Jet Aviation Management AG

I'm near the Lake Zurich lakefront, a few miles from Zurich's city center and in a well-to-do-residential area. It's the type of area where companies have taken former mansions and villas and turned them into offices.

Jet Aviation Management rents one floor in a brownish-colored, four-story building with a late 1970's look to it. Only a small sign near the entrance lets you know this is the place. It can't be too shabby an area with global law firm Baker & Mackenzie having space in a small building across the street

Stepping off the elevator I find nobody's manning the reception counter. The décor is like the building-1970's style furnishings. There's a small model jet plane on the counter-it looks to be a Gulfstream. Jet Aviation, with revenues of $520 million and 3,600 employees, operates the world's largest charter fleet of corporate and private jets. It's also in the maintenance, outfitting and aircraft management business

When someone passes the counter I explain who I am and how I sent a letter of introduction a month earlier to CEO Thomas Hirschmann. In a few minutes Roland Buecheler, Manager PR and Advertising-Europe/Middle & Far East, appears. Buecheler says they hadn't received my letter but agrees to answer questions as we sit in the lobby. It's over quickly as the guarded Buecheler shows little interest.

Between 15-20 people work here. Smoking is allowed in offices, there's underground parking and the company has access to a semi-public cafeteria used by building tenants. The father of CEO Hirschmann founded jet Aviation in Basel back in 1967. It's eight miles to Zurich Airport and three miles to the nearest freeway.

I can't see CEO Hirschmann's office or boardroom because "they're private offices". Matter of fact, sitting in the lobby next to the elevator is the extent of the welcome extended to me. Reminds me of being on a plane and getting stuck with the seat next to the lavatory-you know, the seat people queue-up next to while waiting to use the facility