved with luxury or material wealth. What he emphasized was the idea of being ‘untroubled’. Epicurus also saw the absence of pain as a pleasure in itself.

Many of us focus on those who can afford a plane, but the real question is do they really need it? Or even better put – do they really want it? If Epicurus would have lived nowadays he probably would ignore all the celebrity endorsed fractional ads he gets in the Wall Street Journal, the luxury fantasy of an in-flight Jacuzzi he just saw on Fashion TV and he probably wouldn’t even consult a huge pile of Luxury magazines to pick the best Golf resort in Cabo San Lucas.

“That some should be rich, shows that others may become rich, and, hence, is just encouragement to industry and enterprise”

Abraham Lincoln

Epicurus would, like other celebrities, secretaries, UHNWI, athletes and agents, just click on the top two results (maybe even the third), the search engine would yield. He would probably check online reputation of the provider, maybe he would ask around about the brand just to double check that the offer is solid. The point is that all of this would be at the reach of his hand, simple and, above all, ‘untroubled’.

The clash between the modern and the Epicurean definition of the word hedonist illustrates the different approaches of the industry representatives in the Eastern and Western markets.  I was not therefore surprised, when this graphic, comparing the east and west industries, showed up at the EBACE conference. The reason why the curve in Russia goes that ‘seasonal’ is because they are taught to market private aviation as a luxury, while in the west it is mostly promoted as a business-saving-time-tool-with-a-style.

There are many UHNWI in Central Europe but the market is simply not ready yet. We need to work on the infrastructure of the market and we must keep explaining the pros and cons. We also have to allow people to choose at their own, sweet time. Only then can our market start growing again and those clients, who will need an airplane, will follow. With growing business, more UHNWI will develop and then we are here, ready to help and provide professional service.

We should help the market to develop in recession times by building alliances and investing in the future. We should focus on helping banks and insurance houses to understand the constantly changing, specific conditions of our industry. Instead, we wait till the market takes its own dynamic and then act accordingly.  We wait until it is safe to make the next step… However, waiting too long for the next step might give the competition a head start.



Why is it always the first one to be celebrated? All the others surely had to put forth the same effort. Is it all just about the feeling of being elevated from the others? How are you coping with this feeling of being first? Often we wait a long time and work very hard for winning something. And then we win. We stand alone with a beating heart, waiting for the reward, and we somehow end up feeling lonely. Why is there always a goodbye after a hello? And why we just can not say, quite simply, that the things we did till now were just a prologue for what will follow? Because, because because… Because nothing will happen if it is not dreamed first.

The world is just like this and it will not change in any generation. The winner takes it all, the loser is standing small. We love the winner, we love the power of success, the fact that this person did something extraordinary and is thus someone special. Studies proved that if someone posts a success story on his or her facebook page, the number of friendship requests jumps up tremendously. We want to be associated with those in the light, not those in the shadow. After all, we all know that when darkness comes into our life even our shadow will leave us. Do you know where you are heading and, before you start your journey, do you know who you are?

Recently during a very serious business meeting one manager of a huge company told me that because of his Chinese cards, he does not always know who he is. My response was clear and fast, of the serve – volley kind: I many times also do not know who I am. The good news, however, is that I am able to remember quite quickly who I am and I manage to beam myself back to reality after the wonderful journey to the dreamworld, where everything can end exactly the way we want it to.

Sometimes you win but in reality the victory feels more like defeat. The price you have to pay is high. If you are successful you have only few friends, because you are not sure for which reasons they stick with you. So you keep your distance in an attempt to avoid hurt feelings and disappointment, which could hinder your efforts to climb the highest mountain.

And then – you win. You think everyone is happy for you, but just in that moment the biggest enemy of mankind shows its dark face – enviousness.

The real victory in life is to be yourself. To wake up and go to bed with the feeling that you did the best you could, that you regret what you did wrong, and you are able to recognize both.

Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.


So seriously, the wining should not be an issue. You win when you are able to make fun of yourself – that is already a huge achievement.

Couple weeks ago I had a very important meeting in London. In fact, it was extremely important since the result of this meeting would have a real impact on our ongoing project. So I sat at the restaurant, ordered water (big bottle like always) and lemon (like always). And while I was talking away, I caught a glimpse of something yellow out of the right corner of my eyes. So, I grabbed the “lemon”, put it in my water and kept talking. Just then, the waiter passed by and with a little smile on his face he told me, that the food is already on its way and that the orchid in my glass might not be very healthy.

So, imagine you are eating the orchid, believing it is lemon, and at the same time you want to convince your business partner that you are actually a very reasonable person. “I did it on purpose” I said, but at least in Italian language.

Winning means losing. ;-)))


i think one should celebrate the victories and mourne over the losses

after 7 months of work, we did it and it was the biggest achievment we could have, what a great feeling, now celebration and then some rest, will come back with a new post soon


The commuter, Starbucks and the CEE at EBACE.

This year’s EBACE gave us all an idea of where Business Aviation is peaking, with the United Arab Emirates alone having the same amount of exhibition booths as the representatives from the CEE region.

There was a clear message from the nations represented at the event including the CEE countries, everybody is looking for a deal, but this raises a number of questions. Is the CEE fairly represented by the few companies and countries exhibiting? How do others see the region? Are the CEE companies projecting their brand at the same level as international standards?

