HIGH-FLYER

Panama 2017 | TRANSPORT & MARITIME | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Hugo H. Guiraud V., President of MAPIEX, on its VIP services, ensuring international safety standards, and growing its operations.

Hugo H. Guiraud V
BIOGRAPHY
Hugo H. Guiraud V. is a Panamanian airline transport pilot and businessman. He founded MAPIEX Group in 1981 and has been an influential figure in Panama’s aviation industry ever since.

MAPIEX has managed to close the last few years with solid growth. What are the main factors that drove that growth?

MAPIEX continues to grow year after year, thanks to our market understanding as well as our relationship with both suppliers and customers. Trust is the main element in these relationships and has enabled us to work with some of the most important aviation companies around the world. As a company, we do our best to stay updated with our clients' demands and continuously restructure our organization and services to comply with their needs.

Can you elaborate on your services?

We have different business segments; we sell airplanes and helicopters from top brands such as Beechcraft, Cessna, Viking, and Airbus Helicopters. We also cover aviation spare parts and have the most important lines of engines and spare parts, such as Pratt and Whitney and SAFRAN HE for aircraft and helicopters. Additionally, we provide aviation services in eight airports in Panama. The main services provided include charter flights, aircraft repair service, ground handling, fueling, and crew and passenger VIP services. Today, we manage 73% of all international corporate air traffic in Panama. Even though we are based in Panama, we have also provided complete ground handling services in 10 airports in Cuba since January 2016. One of our main strengths in Cuba is that we serve some of the most important international companies operating in the country by providing services such as ground handling, fueling, hotel reservations, and transport coordination, among others. We could sum ourselves up as being a one-stop shop for VIP services.

Which are the main destinations that you service within the country with Skymaxx?

Skymaxx has a complete fleet of airplanes and helicopters with different specifications, which allows us to adjust to our clients' needs. Our customers use our airplanes or helicopters to fly to remote parts of the country, main cities, or specific areas of their interest. In this context, one of our main strengths is our flexibility due to our variety of aircraft. Most of our flights are business-related within Panama, but we also provide aircraft for tourism or vacation purposes.

How much do you invest in maintenance and in ensuring international safety standards?

As a company, we are committed to delivering high quality and safety standards throughout continuously revised and certified processes. We take pride in our excellent safety record and we keep working to make it better everyday for each one of our services. As an advantage, we have a certified repair shop and we also represent some of the top manufacturers in the aviation industry, which give us a direct connection with the factories; therefore, it makes us work at the required international standards.

What is your strategy to further expand your business operations?

We use our knowledge and experience in the industry to look into opportunities to expand our operations in the region and with our customers and suppliers. For example, we are working with the French company SAFRAN on new and better features for our distribution network. We believe there is a great deal to do at the regional level in terms of distribution and coverage.

What are your top priorities for 2017?

Right now, we are working on ensuring a stronger company by getting ISO certified, among other safety certifications, which will leverage on our capacities, as well as strengthening our position at the international level. In the meantime, we keep adding more value to the services we currently provide.