Tim Procter, MD of Air Charter Travel, tells ITCM why his company has seen 13% growth in revenue in its 20th yearThe benefits that flow from the use of air charter are becoming increasingly evident to more companies; so much so that Air Charter Travel, based in the UK, has been able to report a 13% increase in business compared with the same period last year.
‘Air charter is not chosen because of price’, Tim Procter maintains, very straightforwardly. Tim is Managing Director and founder of the broker Air Charter Travel, an enterprise that is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary. ‘Making the decision to fly on a chartered aircraft is in every case clearly seen as the obvious best way to achieve objectives. And this is easily illustrated in the MICE sector of business’, he continues.
As a broker, Tim’s company works with a number of companies that he knows he can rely on to provide the right service for his clients, partners that he has worked with over the years on many projects.
‘The aircraft is selected very much according to the distance it has to fly non-stop’, he explains, ‘as well as the number of passengers it has to carry. Its itinerary can be designed to suit the client’s needs, so in general guests invited to travel to an event need not report so early to catch a scheduled flight. As soon as they have boarded, they can be served with drinks and other refreshments. An important advantage is that the most convenient route can be selected, so, for example, a flight can be direct from Gatwick to Cagliari in Sardinia, if required.
How difficult would that route be with any other means of transport?’
Multi-national product launches are a typical source of business for Air Charter Travel. It brokers aircraft for pharmaceutical, cosmetic and car companies, where potential users of the products, journalists and all the essential personnel for the launch arrive at the same time and on time, and on many occasions along with the new products.
‘We offer confidentiality and comfort, with much less hassle, of course’, says Tim ‘and all the extras we provide create a much more impressive experience. The headrests can carry the logo of the host company. The mini-screens within the aircraft can be used for a welcome to the passengers from the chairman, with information on what the passengers will be seeing and where they will be going. Baggage, once checked in at the departure airport, can be handled straight through to each passenger’s hotel room’.
Tim then relates how he was able to charter a brand new aircraft that had not yet been given its airline livery. ‘We flew a construction machinery company to an exhibition in the States, where we were able to park it virtually alongside the show ground. All their competitors were very subdued when they had to pass by a gleaming new 330-seat aircraft with the machinery company’s logo on the tail fin’.
In October 2011 Tim’s company was called upon to transport 700 executives from Audi cars on return trips between the UK and Munich. This involved departures from Stansted, Manchester and Birmingham airports a three day period aboard a Titan Airways Boeing 757.
The executives began work on a training project as soon as they boarded with customised interactive-tablets placed ready on each seat. Everything was branded with the Audi logo, including head rests, table napkins and even after-dinner chocolates.
And the company’s next big assignment? ‘For some years now’, says Tim, ‘we have had the honour of carrying exhibition visitors for Reed Travel Exhibitions. November 30 will see us flying 250 Hosted Buyers to EIBTM in Barcelona.’