Yann Vatel is a pilot.
In the detail sheet above it is listed that he is associated with British Intelligence and for the recorded adventures we have of him that is true but no further. Vatel is a Frenchman who enjoys flying and has chosen that as his career and has no desire to branch into anything else; certainly there is no interest in the espionage game. That does not mean, though, that others in that Great Game do not have the occasional interest in him.
We first meet him in the year 1938 when he is located at a tiny airstrip hidden in plain sight in the burning Chalbi Desert within site of the interesting Mount Marsabit. When he is not trying to stay out of the brutal heat and dust of that land, he flies airmail trips along the Nairobi route. He has been doing that for nearly three years. Before, he had operated a bit further east in Somalia flying cargo planes until an incident there prompted a move (he does not expand on that and it seems prudent to not pry).
Vatel is a man who definitely gets around. A brief recap of his life before our meeting has him for a time flying mail routes in the Argentine Andes in South America and working out of Portugal just before the start of the Spanish Civil War. There almost certainly were other locales he flew into and over; the point being that Vatel at the time of the first adventure was a well seasoned pilot with a love of the sky and an enjoyment of diversity in terrain.
I had mentioned a lack of interest in Intelligence work, preferring flying over anything else - including any long term personal relationship. There had, though, been a few brushes with such work in the past. This includes two very brief incidents in his past where he was asked to fly quick flights ferrying a man or two, both times on behalf of the British Royal Air Force and both times where Vatel was certain the men were involved in Intelligence work. He had not desire to learn any more.
Those two times, a few years in the past and both one-off's, were what prompted MI6 to seek him out for another ferrying service. That and a previous matter with the beautiful and often enigmatic Elizabeth Kelly, an Irish woman who had tired of Ireland and its IRA problems and had shifted to Istanbul, eventually creating an impressive intelligence network she named Cuchulain after a mythical being. Vatel and Kelly have an interesting relationship.