Updated: Mar 22, 2022
A talk with Abeona International founder, Shadi Shaafi
Private aviation, including charter flights, has long been the preferred style of travel for those seeking comfort, convenience, and luxury that commercial airlines simply cannot provide. With the changes brought about by COVID-19 and the resultant regulatory shifts, the future of private aviation is brighter than ever before.
At the forefront of this movement from commercial flight to private is Abeona.
Shadi Shaafi, the founder of the cutting-edge company, is no stranger to the industry. Previously the Director of Sales and Client Services for Flightpath Charter Airways, Shaafi quickly rose within the industry, ultimately spearheading Abeona and devising its strategic growth.
Shaafi took a moment to not only tell us about the origins of Abeona but also explain what makes it special and unique while diving into the exciting future ahead.
A Q&A With Abeona’s Shadi Shaafi
Why did you start Abeona in the first place? Was there a sudden moment of epiphany that there was something missing in the aviation market, or was this a gap you noticed over time and knew you could create a solution?
“My first job in private aviation pretty much had me hooked. I immediately fell in love with the industry. I noticed pretty quickly there were some areas in Canadian private aviation that could be improved, and of course, there seemed to be some missed opportunities, too, that it didn’t seem anyone was pursuing at the time. Better, more personalized client services that were smooth and streamlined were foremost among these missed opportunities”.
So, you saw a gap here. But what does a company like Abeona International do (or rather, what were you thinking a company like Abeona could do) to bridge that gap?
“I knew that with commitment and a lot of hard work, there were ways to address these shortcomings, including discounted options that cater to both regular and irregular travelers. Empty leg flights, jet sharing, and flight pairing are just a few examples of possible solutions.
I wanted to start a company that could fill the obvious gaps and provide these services. In doing so, I would be streamlining the Canadian private aviation market and bringing it to the same level present in the USA. So, I assembled my dream team and started the journey of achieving this vision right as COVID-19 hit”.
You just mentioned COVID-19, which makes us automatically think about challenges. What unique challenges did Abeona face early on?
“It’s no secret that we launched Abeona at perhaps the worst possible time to start a business, smack dab in the height of the pandemic. And this was especially true for a business related to aviation and travel when neither of these things were on solid footing at the time.
We could not have predicted the impact of the pandemic nor the success we have experienced despite it”.
But you made it through the height of the pandemic. How did that happen?
“There’s no denying that our fantastic clients are at the heart of that success, as they supported us and recommended our team to their friends, family, and colleagues. Without their continued support, we would not have improved as rapidly as we have, and we are extremely grateful for the role they have played in Abeona International taking off.
We are more motivated than ever to continue expanding our services and helping our clients’ lives easier. Even with new international travel regulations making the logistics a massive headache, we have seen our numbers go up and the industry as a whole experience major growth. While it is impossible to predict the future, we feel as though there is potential for the industry to become more streamlined and private aviation to gain even more traction as a legitimate, desirable alternative to commercial travel”.
It seems that the future of private aviation is just as bright as you might have predicted. What do you see specifically in Abeona’s future?
“I see an emphasis placed on convenience, control, and comfort. We know that everyone has a commercial flight horror story. From arriving several hours before your flight to unforeseen delays and cancellations, the challenges of commercial travel are well documented. Private aviation addresses these issues and offers a streamlined alternative.
With private aviation, you can show up 20 minutes before the flight and avoid the majority of the red tape associated with commercial flights. As if that isn’t enough, you also get to avoid the overcrowding of commercial airports, enjoy a personalized flight experience, and travel with a more flexible schedule. For most people, private aviation is everything they wish commercial flight was.
I think this is a big part of why our team is growing so quickly and why more people are choosing private aviation. The future is bright for Abeona and the private aviation industry. With an emphasis on ensuring maximum health and safety, as well as premium customer service, the sky is the limit for growth in this sector. We are proud of what we have accomplished and ecstatic about what the future holds with plans for expansion into exciting new services like yachting charters and beyond”.
Shaafi has spent years in the private aviation industry and has grown more passionate about providing customers with comfort, luxury, and convenience with each passing moment. If you want to learn more about Abeona or get in touch with Shadi, feel free to reach out via the Abeona website or her LinkedIn profile to keep up with the latest on her endeavors with Abeona.