Simon Wagstaff – Asia Business Aviation and VIP Security
Established in 1999, to say that history is important to The ASA Group would be an understatement. For this reason, we would like to regularly share some of the stories that made us what we are today. This one comes from an interview back in 2009 featuring our very own Simon Wagstaff.
Sky’s The Limit – The ASA Story
ASA Group Founder and Chairman Simon P. Wagstaff arrived in Thailand from Manila in 2001 and set up a one-man operation, Airground Services (Asia) Limited (ASA) in Bangkok’s Don Mueng Airport, on the back of his S5 Consulting vip security start-up company. Informed by his British Army background and Hong Kong and Philippines commercial security experience under his belt, he has successfully built up one of the Asia Pacific region’s leading elite travel, security and aviation service companies, with offices in six countries, operations in over 20 countries and over 500 airports throughout the Asia Pacific region.
With a total of over 40 years experience in the security sector, the last 26 of which have been vip security in Asia, Wagstaff is one of the region’s key players. He says:
‘The chair of any small business making the transition to a larger enterprise will know what I mean when I say finding the right way for ASA to grow has taken real care and attention. As the company has grown, it has been increasingly established in the region and we have enjoyed significant numbers of long-term, repeat and referral clients. Ensuring we stay true to our core values has become my mantra: attention to detail, customer-oriented service driven by expectations and anticipation of client requirements, and simply ensuring we are the best at what we do, where we do it. This is why in 2008 I said that I think the company will easily ride the global recession, which anyway looks like it will just be a blip in the rapidly expanding private aviation sector here.’
The Group at that time had seen a business downturn (some 10-20 per cent) in the aviation sector as a result of the then current global economics but has actually reported overall growth particularly in its vip security sector. Wagstaff admits he keeps a close eye on factors such as fuel price volatility, to determine their impact on business. Growing demand for ASA’s services in the Asia Pacific region has even prompted the company to branch out into jet charter, luxury concierge services, and aircraft sales & acquisitions.
Local expertise earned by living and working in Asia, including the Middle East, is what has enabled Wagstaff to build up such a solid company presence and reputation in this part of the world. His genuine love of the region is shared by most of ASA’s senior executives and also reflected in the fact that Wagstaff sat on the board of a Cambodia based anti-slavery and trafficking charity. As The ASA Group grows, Wagstaff is clear about one thing – his personal and professional passion for the people and places of Asia will always remain.
Principles to Live By
While some things change, some remain constant. Simon still makes great effort to give back to others – in order to raise funds for Commando, Airborne, EOD and other Veteran’s Charities he will attempt to climb Mount Everest in 2019. At 8,850 meters (29,035 feet), Everest takes anywhere from six to nine weeks to climb. That’s no easy feat! Simon will train intensely over the next 2-3 years in order to prepare for this in spring 2019.
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