My Week: Adam Twidell of PrivateFly

The founder of the online private jet booking network on flying planes to Venice, hiring a chairman, and not working too hard.

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013
On Mondays, I try to get into the office as early as possible. Luckily, I’ve got a five-year-old alarm clock who wakes me up - so as soon as he’s awake, I try to get up and out of the house. I aim to get to the office for 6.30 to try and catch up before everyone else arrives about nine o’clock. We had a new guy start last week, so I had to spend a fair amount of the day lecturing him on private jets.  Poor chap.

We’re looking for a new chairman at the moment, because our current one’s had to step down. So I spent Tuesday explaining to potential candidates what PrivateFly is and outlining what we want to do over the next couple of years.  Our office is based in St Albans and fortunately I don’t live too far away, so walking only takes me about half an hour. That said, I scooter in – although not so much during the heavy snow.  

I do work long days but I have two children, which makes me conscious about not working too hard.  When you’re starting a business it’s quite easy to dedicate your life to it – that’s what I’d be doing if I didn’t have kids, for sure. But having five and six-year-olds forces me to take a break. At weekends I like to play rugby.  I should be giving up at my age but I’m still hanging in there. It’s a great release from the stress of the working week.

On Wednesday, I spent the day at London City airport.  There’s a really underused runway in the private jet hub at Northolt – it has so much potential but is underutilised.  We brought our two wing commanders from RAF Northolt to London City and we spent the day trying to come up with some new ideas on how we can increase the service at Northolt for the private jets which land there.  I got back from the airport at 5pm, and I did think about going to the office after – but in the end decided to stay at home with the kids and build a train set.

On Thursday my alarm went off at five and by 20 past I was in a taxi on my way to a meeting. I got a 6.30 flight to Belfast City airport to pick up the jet I was flying. Although PrivateFly is an online private jet booking service, and doesn’t own the aircrafts itself, as an ex-pilot I occasionally like to fly myself. Having arrived at Belfast, I flew to Leeds to pick up the three passengers I was taking to Venice. I’m in Venice now, and will probably stay here till Saturday afternoon. I’ll be working all day on Friday in my hotel room, though – no viewing the city’s sights for me. I’ve got a Skype meeting with my web development team in India, who are helping to redesign our website.  

It’s a busy time for the company, but we’re hoping Christmas will be a quiet one this year.

Adam Twidell is the founder of online private jet booking network PrivateFly.

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