The Astra Aviation Story to December 2022

The Astra Aviation team in Lagos

With Astra Aviation’s financial year flying in line with the calendar year, January is obviously a great month for me to review our business.

Astra Aviation was created with the intention to provide outsourced station management to passenger airlines in Africa. In the early years we also did some consultancy work, and then started supporting cargo airlines with flight supervision on an ad hoc basis. That led us to establishing a presence in Luanda, Angola where our business grew into the provision of passenger handling and ramp supervision as well as cargo flight support.

Covid brought an end to the passenger handling work and Astra started 2022 as a pure provider of trip support and flight supervision services across Africa to private operators, as well as commercial passenger and cargo airlines. However, towards the end of 2022, a passenger airline that was a former ad hoc customer, asked us to provide station management to their two aircraft based in Lagos Nigeria, so we have finally achieved what the company was set up to provide.

We have been fortunate enough through the in-between times to have learnt new skills and gained fantastic experiences along the way (and some not so fantastic!). With the Astra management team all coming from commercial passenger airline backgrounds, learning the freighter and private aviation businesses, we had to adapt and learn quickly, but with that we have been able to build up a great database of airport operators, CAAs, suppliers and pricing across Africa.

In the more recent years Astra Aviation has been using FBO One as it’s software to manage the pricing database, contacts, provide quotes, produce invoices, and manage our day-to-day business. Using FBO One has been transformational in the efficiency that it has brought to our business.

In November 2022 we created our 10,000th order which gave me the opportunity to look at the statistics for the business whilst we have been using FBO One.

We have had 8,639 actual aircraft movements recorded in the system across 90 airports in 50 countries which is pretty impressive as we focus on Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands and there are only 54 African states. Thanks to the scheduled handling business that we used to have in Luanda, that is the airport where we have had most movements, followed by Kigali in Rwanda, Lagos Nigeria, Abidjan in Cote D’Ivoire and Conakry Guinea.

We have provided services to 190 different aircraft variants with the 747-400F being the most frequent followed by the 777 passenger aircraft variants. The aircraft were flown by 377 different operators with almost 705,000 passengers boarding the passenger aircraft.

Through this period, we invoiced 30.4 million USD through FBO One.

Astra Aviation could not have achieved this without the brilliant teams of colleagues who have worked with me over the years, with the majority of the management team now averaging over 10 years with Astra. I believe that experience and knowledge is what has helped us survive some challenging years, especially through Covid, and helped us retain some very loyal customers to whom we are very grateful.

As we go into our 19th year in 2023, we will move forward ready and willing to see what the new challenges and opportunities are, and as we are still a relatively small privately owned company, we are able to move swiftly and make very quick decisions when the occasion requires it.

The Astra Aviation team would not exist without our customers and our partners, so this is an opportunity for me to say thank you to all of them as well and wish everyone in the aviation community and their families a happy, healthy, and peaceful new year.