2019: The Year in Review

2019 was, for some, the last year of the second decade of the new millennium. For those of us at eJet, it was the year in which we celebrated our 20th anniversary and that was something to celebrate!

We will talk about the celebrations in 2019 and the year itself in due course, but first, let’s take a few moments to reflect on the previous nineteen years.

Few start-up companies survive the first year but we did.

In those early days a friend advised me to be prepared for sleepless nights, and another said that one writes a lot of letters and make a lot of phone calls to prospective clients in the first year of business – with very little result.

In the second year of business, they start to call you back.

In the third year, clients call you from out of the blue.

All of this was true. Now, we receive enquiries from all over the world on a weekly basis.

However, we have never been complacent, and it is vitally important to ensure that the phone does ring – it will not ring of its own accord. We are social media-active, we attend and speak at conferences, we keep in contact with previous clients, we make contact with new clients whenever possible and we participate in the industry to be best of our abilities through involvement with JIG, EI and IATA.

Being a small, nimble, company means that we are able to move in a more dynamic way than the larger consultancies (indeed it often frustrates us when we have to interact with them), but suits our clients very well because they can rely on a prompt response.

We are fiercely independent, never having relied on finance from any external entity, no mean feat over 20 years – we are not beholden to or answerable to any other organisation. Therefore the advice that we give our clients is truly impartial and is not contingent upon, or linked to, such things as fuel supply deals or strategic positioning in other ways. We do often see conflicts of interest occurring (working on one side of the table on one day, and the other on the next day) – and we keep a healthy distance away.

Back to 1999 in Hong Kong, and fresh from his success with the “flawless” opening of the aviation fuel system at the then-new Hong Kong International Airport, John saw a lot of potential in the Asia-Pacific region – new airports, burgeoning air travel, and an entrepreneurial spirit. He did not want to go back to London and fly a desk there.

It was with some trepidation but with considerable enthusiasm and pluck, that eJet was born as a one-stop shop for expertise in the design and engineering of Aviation Fuel at airports. We dropped the one-stop shop cliché a long time ago, but over the course of time have rolled out the expert offering of fuel farm business transformation – leveraging on our unique expertise with Open Access fuel supply.

Whilst some other organisations may claim Open Access amongst their credentials, John was singularly instrumental in its successful implementation in Hong Kong (the airlines paid no more for fuel when the new airport opened compared with at the previous Kai Tak airport – yet had all the benefits of a modern and fit for purpose $250 million fuel system). And so nobody else can claim this experience in knowing how to make it work.

Our journey from 1999 has involved some of the most interesting projects imaginable – from working for the oil company consortium at Manila International Airport on a new fuel farm and pipeline project, through the new greenfield airport in Bangalore and designing Open Access there and in Delhi, designing hydrant system extensions in Singapore, supply chain optimisation in Hong Kong, asset condition assessment in Dubai, preparing the technical and commercial requirements for Open Access in Dublin, to inspecting all the civil airports in Saudi Arabia on behalf of the government – every project has been different, challenging, and we have added a truly independent value to our clients.

We have been based in the UK since 2006, and we work out of modern offices on a nondescript industrial estate. In our case, the location does not matter because from it we can be in Central London in 2 hours and can get to Heathrow Airport in under 3 hours – which means (as has often been the case) that we can be in a prospective client’s office the next morning, protecting their interests, mitigating their risk and adding value.

However, more than anything else, we are what John intended back in 1999 – to be a full-service company staffed with professionals current in the industry, and belonging and contributing to the key industry bodies.

Not surprisingly, the industry has changed considerably in the past 20 years. No longer do the fuel supply chains belong to the major oil companies. The airlines have wanted choice, but it has come with a consequence – supply chains are now fragmented and many different parties (with varying levels of expertise and technical back-up) come and go from different parts of these chains with little commitment from either the buy side or the sell side. This does mean that there is an ever-growing demand for our services because few can offer the longevity and credentials that we can.Technical Fuel Farm

The most significant change in recent times is the push towards SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel).

We have amassed a considerable amount of expertise with SAF. As this becomes mainstream, we are very well-positioned to help clients as they transition into the arena where jet fuel will come from a variety of sources on any given day.

With all of this in mind, 2019 was a very exciting year, and one in which we continued to grow. Having completed 8 projects during the year and worked on another 6 long-term projects (the longest term of which started in 2013 and is at Changi International Airport in Singapore), we have proven capacity and boundless energy. From Colombia to India, from Iceland to Oman we have worked across the globe in 2019.

We are now looking forward to the next 20 years. It is probable that John will not be at the helm then, but we would hope that some new, interested talent will emerge to take on the challenges which eJet will undoubtedly rise to.


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