Charters brokers have been at full stretch evacuating people in danger from the world's hotspots, but as EBAN's latest Perspectives feature details, that is only one – albeit high profile – facet of their demanding work.
Air Partner, Chapman Freeborn (CF) and Air Charter Service (ACS) are just three of the companies whose staff have handled their normal workloads and put in extra hours to deal with emergencies.
ACS was heavily involved in evacuations from Japan, arranging several evacuation flights for major corporations making a number of Boeing 747s available. It promptly advised people to look at alternative destinations to Hong Kong as the hotels filled up.
The input of brokers such as Air Partner and CF were even more welcome as the unscrupulous touted E8,200 scheduled airline economy tickets and airlines reduced their services to avoid radioactive areas.
Air Partner ceo Mark Briffa says: "Our teams around the world have been working tirelessly for several weeks to rescue expatriate personnel."
Evacuations from Libya and Egypt, as well as unrest and demonstrations in countries ranging from Bahrain to Syria, however, did not slow the growth of private and business aviation in the Middle East. There were welcome signs of an expansion in routine business demand.
The ExecuJet Aviation Group reported that it had already booked flights on its recently arrived Falcon 900DX EASy. The company's Helle Brodsgaard says: "We are receiving a number of requests from the charter brokers, not just in the region, but also from the US, Europe and Africa."
Private Jet Charter reported strong growth in January. "Private jet business is booming in the UAE, with businessmen switching to charter jets instead of having their own."
CF successfully completed an urgent humanitarian charter to assist victims of the recent floods in Sri Lanka. According to a government spokesman, more than 325,000 people have been displaced by the floods. Over 30 people have died and more than one million have been affected by the natural disaster.
Chapman Freeborn says: "The priority since the rains abated has been to deliver humanitarian aid to thousands of people who now face further risk from disease and famine." For many brokers and operators it has been a few months of immense focus on emergencies but alongside that business as usual, with Grossman Jet Service summing up the client service objective.
Dagmar Grossmann, ceo, says: "We see our task as a duty to inform and help and finally take very good care of the customer and also of the asset during the whole lifecycle of the aircraft. It is an interesting job and you can learn and experience at first hand a great deal. It is a challenge as you have to take on a lot of responsibility."
Grossmann adds: "I think it is true to say that the lifestyle depends on the particular individual's personality and is more connected to the person's outlook and service dedication than to the job per se."
The charter operator and broker world is a sector where everyone is a competitor but there is a community of kindred spirits and it is sometimes prudent to work with others, or help them out, because you never know what difficulty might be around the next corner.
As in every other service industry the client is never wrong but, at the same time, might be best persuaded to trust the professionals. Grossman says: "The customer is always right, of course we try to show him the full scope of advantages and disadvantages but, realistically, at the end of the day it is their money and their decision."
PrivateFly underlined that it was also business as usual by sealing a deal to partner with Glasgow-based luxury transport provider, Phantom Scotland to offer online private jet booking to their customers.
Phantom Scotland, whose services include Rolls Royce Phantom hire, celebrity car services, corporate chauffeurs and luxury yacht hire, has added private jet charter in and out of Scotland's airports to its offering.
Shazad Bakhsh, director of Phantom Scotland, comments: "Our clients are increasingly requesting private jet charter services – not just celebrities but also time- starved business people and groups travelling together for weddings and sporting events."