Thierry Tea and the importance of innovation

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The French-Cambodian expatriate (second from left) with GrabTaxi ambassadors Solenn Heussaff and Mikaela Martinez

The French-Cambodian expatriate (second from left) with GrabTaxi ambassadors Solenn Heussaff and Mikaela Martinez

For French-Cambodian Thierry Tea, founder and chief executive officer of aviation enterprise PhilJets Group, innovation is vital in his company’s aim to provide outstanding experiences for their clientele.

In an exclusive interview with The Manila Times, the expatriate businessman disclosed that for some time now, PhilJets has been working hard in incorporating digital technology for their aviation services.

“We wanted to have a digital presence that is why we were thinking of developing our own e-commerce platform. However, to be successful in this venture, we realized it is better to partner first with an entity that is an expert in the field. We were already in discussion with some groups from Europe, but then we saw that there were possible partners in the Philippines,” Tea explained.

PhilJet’s chief executive was referring to start-up tech companies that offer alternative modes of transportation in the country. After talks with various brands, he struck a deal with GrabTaxi.


“Since we are a startup ourselves, we were happy to partner with another startup company in GrabTaxi. I hope that [together]we will be able to provide topnotch experiences to Filipinos and foreigners in the Philippines via GrabHeli,” Tea noted.

GrabHeli, as the name connotes, offers helicopter rides. The highly modern service was launched on November 24 at the WCC Hangar in Pasay City.

Available via the GrabTaxi mobile application and paid through the GrabPay credit card payment system, GrabHeli is currently on its three-month beta testing period. Although still in the thick of software development, a customer can already book a flight for P3,888 per head from Makati City, Bonifacio Global City and Pasay City to Manila Domestic Airport and vice versa. (“GrabHeli offers solution to Metro traffic,” The Manila Times, November 25)

As GrabHeli intends to beat Metro Manila’s worsening traffic, Tea believes that with its current price point, anyone can avail of the service. He said, “It can really be anybody [who can afford the service]I would say. Basically people who want to save time or who have very important business meetings, or even family gatherings are potential clients.”

And since GrabHeli can especially transport customer to and from the airport, Tea highly recommends businessmen like him to take advantage of the service. “If they miss their flights from traffic, losing a business opportunity will probably cost them more than the cost of a helicopter ride.”

With the state of Metro Manila traffic seeing no solution any time soon, Tea is optimistic on a “long-term partnership” with GrabTaxi.

“This is not just a marketing stint,” he assured.

As such, PhilJets is actively on the lookout for additional helipads they can utilize because while there are already a number of existing locations in Metro Manila, only a few are regulated by aviation bodies.

Tea said, “We work only with regulated ones because we want to be sure that everything is safe. That is why we only have a few points at the moment.

“It’s not an easy business. Margins are very thin because we have to respect and comply with international safety standards. For a credible company, it’s very challenging but that’s what we want to be,” he concluded.

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