Découvrez l'historique de Clair Group, groupe aéronautique français qui recrute !




    The birth of AIR ET COMPAGNIE

    The adventure began in 2004 when Charles Clair was a young volunteer instructor working for the Boulogne Billancourt Aero-Club at the Saint-Cyr l’Ecole airfield.

    He decided to leave this association to become a business manager and launch his private pilot school, with the goal to create a “high-end” segment, specific to a demanding clientele. The initial concept of this school was based on 3 fundamentals:

    – modern planes (the fleet of French tourist planes was over 35 years old at the time),

    – professional instructors dedicated to customer training,

    – a real “Service” tailored to the training goal.

    Charles Clair then decides to name his pilot school “AIR ET COMPAGNIE” in homage to Christian Zimmer. In fact, in 1996, Christian Zimmer had created a small aerial work company dedicated to the activity of radio relay by plane for international cycling courses called “AIR ET COMPAGNIE”. This company aimed to provide a first professional experience to young pilots leaving professional training. Charles Clair was the last pilot hired by Christian Zimmer just before his death in 2003.

    To launch his activity, Charles Clair invested an initial capital of only € 2,000 and set up shop at Toussus le Noble airport in the Paris region by renting 2 offices of 9 sqm.


    The start of a double professional activity

    Not losing sight of his initial goal, Charles Clair was hired in 2005 as a business aviation pilot by DARTA airline at Paris – Le Bourget airport but decided, in agreement with his new employer, to keep his young AIR ET COMPAGNIE flight school in parallel.


    The creation of the "Management / Operation" model on light aircraft

    Unable to finance new generation aircraft from its own funds to bring the initial concept to life, AIR ET COMPAGNIE then offered its recently patented customers the opportunity to purchase a new aircraft. 

    In order to amortize the cost of this purchase, AIR ET COMPAGNIE offers each owner a turnkey management of his aircraft against its rental for the benefit of the flight school.

    AIR ET COMPAGNIE thus draws up a “Win / Win” contract. This is the birth of the first key to the brand’s success: the “Management / Operations” model.


    The beginnings of future development

    From 2007, many owner’s aircraft, of the Cirrus SR22 type, joined the AIR ET COMPAGNIE fleet. The flight school then became the first training center to have a modern 100% “Glass Cockpit” fleet. AIR ET COMPAGNIE then decides to employ new instructors and develop its reception capacities by renting 4 additional offices and numerous hangar places.


    A first step in real estate investment

    AIR ET COMPAGNIE, occupying the biggest part of the building it was renting, decided to purchase it. This 400 sqm office building on 2 levels, adjoining a 1500 sqm hangar, can then accommodate around twenty aircraft. A first step in real estate investment.


    A development towards helicopter operations

    Satisfied with its “Management / Operation” model with aiplanes, AIR ET COMPAGNIE extends its know-how to the helicopter business. 

    This is how Charles Clair met and then joined forces with Didier Gaudon to create a new subsidiary called AIR ET COMPAGNIE HELICOPTERE with initially a Robinson RH22 and a Robinson RH44.

    This fleet will grow rapidly with the arrival of other Robinson and Airbus type helicopters brought in by owner customers.


    The birth of ASTONJET airline

    In 2010, the emergence of a new range of jet aircraft called Very Light Jet (VLJ), becomes a real technological breakthrough that will redefine the contours of the private jet transportation business.

    Now passionate about entrepreneurship and with an experience acquired as a pilot in business aviation since 2005, first on Beechcraft 200 then on Dassault Falcon 50/900, Charles Clair then plans to take a new turn at his group by developing his own airline.

    This is the birth of ASTONJET, initially in exclusive partnership with the company DARTA, in which Charles Clair still flew as Captain. At the same time, AIR ET COMPAGNIE obtains an approval to extend its skills to the training of professional pilots on planes and helicopters.


    Air Operator Certificate and development of the ASTONJET fleet

    After 2 years of work and investments, ASTONJET obtains its Air Operator Certificate in February and then becomes an airline with a first Cessna Citation Mustang. 

    Several other aircraft were quickly integrated into the fleet that same year at the Paris – Le Bourget and Lyon – Bron bases.


