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View from the cockpit

Release date:
June 2023
Lars Schmidt at the door of an airplane
Lars Schmidt, captain at Eisele Flugdienst and co-founder of Global Fuel Service on juggling his responsibilities as a business owner and commercial pilot. 

How long have you been a commercial pilot and what inspired you to start your own business? 

My background was originally in banking, but I had an interest in aviation and achieved my private pilot’s licence (PPL) in 1992. Soon after I upgraded to instrument rating and then my commercial pilot licence. I started working as a commercial pilot in 1995 and joined Eisele Flugdienst in 1997. The latter has a fleet of primarily Citation jets including two Citation Sovereign jets and is one of the largest business jet charter operators based in Stuttgart, where Air bp offers fuelling services through the dedicated General Aviation Terminal. I currently fly as a captain and line training captain for the company, which is owned by Christian Eisele and his father Alfred. I started Global Fuel Service as a sideline business with my co-founder, Christian, more than 20 years ago to offer fuel tendering services for Eisele Flugdienst. Then, in 2011 we decided to open Global Fuel Service to a wider customer base and offer fuel pricing support to other aircraft owners and operators. Clients pay a monthly fee for our services, which also include after sales support.

What does a typical Global Fuel Service customer look like?

The majority of our customers are from Germany, but we also have customers in Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Poland. We cater for individual aircraft owners and pilots, as well as small business jet operators with up to 5 aircraft in their fleet and we also provide our services to commercial business jet operators such as Eisele Flugdienst as well as German corporations and international companies. Currently, we cover approximately 140 airfields in Europe, but we are always able to add new locations to our network, also on customer request. 

How do you benefit from your working relationship with Air bp?

We have a great relationship with Stefan Klenke and the team at Air bp and have worked with the business as a fuel supplier for many years, both with Eisele Flugdienst and Global Fuel Service.    


Are you seeing demand for SAF pricing?

We haven’t seen loads yet and the demand we have seen is for the larger business jet operators. At the moment, the higher cost of SAF compared to fossil jet fuel is prohibiting its wider uptake. However, I hope to see SAF prices come down over the next few years and then I think we will see increasing interest from customers. Certainly, as a business jet charter operator, Eisele Flugdienst is receiving more enquiries about SAF availability and when Christian attended Aero Friedrichshafen in April he refuelled with SAF supplied by Air bp. 


How do you juggle your different roles and responsibilities?

It’s actually totally manageable, because so long as I have access to the internet and my mobile or a laptop, I can run Global Fuel Service from everywhere in the world. My son also works for the business, so there’s always someone available if Christian or I are flying.  


Would you consider giving up flying to concentrate fully on Global Fuel Service?

I have had my pilot’s licence for more than 30 years and have been flying as a professional pilot for 28 years. It’s what I love and I’m incredibly lucky I can combine my passion with my career. Global Fuel Service is a successful sideline business and it’s a service I enjoy providing to others. But I couldn’t see myself ever giving up flying for a full-time desk job! 


For more customer interviews, please click here.