Choosing private aircraft charter: key considerations

Expert Opinion World
Choosing private aircraft charter: key considerations

Planning fast, safe event travel can be highly challenging. Glenn Hogben (pictured), chief executive of The Air Charter Association, provides answers to critical questions:

 

We all want our teams to arrive at conferences, exhibitions and meetings fresh and buzzing to work. Easier said than done? Absolutely, but armed with the right knowledge, choosing the perfect private aircraft charter flight can be surprisingly easy.

Why choose an exclusive use charter flight at all? Firstly, unlike scheduled flights, there are no timetables to limit your options.

You are also in control of your destination as charter flights can fly to smaller regional airports that are closer to your final destination, further reducing the travel time. On many occasions your passengers can avoid the busy airport main terminals by using a dedicated private terminal and VIP lounge facility. This removes all the potential stress of waiting in security queues and rushing to a boarding gate and allows your passengers to have shorter check-in times and a relaxing departure process.

In-flight in a private aircraft, your team can relax and discuss your company’s confidential plans without fear your rivals are listening in the row behind. Ultimately, your flight really becomes part of your event or conference, with the ability to customise the onboard service, perhaps have literature about the event, a video or a survey to complete on board. Your chosen charter broker can also arrange for the aircraft to be personalised with your corporate logo with bespoke headrest covers or napkins, really making the aircraft feel like your own. If you’re launching a new product at an event, a popular tactic is to have the old product displayed at the departure airport and then the new product unveiled upon arrival!

Aircraft charters can cater for all group sizes from small aircraft with 4-20 seats right up to large commercial airliners that can carry 250+ passengers.

Take the safest option

Duty of care is critical too. In these Covid-conscious times, there are significantly fewer touchpoints exposing passengers to the risk of contagion on private aircraft than there are on scheduled airline flights. And travelling only with trusted colleagues is a far safer experience than flying in a busy aircraft filled with strangers.

Research before booking

When booking private air charter for the first time, we would always recommend using an air charter broker who is accredited by The Air Charter Association. There are many things that need organising and these professional brokers will be able to guide you through the process. One of the important factors that the broker can support you with, is to make sure you find a reliable operator. Globally, the number of fake private aviation websites is growing, using text and images stolen from real sites, and promoting aircraft using names, registrations and contract templates from real companies. Your broker will make every possible effort to ensure any operator engaged on your behalf is properly licensed, insured, documented and competent, and that the aircraft to be used is airworthy and properly maintained.

Please be aware of fraud. Not everyone offering private jet flights is qualified to do so. Illegal charter operations, although not common, still happen. The training and compliance requirements met by legitimate commercial operators, but ignored by their illegal counterparts, exist for good reasons. There is never a justification for compromising on safety.

Contact an independent body for advice and confirm the operator you plan to use holds an Air Operator Certificate (AOC), the approval granted by a national aviation authority to use aircraft for commercial purposes.

Private air charter is an exceptionally safe way to travel to any event, but enter the market carefully. When you do, you’ll enjoy unmatched security, speed and convenience. You’ll arrive at every meeting, exhibition and conference primed for success. You’ll gain that vital competitive edge.

To find an accredited member visit our website www.theaircharterassociation.aero

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World. Write Paul an E-mail

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