Air Charter Service Delivering Value Through Global Expertise and Customer Focus
“Air Charter Service’s global network, support infrastructure, and focus on compliance and risk management have enabled the company to successfully navigate complex logistics challenges and fulfill unique and challenging cargo charter requests for its clients.” – Dan Morgan-Evans, Global Cargo Director of Air Charter Service
By Mohammed Irshad
Air Charter Service (ACS) has carved a niche of its own in the global aviation industry over the past 33 years since its humble beginnings in the basement of its founder, Chris Leach, in Kingston Upon Thames in south-west London.
Today, ACS, part of ACS Group, is one of the largest global charter providers—private jets, helicopters, commercial airliners and cargo aircraft—with at least 29 offices across continents, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Kazakhstan, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, UAE, UK, and USA.
The aircraft charter company has the largest range of jets and operates an impressive over 25,000 flights per year across the world.
For the air cargo industry, ACS has earned a worldwide reputation for providing urgent ‘go now’ cargo charters to a range of industry clients. It is also known for providing immediate humanitarian relief for disaster-stricken areas and zones facing armed conflicts, supporting NGOs, governments and aid agencies.
And as the demand for specialized cargo transportation services continues to grow worldwide, the global cargo chartering industry is undergoing a period of rapid expansion. In this dynamic landscape, ACS has emerged as a standout player, renowned for its unwavering commitment to operational excellence, exceptional customer service, and continuous innovation.
In an exclusive interviewwith Air Cargo Update, ACS Global Cargo Director Dan Morgan-Evans shares his unique insights on what sets the company apart from its competitors, how it manages intricate logistics challenges, and ways in which it leverages technology to enhance its operations and services to an even greater extent.
Expert on complex tasks and customer service
ACS’s ability to manage complex logistics and operations involved in global cargo chartering is a key factor that sets the company apart from its competitors. With a truly global network and a team equipped to handle any challenge that may arise, it leverages its local knowledge, numerous languages, and support teams to ensure a smooth and efficient process.
According to Morgan-Evans, their team’s extensive training, havingthe largest network of brokers, and focus on customer service are key factors that differentiate the company from its competitors.
While ACS strives to offer competitive prices, its value proposition goes beyond pricing to encompass a single point of contact and 24-hour operations that ensure smooth and efficient processes for clients.
Morgan-Evans emphasizes that value is not the same as price, and ACS’s focus on building relationships with clients and understanding their specific needs is a core part of its strategy.
Global Network and Support Infrastructure for Complex Logistics
Global cargo chartering involves complex logistics and operations that require a deep understanding of local markets, regulations, and cultural nuances.
With offices in over 29 countries and a multilingual team, the company provides a strong foundation for its cargo chartering services.
Further, ACS has a support infrastructure that includes a Time Critical arm for ground logistics, a Legal and Compliance team for risk management, and a 24/7 operations team for flight watching and updates.
Morgan-Evans cites the example of ACS’s response to the COVID pandemic, where the company leveraged its Chinese offices to transport PPE and test kits from the region, demonstrating the power of its global network to fulfill unique and challenging cargo charter requests.
In response to the growing demand for urgent cargo products such as on-board couriers (OBCs) and next-flight-out (NFO) services, ACS recently consolidated these services under its new ACS Time Critical sub-brand. Morgan-Evans explains that this move made sense given the critical mass reached by these services and enables ACS to focus more on these offerings and provide more visibility to clients.
Navigating Global Challenges
As a company that places a high value on compliance and risk management, ACS takes a thorough approach to scrutinize every charter for compliance with regulations and safety standards.
Morgan-Evans stresses that ACS is a risk-averse company that prioritizes safety and compliance over speed and convenience. By ensuring that all aspects of a charter meet regulatory and safety requirements, ACS minimizes potential issues or setbacks and delivers reliable service to clients.
Morgan-Evans believes that global events can have a significant impact on the cargo charter industry, affecting the demand for charter flights. Natural disasters often lead to an increase in the number of aid missions, which means more charters are needed to deliver supplies and personnel to affected areas.
However, trade disputes can have the opposite effect, resulting in a decrease in demand for charters. Despite the challenges posed by global events, ACS remains dedicated to providing its clients with efficient and reliable services tailored to their unique needs.
Technology and Innovation for Enhanced Operations and Services
ACS is at the forefront of the cargo charter industry in leveraging technology to improve its operations and services. Its internal CRM system holds data on thousands of airports, airlines, and individual aircraft, enabling the team to locate aircraft worldwide with ease. The company invests in technology and people to continually enhance its services, providing a seamless customer experience.
Morgan-Evans underscores that technology is intended to support the sales team, not to supplant them.ACS’s bespoke CRM system allows the company to locate aircraft globally at the touch of a button. The company’s investment in technology and people ensures it stays ahead of emerging challenges in the industry, providing customers with a smooth and efficient service.
As ACS expands its services, Morgan-Evans, said the company reinforces its commitment to delivering exceptional value, operational excellence, and unparalleled customer service. By investing in cutting-edge technology and a world-class team, ACS is poised to surpass emerging challenges and set new industry standards in global cargo chartering services.
ACS Group posts record 28,000 flights in 2022
World-leading aircraft charter broker, Air Charter Service Group, announced results exceeded expectations in 2022 with record profits being credited to the post-COVID charter boom continuing further into the year than predicted, as well as the growth of its core businesses.
Highlights included a 35% growth in private jet revenue, despite the exit from the company’s Russian operations in 2022, along with a total of 28,000 charter flights arranged and more than 2,100 new customers booking for the first time.
Total Group revenue had been significantly inflated in 2021 due to COVID-related demand, especially in the cargo sector. This had been expected to fall significantly in 2022, however it continued throughout Q1, giving the company an exceptional start to the year. This was further boosted by strong growth in underlying business throughout the past 12 months. As a result, whilst total Group revenue declined from £1.29 billion to £1.09 billion, EBITDA increased from £72 million to £82 million.
Chris Leach, Air Charter Service’s Founder and Chairman, commented: “2021’s revenue was exaggerated by hundreds of trans-Pacific widebody freighter flights carrying essential Covid-related cargo, along with a backlog of goods caused by the pandemic, and subsequent reduction in scheduled service network. Those large, expensive flights continued into the first few months of 2022, but soon tailed off. The huge turnover generated by adding such flights to our business is not likely to be replicated for several years. However, we have been blown away by the performance of our underlying business. Passenger charter revenue reached almost £450 million, whilst cargo accounted for close to £650 million.
“This past 12 months we have arranged more than 28,000 charter flights in total – on a par with the year before. Whilst cargo numbers have dropped off slightly, we have seen a 15% increase in private jets flights year-on-year, which represents a 29% increase in pre-pandemic levels. Private jet revenue was up 34% on 2021 and 72% up on pre-pandemic levels. This additional revenue is as a result of price inflation and customers booking longer flights on larger aircraft.
“We haven’t increased our cost base to reflect this spike in sales, knowing that this was only going to be temporary, so we are in an exceptionally strong position moving forward. Our underlying business is increasing and, whilst we might not hit £1 billion this year, our aim is to finish with revenue between £800 and £900 million – although the first two months of this year have already put us above target.
“To support our underlying growth, we have hired some experienced heads in key regions and grown our staff numbers overall, as well as opening two new offices in 2022, to drive future growth. There are exciting times ahead, with three new office openings in 2023, the first of which has just been announced as Mexico City.”(Source: www.airchartermideast.ae)