    Creation of a maintenance activity and birth of CLAIR GROUP

    In order to optimize the operational use of its fleet of light aircraft, AIR ET COMPAGNIE is developing a new maintenance and airworthiness monitoring activity called AIR ET COMPAGNIE MAINTENANCE. Initially dedicated to the maintenance of its own aircraft, the workshop is also open to external customers.

    Faced with the development of his companies, Charles Clair decided to quit his job as Captain with DARTA to fully devote himself to his new entrepreneurial activities.

    The group is restructuring with the creation of a dedicated subsidiary for each activity, owned by a new management and support company: this is the birth of CLAIR GROUP, the parent company.


    New real estate investment in Toussus le Noble

    To meet its ambitions and prepare for the future, CLAIR GROUP buys a new building, next to the facilities previously acquired in 2008. This 1000 sqm hangar can accommodate around ten additional aircraft in order to support the continued growth of the AIR ET COMPANY fleet.


    Sale of AIR ET COMPAGNIE HELICOPTERE and development of the ASTON brand

    CLAIR GROUP is preparing for its international development and decides to refocus its activity on the airplane side by selling the company AIR ET COMPAGNIE HELICOPTERE to its partner Didier Gaudon, which will become PARIS HELICOPTERE.

    Like ASTONJET and in order to create a brand unit, CLAIR GROUP changes the corporate name of its other subsidiaries with the prefix “ASTON”, a contraction of the Anglo-Saxon term “Astonish” meaning “to surprise”:

    – AIR ET COMPAGNIE AVION becomes ASTONFLY: airplane pilot school,

    – AIR ET COMPAGNIE MAINTENANCE becomes ASTONTEC: aircraft maintenance center,

    – AIR ET COMPAGNIE SERVICES becomes ASTONSKY: airport services and assistance.


    CLAIR GROUP strengthens its development

    ASTONFLY is developing its skills in the training of airline pilots, deploying new premises at Toussus le Noble and increasing its number of instructors to now train more than 100 professional pilots per year in addition to leisure pilots.

    ASTONJET continues to develop its fleet with medium and long-haul aircraft, receives its first Cessna Citation Latitude and now operates more than 10 business aircraft.

    ASTONTEC becomes an approved maintenance center on behalf of the American manufacturer Cessna (Cessna Authorized Station Facilites) and develops its reputation with external customers.


    CLAIR GROUP invests in a terminal for ASTONSKY

    CLAIR GROUP acquires one of the 7 airport terminals at Paris – Le Bourget airport. This real estate investment consists of an office building of 7,000 sqm over 6 floors, 3 aircraft hangars and a 16,000 sqm aircraft parking.


    Inauguration of ASTONSKY terminal at Paris - Le Bourget

    CLAIR GROUP is undertaking considerable work in the newly acquired terminal in order to make ASTONSKY terminal a unique location at Le Bourget airport with modern and luxurious facilities, and 5-star services inspired by Parisian palaces (butler, valet, etc.)

    In October 2019, ASTONSKY inaugurated its Paris – Le Bourget terminal and is now considerably developing its airport assistance activity.


    CLAIR GROUP demonstrates its growth and agility

    Faced with the pandemic which is disrupting the global economy and the aeronautics sector, CLAIR GROUP is demonstrating its agility by developing a cargo transport activity dedicated to the airlift between China and France. Several Boeing 747 Cargo aircraft are thus chartered by the company ASTONJET to allow the import of medical equipment.

    Despite this particular context, CLAIR GROUP is ranked the French growth leader in the aeronautics, naval and space sector, by Les Echos and the Financial Times newspapers and Statista. It has achieved a record of +257.4% turnover increase over 4 years, thanks to its  subsidiaries ASTONFLY, ASTONJET, ASTONSKY and ASTONTEC.


    Group development and innovation

    Despite an unstable air market, Clair Group stands out with a certain stability, and even new acquisitions within the Group. ASTONJET, our private aviation company, operates its first Falcon 7X, a latest-generation Ultra Long Range Jet.

    And our aviation terminal, ASTONSKY, is breaking new ground by collaborating with the famous artist Richard Orlinski, whose works can now be seen from our boarding lounges.


    New at ASTONFLY

    This year has propelled the group to new heights, thanks in particular to a number of major innovations at ASTONFLY, the professional flight school, which has signed a partnership agreement with Europe’s leading airline, Ryanair. In addition to the Ryanair Mentored Program, ASTONFLY now offers a “Pass or Refund” airline pilot training program, a market-first!