Paul Argyle of air charter broker Air Partner gives ITCM the low-down on high flying groupsThe choice of a destination for an event is often very restricted by the transport logistics – unless an organiser thinks in terms of air charter.
Suddenly that approach eliminates a score of thorny problems. It offers a wider range of airports. The programme doesn’t have to fit in with airline schedules.
The time spent going through security before boarding can be reduced to a minimum. If an event is going well, it doesn’t have to be wound up to catch a flight home.
If a product launch demands a series of different destinations, air charter suddenly simplifies the whole project.
However, those organisers who are unfamiliar with air charter are often overwhelmed at the thought of becoming involved with aircraft types and sizes, costings and the general procedure.
‘But’, says Paul Argyle, ‘there are services that can take on the whole of that responsibility and provide smooth-running, dovetailing air transportation at an agreed price, so that organisers and their agents can concentrate all their efforts on the events.’
Paul has 35 years experience in the aviation sector and has recently taken on the responsibility of Corporate Jet Broking at Air Partner, the air charter broker. Air Partner has been in the business longer than Paul – 50 years.
At pains to point out that Air Broker doesn’t manage events, he then emphasises that all aspects of the air transport side can be safely left in their hands.
‘We add a very valuable element of flexibility’, he says, ‘with all the flight arrangements tailored to suit the project and with the opportunity to make changes during the project to fit in with the needs of ensuring a successful event.’
In his long experience of the sector, he can comment on its changing nature. ‘Charters were more often designed to provide a memorable junketing experience, with visits to casinos and suchlike. Nowadays there is more talk about ROI and eco-conscious and tighter budgets.
It can also be used to make a much bigger impression on the members of the groups being carried. He cites examples of the launch of a new perfume, where the guests were wowed by the very sight of the plane on the tarmac –‘liveried in pink and with the client’s logo. And once on board, they were served pink cocktails specially designed for the occasion.’
Paul’s remit is mainly for groups of 20 or more. ‘The distance you can fly’, he comments, ‘is dependent of course on the size of the group and therefore the plane. Round about 40 passengers means, of course, UK and mainland Europe, whilst a group of 230 could require an aircraft that could fly them, if required, to the USA or Africa.’
Air Partner does not own aircraft, but chooses them from around the world to meet the needs of each client. It handles hundreds of charter flights a month and has a network of offices in locations such as France, Italy, Germany, Sweden and Dubai, and can work with clients based there – and of course aircraft can be used to collect members of a group en route o the final destination.