Tim Procter tells Sydney Paulden of a great new facilityThe small number of first class and business class seats is often a restriction on the plans for a top-drawer event. It is risky to offer guests different classes of seats and it is inconvenient to have them arriving at the destination at different times on a variety of airlines, even if this is logistically possible..
Tim Procter is a man with a solution. He is the MD of Air Charter Travel and has access to some Boeing 747 aircraft that have been beautifully refitted to suit the MICE market.
‘Instead of the 300 or so seats of different classes’, he explains, ‘they are now fitted out with only 80 to 100 lie-flat first class seats. They also have enhanced galley facilities for quality cuisine on board’.
Tim goes on to say that the aircraft have the fuel capacity to fly, say, non-stop London to Los Angeles or equivalent distances for up to 13 hours.
This means that by chartering these aircraft up to 100 guests or award winners can be hosted in style, that the flights to and from a destination can be scheduled to fit in with the timing of an event and that everyone can arrive and depart together – with great networking opportunities on the journey.
Tim is also keen to point out the additional advantages of chartering rather than using scheduled airline flights. ‘Recently’, he says, ‘when EIBTM visitors were faced with dreadful winter conditions, our charter flight to and from Barcelona was able to bring our passengers home, whilst so many scheduled passengers were left stranded. This is a very important consideration when a costly corporate event is being held, such as a new car launch.’
Other benefits include the Wow Factor when guests are transported in this fashion, the speed and ease of getting to and from the aircraft, which can be treated as a private jet.
‘We recently flew a high-profile football team to the Far East’, he says, ‘and even the players were impressed when they could all get a good night’s sleep on the lie-flat seats in duvets bearing their team’s logo’. He can also charter Boeing 767s 200 series that have been converted from 240-seat mixed class aircraft to 70 first-class quality seaters.
‘Anyone looking to fly guests out to Rio for next summer’s FIFA World Cup’, Tim warns, ‘will have to get cracking if they haven’t made arrangements. There will be a limit to the number of schedule flights available, of course, and we are already running out of chartered aircraft. When hosts have their own aircraft, there is the quality of seating, sleeping and eating, the convenience of access and also, very importantly, the choice of which destination airports to use to fit in with changing requirements as the tournament progresses.’