ALPINE SKY JETS Ltd as well as the Terminal Nord at the Airport of Berne-Belp looks back on a genesis and family tradition since 1944.
In the year 1944 it was Franz Gribi who, as one of the first Swiss military pilots, started his civil aviation career at the Airport Berne-Belp. After receiving his license as a flight instructor, he turned numerous entrepreneurs into private pilots.
In the sixties he got the opportunity to purchase a 14´000 m2 large terrain, located within the Airport area with direct entrance to the runway. In the following years he constructed several aircraft hangars, an aircraft maintenance building as well as an office and training building for his new company called GRIBAIR AG.
GRIBAIR developed itself into one of the largest and successful Swiss flight schools with up to 14 small aircrafts, which also attended the first commercial and mountain sightseeing flights in the Swiss Alps. Numerous pilots were trained to be commercial pilots. This mainly due to the efforts of Alex Gribi, only son of Franz Gribi, who at the age of 21 already was in possession of several commercial pilot licenses and flight instructor licenses for aircrafts and helicopters. It was Alex Gribi who decisively helped to build up the GRIBAIR company.
With growing demands in luxury travel sector, Alex Gribi founded his own company SKYWORK AG in 1983. In the same year he bought his first business jet on which he instructed private pilots to become commercial pilots. Furthermore, Alex Gribi acted as an expert for the Federal Office of Civil Aviation, taking off thousands of exams.
In the year 2000 SKYWORK enjoyed great name recognition in Europe based on the enormous efforts by
Alex Gribi. The six modern jets operated by SKYWORK
from Airport Berne were nearly all ordered, test flown and transferred from the U.S.A. to Switzerland by Alex Gribi himself.
A further mile stone was set in the year 2000 when Alex Gribi built a complete new VIP Terminal, handling- and office accommodations at Terminal Nord. This due to the damage caused to the original buildings by a flood in 1999.
Because of insufficient passenger numbers, the CROSSAIR and other known Airlines had to give up their scheduled flights form and to Berne as well as their entire operation in Berne in the year 2002. The AIR ENGIADINA/KLM ALPS, home based in Berne, even went bankrupt. This caused huge financial and operating problems for the Airport Berne.
In the same year the demands for charter flights for travel agencies and private companies increased. So Alex Gribi’s SKYWORK took over a 30-seat Dornier 328 Turboprop and founded with it the subsidiary SKYWORK AIRLINES.
Through the growing recognition from SKYWORK and SYKWORK AIRLINES in Switzerland and abroad, there was a need for an additional and bigger aircraft. In collaboration with investors a brand new Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 with 72-seats was acquired in the year 2008. This meant a further growth in flight- and ground crew.
Shortly after this, SKYWORK with its 55 employees celebrated not only their 25 years anniversary, but also their first scheduled flights to Rotterdam and Barcelona. This all under the eye of the press and public media.
In autumn that year the worldwide banking crisis took place. 50% decrease in aircraft worth was the result as well as a decrease in passenger numbers and less demand for charter flights. The resulting financial losses were immense and all covered by Alex personally, like this he could save all the jobs in his SKYWORK companies and all those from the Airport who were related to SKYWORK.
Within the following years the profitability was steadily declining, with its financial depth in 2010, facing bankruptcy. As Alex, known for his punctuality, trustworthiness and fighter mentality, did not want to give up, he looked for investors among his acquaintances and customers. He found an investor, who despite the SKYWORK AIRLINES struck, took over all the shares. The SKYWORK AIRLINES with its 8 aircrafts and 180 employees experienced a new upswing.
As a result of the rapid expansion of the SKYWORK AIRLINES the company left their offices at the Terminal Nord and moved into a new office building in Belp.
To continue the 70 year long family tradition in aviation at Berne-Belp, Alex and his twin sons Matteo and Manuel, founded the new airline ALPINE SKY JETS ltd. in 2011. With Alex his private 9- seat business jet in operation and under the competent guidance of his sons.
Today ALPINE SKY JETS still operates a business jet, type Cessna Citation Excel. Besides that ALPINE SKY JETS acts as tour operator, broker in the charter sector for all sizes of aircrafts and as VIP handling and handling agent.[object Object]