With this in mind, let’s have a look at Starbucks, because there is something that aviation can learn from its model, especially since we surprisingly share the general consumer profile, a term that Tim Haford, the undercover economist, likes to call the Rush-hour commuters.

A commuting person is one who regularly travels between their place of residence and place of work. The promise offered by Starbucks, which is part of a worldwide chain in terms of coffee and pastries, can probably be beaten in Brazil, Italy or Finland by a charming coffee shop. However our commuting clients who have no time to search around, opt for a place with familiar standards, a place where Wi-Fi is available to use their smart phones and hand held tablets, a place where they will find English speaking staff where facilities are consistent and recogniseable around the world and the menus are always available in English. The assurity of an English speaking supplier is attractive and will draw those with little time to bother trying to work out what is a skinny latte in Hungarian or Polish. Whether we liked it or not English is the global language and a necessary means of communication for international businesses. For any company aiming to operate internationaly they must give clients the feeling that what is available at home, will be at his disposal anywhere else around the globe.

As a visitor, the deal breaker for the CEE exhibitors at EBACE stemmed from communication issues. One or two companies handed out brochures only in their own native tongue and others had members of their team struggling with the English language. As a prospective client this makes doing business a protracted and frustrating business, which can essentially break a deal. Can you imagine the amount of redirected calls you may have to go through just to arrange for example a charter. This is where you want to give the business money, so imagine what it would take to settle a dispute about catering costs or any other disagreement. For any business operating in the business aviation environment being able to speak the client’s first language is the first step towards dedicated customer service.

One of the educational panels at EBACE focused on the CEE region. Hosted by Jiri Matousek, Chairman of CEPA 2011, “Southern and Eastern Europe: Opportunities Amidst Challenges“ Moderated by Taunya Renson of FlyCorporate, highlighted similar issues arguing, “The increase of English language skills is resulting in the CEE creating better ties.“ The graph below demonstrates just how much English is now spoken in the region.

CEPA seeks to promote standards and to find common ground for understanding. The Association is working to strengthen communications among members, and to project a globalized image. CEPA hasa growing selection of clients who comply not only with international standards in their service but also have operations working compeltel in English. A brief glance at our members section demonstrates that even if they come from different countries, every member has an English version of their site, a standard that CEPA requires of new members. Companies fulfilling the requirements will not only benefit from communicating to a wider potential client base, but will also be more likely to increase their market share. If we can continue to expand our skill-sets, particularly our language offering the CEE countries will move towards operating on a level playing field and the Rush- Hour commuter“ will be happy to stop by to shop.

Source: Blue Sky News


Alliances, and will this happen finally?

Is this what we want? Or is this what will become after the downturn?  Are we ready for it? Is this London in the summer?   Prague in the autumn?

The world’s economy is at a turning point.  While the world’s biggest airlines have no other chance of survival but to merge, adapt or die, business aviation is still undecided what to do.   It is a very delicate point to even discuss merging partially with the competitor next door to you, because there is still this feeling of  where you will end up – in a weaker position – even though it is proven by economic specialists that it is not so.

It is widely accepted that four hands work better than two and according to Prof. Jennifer Aaker, a very experienced Marketing specialist from Stanford   if you want to be successful take a look at the  dragonfly.  Jennifer explains that her title The Dragonfly Effect  explores  the fact that this is the only insect which can fly in any direction when its four wings are working together.  In a nutshell it goes like this:

First Wing: Focus

Concentrate on a single clear outcome rather than “thinking big.”  Set a goal, break it into smaller sub-goals, decide how to measure success, and create a concrete, specific action plan you can revisit and use as a management guideline.

Second Wing: Grab Attention

Once you know what you want to do, you need to get your audience’s attention. Key tips: Be original, keep it simple, make it grounded, and use visual imagery.

Third Wing: Engage

To “tee up” your audience to take action, get them emotionally involved in your cause. To do this, you need to understand what engages people. And in these times social networking is important.

Fourth Wing: Take Action

Once you know what you want to accomplish and have engaged your audience, it’s time to get your audience to act in a way that makes your cause become its cause.

Pointing this into the business aviation context – Central Europe needs to work hand in hand with the West , and we need this thinking to get moving.  While the language might be different, the region and the professionalism in it  is equal.  In our regions ,actions speak for themselves.

The Expansion of business aviation group AELIS to Warsaw is proof that the market in the CEE promises good business. AELIS started operations in Slovakia and after seeing their business growth they decided to go deeper in the East. Looking at the Polish Economy in the next years they expect to grow above European level, with a GDP of around four percent per year – the highest in Europe.

Ljubljana-based GIO Aviation is also considering further fleet expansion, as its push for business into international markets gathers pace.  By the end of 2011 the company had begun to look for opportunities beyond Slovenia and had relocated aircraft to the Russian region, based in Kiev, Ukraine.

It has everything  except enough manpower to help personnel  to train, so it needs alliances, as China does.  By law any company investing into China must have a partner from China in order to start a business, and nobody disputes this, so central Europe needs at least to find the right partner to fulfill promises and shortcut the long periods of uncertainty and overcoming all obstacles.