Back to newsBack to news  |  3rd June 2024

Having spent his early career in banking, Colin Williams was intrigued by the world of travel.  With a passion for people and a gift for developing relationships, Colin soon found his way out of the financial world and into the world of aviation sales.

“I was young, and travel seemed exciting and fun.  By the 90’s I had moved to Unijet, where I really developed a passion and interest for aviation,” Colin explains.

“Working within sales provided a great platform for me to reach out to lots of people.  I was much more comfortable in my role as Business Development – on the road, meeting customers, learning about their businesses, and this then leaded me into aviation at Viking Aviation, predominantly finding aviation solutions to support Tour Operator programmes.  I really enjoyed the complexity, variety and, most of all, fostering new relationships.”

Colin later joined Monarch Airline’s charter division, which was where he first brushed shoulders with Skytrail business partner, Neil Conley.  With extensive, but complementary industry knowledge between them, it seemed natural to combine forces and branch out on their own when Monarch decided to move away from charter sales.

“Leaving Monarch Airlines in December 2015, I saw a great opportunity to start my own business,” Colin continues. “With Monarch Airlines wishing to move away from charters and selling committed seats to the trade, the door was wide open for someone to start a business doing exactly what the market still required.”

Birth of Skytrail

With Neil’s expertise in processes and ATOL license on the travel side, combined with Colin’s sales acumen and extensive contact list, the pair secured a contract with Lithuanian carrier, Small Planet Airlines, to support the tourism trade with seat capacity ring-fenced for their programmes.

Colin says: “At the time, small operators were struggling to get hold of seat capacity – especially for packages to Greece. We brought Small Planet Airlines to the UK to trade on a wholesale basis and support independent tour operators.”

Building strong relationships

Family is a great motivator for Colin.  But equally, he is driven by passion, meeting new people, and building relationships underpinned by mutual trust, respect, and business integrity.

“Everything I do revolves around relationships, whether it’s relationships with staff or airlines, tour operators or cruise companies. The whole business is built around these relationships. At the end of the day, it’s my responsibility to maintain these and continually create new ones – that’s what I love doing.”

Inspiring excellence

As a boss, Colin believes in trust and respect for staff, allowing them to get on with their job – without too much interference – to instil confidence and pride in what they can, and do, achieve.

“We may be a small business, but we have purposely secured the best people from across the industry to develop and take us forward.  We constantly progress and improve our systems; there is a real hunger among the whole team to be ‘the best’. With this in mind, we have just launched a new website which is the first step in improving our profile  with the trade across the UK & Europe.”

Colin remains confident in Skytrail’s agility, resilience, and long-term sustainability as a business. “Our aim is to be the best we can be. My role is to ensure we stay at the forefront of this market and support our suppliers and operators as much as possible to make their mutual programmes successful and profitable.

“I’ve been fortunate to find a great business partner in Neil, who complements my strengths. Together we have a real passion for what we do and drive each other to be the best we can as we move towards Skytrail becoming the market leader in what we do,” he concludes.

Connect with Colin on LinkedIn