Outstanding collaboration with Aviobook, a Thales Group Company


The aviation sector experienced a rapid comeback after the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure it kept up with the strong development, Hasselt-based technological company AvioBook, which creates programs for air companies, expeditiously had to search for new designers. Finding the necessary experts within the borders of the firm’s country was impossible, so it turned to Cactus, which owns a team of experienced developers in Spain.

Jonas Lejeune, Chief Product Officer at AvioBook, notes that the company couldn’t stay at the same speed hiring people locally.

“Everyone was going through the same restricted pool of developers. We could never manage to get the necessary skilled workers of the right quality in our area at the required speed. To manage the situation, we had to widen our options and look at different solutions.”

AvioBook HQ in Hasselt (Image property of AvioBook)


Lejeune found that training the developers was the biggest challenge. With the aviation industry, they focus on a niche market with its own intricacies. Developers experienced with how airlines work and processes are not in high supply. It took time for them to learn and understand the system. The iOS application for the iPad was more complex than the average application, requiring an intricate architecture. To solve this problem, Cactus revamped its training process. Developers visit Hasselt for two weeks, working intensively with the team; then they return to Spain with the necessary knowledge. This method enabled the smooth integration of the last two additions to the team. Currently, there are five Cactus developers that dedicate their time to AvioBook. This is an ever-changing arrangement – it started with four and has risen to five after transitory changes. This versatility is a big asset. The practice we follow is uncommon. The norm is to use nearshoring, contracting out projects to companies in nearby countries. However, we tap outside resources when it comes to temporary undertakings, such as crafting a new application. But our partnership with Cactus is more than just a temporary project – the developers in Spain are formally part of our organization.

“Without the Spanish coworkers, we could never have achieved this rapid enlargement. We would have had to pay a very high price if we did.”

Jose Laffitte, Head of Engineering at Cactus observes nearshoring on the rise. They note how the coronavirus has caused a shift in thinking that would typically take 6-7 years to take effect. While some companies still oppose remote working, he asks if these companies could keep attracting talent in their home market due to the shortage of it and the high competence.


Today the situation can be defined as a long-term alliance and mutual trust between both companies. This joint pivots on the same shared values, agile methodologies practices, high-quality delivery, and the best commercial set-up.

“Our companies have formed a long-term alliance, built on mutual trust, and shared values. These include agile methodologies, high-quality delivery, and the best business setup. The relationship is beneficial for both parties; our colleagues are delighted to be part of the top project in the market, while AvioBook brings diversity to their teams, enriching the work experience” says Jose Laffitte.

The article first appeared at Bloovi.be on June 5, 2023. Read the Dutch version here and read the English version here.

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