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SkyUp utilises AeroProfessional’s executive search service for a successful  COO hire

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SkyUp is a Ukrainian private airline that started flying in 2018. Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the airline underwent a strategic shift by diversifying its services to include ACMI and charter flights across Europe and all over the world . In line with this transformative journey, SkyUp sought the expertise of an executive search specialist to hire a seasoned Chief Operations Officer (COO) to support them with this transition.


Since its founding, SkyUp has been on an upwards trajectory, becoming one of the largest air carriers in Ukraine. However, due to the ongoing conflict with Russia, the airline had to change its operational activities. As a result, SkyUp made the decision to relocate to Europe where it successfully launched flights under wet leasing contracts and started charter flights for tour operators, football clubs, non-state specialised organisations, charitable foundations, and more. In May 2023, SkyUp MT airline obtained a Maltese AOC, enabling the carrier to effectively fulfil wet leasing contracts, and set the stage for future regular flights from Europe. Throughout its tenure in the European market, the airline has proven itself as a reliable partner. However, subsequent to this success, it needed to hire a COO with experience in the European market to help fulfil its business goals.


AeroProfessional is an aviation recruitment consultancy with specialist executive search and selection expertise. With extensive industry experience and a successful track record in senior placements, AeroProfessional has established a strong reputation for building exceptional leadership teams on behalf of airlines and aviation businesses worldwide.


AeroProfessional and SkyUp formed a partnership to jointly search and select a suitable COO to help the airline with their new business ventures in Europe. This project was unprecedented for SkyUp, and the airline counted on AeroProfessional’s expertise and guidance in finding a qualified COO who would help them establish a successful business plan, and facilitate SkyUp’s growth.


Once SkyUp had communicated their expectations and requirements for the COO role, AeroProfessional promptly began to delve into its extensive C-level network, and reach out to both active and passive candidates who aligned with the specific role requirements. A key criterion for the successful candidate was comprehensive experience in the European ACMI market, and familiarity with the current European regulations and conditions.


Aside from their internal executive level network, AeroProfessional wanted to ensure that the role received maximum exposure to attract potential senior candidates from their wider candidate community too. To achieve this, with SkyUp’s approval, AeroProfessional conducted marketing campaigns to advertise the role and its benefits to a broader audience. 


AeroProfessional’s executive search specialists initiated the interview process quickly and efficiently, carefully identifying candidates whose skills and knowledge met SkyUp’s requirements for the COO position. In addition, they examined each candidate’s experience to ensure alignment with SkyUp's corporate culture and values. 


After the marketing campaigns concluded, AeroProfessional selected the candidates who best fit the COO role, based on their industry knowledge, skill set, and ACMI experience in European markets. The shortlisted candidates went on to meet with SkyUp’s team who then selected their preferred candidate.


AeroProfessional was instrumental in not only sharing its market knowledge and using its headhunting expertise to search and select the best suited COO candidates for SkyUp, but also in streamlining the recruitment process, and optimising their executive search for maximum results.


SkyUp saw a great benefit in AeroProfessional’s guidance and support in understanding the intricacies of the European market, and the leadership qualities needed for their COO hire to navigate through it. AeroProfessional was successful in finding a candidate whose skills and experience aligned with SkyUp’s new business objectives.


Throughout the consultation phase, it became evident that SkyUp is a remarkable airline with very skilled personnel. They wanted to enhance this talent by securing a senior C-Level executive with European AOC experience to support and guide them through the airline's expansion into this new market. Having supported many airlines with their specialist C-Level recruitment over the past 20 years, we had the ideal experience and network to secure the perfect match for both client and candidate.

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Rob Parker
Sales Manager at 


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We sincerely appreciate the collaboration with AeroProfessional for their impeccable professionalism and reliability. It was a great and fruitful experience that we're extremely satisfied with. Building a team can be a challenge, and Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine made it even more so. We transformed our activities, obtained a European operator's certificate, and scaled our operations globally. Thus, we've demonstrated through actions that we can be trusted, while AeroProfessional helped us pick the right people. It was our first experience of its kind, and, in our belief, it was a perfect match, with every effort worth pursuing.

Kira Soldatova

People & Transformation, Head of Talent Acquisition at SkyUp

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