www.solenta.com - The African Business Journal


www.solenta.com - The African Business Journal
Solenta Aviation
Super fly guys
TRANSPORT • Solenta Aviation
Solenta combine modern technology with
traditional values, ensuring that customers
have an experience that will leave them
walking on air—literally.
be an inspired time to start and the company has
soared to new heights ever since it first took off.
Originally, this unique and specialised commercial aviation company had a vision to service
the African continent by providing flexible aircraft
In the modern world it is often essential for
leasing solutions. In those early days, at the turn
companies to utilise the services of all modes of
of a new millennium, it began by offering freight
transport. If the company is really flying, it’ll need
work in West Africa. For the first couple of years,
a plane. Solenta offer a vast array of aviation op-
while establishing the business, it dealt exclu-
tions to the business community.
sively with HR contracts.
After a gradual expansion programme the com-
Movers and shakers
pany started flying 200 aircraft for the prestigious
Solenta Aviation embarked on its journey—the
U.S. world tour programme in Afghanistan and this
first of many—in the year 2000. It turned out to
proved to be the catalyst for further expansion
MARCH 2012 • The African Business Journal
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It was the early optimism and youthful brio
Blue sky thinking
of a start-up company that Rudi Van Schalkwyk
Although the concept of leasing differs from con-
believes has been pivotal in the company’s good
ventional airline businesses, Solenta’s philoso-
fortune. “Over the years we have kept on add-
phy is, in many ways, modelled along similar lines
ing to the fleet, and explored several different
to premier commercial airlines. Maintenance,
ventures in other African countries,” he explains.
training, crewing and operations all concentrate
“Our focus has mainly been on the oil and aid
on world-class service levels of availability, safety
industries, and today we operate 39 aircraft.”
and dispatch.
Since then it has developed extensively as a
Consequently, Solenta Aviation has become
leader in aviation leasing solutions, forming rela-
a clear market leader in the niche of specialised
tionships with clients and providing comprehen-
all-inclusive aviation leasing solution. Providing
sive support, exquisitely presented aircraft and
a first-class service is the primary focus of the
devoted crews. Indeed, the company has become
people at Solenta and the multi-faceted staff
a truly global and hugely respected enterprise.
have a wealth of experience in aviation, and are
TRANSPORT • Solenta Aviation
hand-selected for their excellent track records in
the industry. The different skill sets and histories
says Van Schalkwyk.
During the last decade Solenta has built up
among the employees ensures that all the attri-
an enviable portfolio of clients. Notably DHL and
butes required for the managing and maintaining
the Red Cross from Geneva. It also boasts an
of a variety of aircraft are in place.
impressive list of oil company partnerships such
Even with the backdrop of a global economic
as Anadarko, BP and BHP Billiton.
crisis the company has been able to gain stability. The reliability and trust that the company has
Safe bet
engendered over the years means that its main
In the aviation industry technology changes
blue-chip clients have remained loyal.
rapidly and Solenta is always waiting in the wings
“Our success, even during turbulent times,
is the result of two major factors; our incredibly
ready to embrace change.
“The main priority when your business is
experienced and resourceful staff and the lu-
located at 30,000 ft, is safety. A lot of technology
crative partnerships that we have established,”
has been introduced into aircraft to make them
MARCH 2012 • The African Business Journal
entities) is part of our drive to become fully autonomous in our clients’ environments, thereby
satisfying the requirement of local aviation
Satellite operations in Africa are well-supported by Solenta’s head office personnel, who have
control of several bases. Each base within the
operation is equipped to provide aircraft, flight
crew and maintenance personnel.
The company continues to pride itself on
providing a high quality service throughout Africa,
the Middle East or anywhere in the world at very
high standards, with the main focus continuing to
be the customers.
The expansion programme will continue as
safer, like call systems, upgrades on aircraft
this formidable company continues to build on
equipment and the increasingly sophisticated
the solid foundations of the last few years.
training of pilots,” adds Van Schalkwyk.
Solenta is prepared to operate anywhere
“We’ll be looking at world economies, and
then secondly, at the demands of new customers
in Africa or the sub-continent, having con-
and existing clients, to ensure progress contin-
ducted business in Libreville, Gabon, Abidjan,
ues,” concludes Van Schalkwyk.
Cote D’Ivoire, Lome, Togo, Dakar, Senegal,
With business still soaring and regular addi-
Nairobi and Lokichoggio, Kenya, Harare, Zim-
tions made to its impressive fleet, it’s fair to say that
babwe, Monrovia, Liberia, Khartoum, Sudan,
for Solenta, the sky really is the limit. TAB
Hassi Messaoud, Algeria, Peshawar, Pakistan,
Abeche and N’djamena, Chad, Amman, Jordan,
Kabul and Afghanistan.
The establishment of Solenta companies
in African counties (inclusive of AOC and AMO