Travel managers and PAs who book private jets can take advantage of complimentary training with TAG Aviation at Farnborough airport. The day courses cover a range of practical issues including:
• The different private jet business models: full and fractional ownership, ad hoc charter and buying flying time in blocks of hours
• The variety of aircraft types, key performance criteria and their advantages in different situations
cost comparisons can apply. “The key benefits are still there. If we’re working with large numbers it still makes sense, time- and money- wise, plus you factor in hotel costs saved by taking less time. And we’re starting to see again smaller groups needing to be at very early morning meetings – they can be back in their City office by the afternoon.”
EXPANDING BUSINESS Thomas Flohr, founder and chairman of owner-operator Vistajet, agrees with the others that time-saving is a major factor, but says the remote locations occupied by natural- resource industries make them fertile ground for private aviation. “If you run a global mining operation, you may need to head to deepest Siberia – say, Irkutsk or Novosibirsk – then the next day you might have to be in Rwanda or Chad,” he says. “It’s technically not possible via other methods. Plus you’re dealing with security issues and accessibility. The mines are not in Moscow or Lagos – they’re in remote locations. “The large corporations are
looking to expand in remote locations, and you’ve got to go there and see it with your own eyes, in terms of what you’re buying or who you’re partnering with. The whole world is changing. For certain people in these organisations it’s about being available anywhere on the planet in the fastest possible time.” It’s also worth remembering that
reaching the right location doesn’t just apply to the wilds of Africa and Siberia; there are around 300 commercial airports in Europe – for private jets there’s a choice of 3,000,
which several operators say can help achieve a tight schedule. And then, as then-US defence
secretary Donald Rumsfeld once burbled, there are the “unknown unknowns” – unpredictable situations where private aviation takes on a key role. A travel buyer in the finance sector says: “While usage of private jets has become minimal, we’ve certainly seen them come to their own in emergency or crisis situations. Then it’s about considering duty of care, whether repatriating employees because of a medical emergency, or dealing with other crises.”
“The whole world is changing, and for certain people it’s about being available anywhere on the planet in the fastest possible time”
Whereas for many people and businesses the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010 was a logistical disaster, Travel by Appointment’s Gianquitto recalls: “During the volcanic ash cloud episode a number of high-level executives from different clients were effectively stranded in the US. We gathered them together in New York and chartered a private jet to fly them all to Barcelona, with chauffeurs waiting to take them on to London. “After take-off, British airspace
re-opened and we got the aircraft diverted back into the UK to Northolt. Our travellers were back in London when they might have still been waiting across the Atlantic for the passenger backlogs to clear.” ■
• Crucial regulatory factors, such as flight planning and insurance
• Dealing with airports, including issues such as PPR (prior permission required) procedures, customs and catering
• Bookings: quotes, contracting and payment
Key questions for travel buyers when booking charters, from TAG Aviation director Ashley Namihas
• How long has the charter operator been in business?
• What references can they provide?
• What is the financial strength of the company?
• What is the average age of the aircraft operated?
• What is the operator’s safety record?
• Has the charter operator got a safety management system in place?
• What is the limited liability insurance cover?
• Is the aircraft offered definitely listed on an air operators certificate for public transport?
• What experience has the company in planning international trips ?
• What selection criteria is used to recruit pilots?
• Does the company provide 24/7 support and flight monitoring?