Roger Büchner, Cat Air Service’s CEO discusses the future of the company and the importance of first impressions.
What was your career path to your current role?
I started in business aviation in 2000 at Jet Aviation as a handling agent. I became a shift leader in 2003. After that in 2008 I was the assistant manager at the company, until July 2014 when I quit because it got sold to a US company.
Cat Air Service was founded in 2014 between Cat Aviation and Air Service Basel as a joint venture. My old boss became the CEO of Cat Air Service in spring 2014 and I started in November 2014. Then in 2017 I took over as the CEO.
What are the best and less favorable elements of your job?
I love this job, I wouldn’t have been in it for 22 years if I didn’t. Sometimes you have a lot of stress and sometimes you have a lot to do. But there is nothing I really dislike.
Can you describe a typical day?
Every single day is different and very interesting. I especially like it when we have large events happening. Those events are very stressful, but also very rewarding.
I like the running around and despite being the CEO, I’m still doing some handling and loading baggage. I’m not a boss who is just sitting behind his desk — I like to speak with the customers. That’s really important, especially speaking to the crews, because 80% of the time it’s the crews that will decide which handling company they are going to use again, it’s not only the passengers. We see the passengers for maybe two or three minutes and you don’t talk to them much. But if the crew likes us, they will normally decide to use us again.
How do you stand out from your competitors?
It’s important to make a good impression every time a customer comes in. I have a small team so I know my people very well and I know our customers very well too. That means they come straight over to us because they know that we will provide a good service. My team know what they are doing — they have a lot of experience. That is where we stand out from our competitors. My team all speak German too, which is important in Zurich. When you have German and Austrian passengers and crews, they want to speak German and not only English.
What does the future hold for Cat Air Service?
That’s difficult to answer because you never know what is going to happen, take the pandemic for instance. But we are getting more Zurich-based customers and some big companies are interested in using our services now.
Our best years were 2021 and 2022 after the pandemic and the plan is to continue from that and expand.
Currently we have 12 people working here. I like to keep the company quite small as I think it produces good customer service. It means customers always see the same people and they know the people by name. I think soon I will have to employ one or two more people though to keep our service at this level.