More than a thousand air charter professionals visited this year's Air Charter Expo 2019 (ACE19); a record-breaking number of brokers, operators and aviation professionals connected with 70 exhibitors and toured more than 20 aircraft on display. Among others, they were able to meet Qatar Executive, showcasing its Gulfstream G500, Luxaviation with its Bombardier Global Express XRS and DragonFly's brand-new King Air 250.
Leading OEMs were also in attendance, with visitors able to view aircraft from Bombardier, Gulfstream, Textron Aviation and show sponsor Dassault.
Held in partnership with The Air Charter Association (The ACA), London Biggin Hill airport, and publications Charter Broker and Business Air News, ACE19 saw a varied programme of presentations on topics including combatting illegal charter and aircraft connectivity, as well as discussions about how to inspire the next generation of aviation professionals.
A new initiative to combat illegal charters formed the subject of a talk by The ACA chairman Nick Weston. Speaking during the opening session of the afternoon, he announced a joined up initiative between a number of key industry bodies on illegal charters that would address the blight on the professional industry that the association represents. Part of the initiative will include a ground awareness and education campaign designed to reduce the supply and demand for illegal flights. The concept is to target the customers and crews who may unwittingly be using or operating such aircraft.
For an illegal charter to operate, the crew and passengers will come into contact with several airport personnel from operations, ATC and ground crew. Any of these can report their concerns about potentially illegal flights to The ACA via its website, which will then take the matter further with the relevant authorities.
The Air Charter Association also launched its brand new broker qualification programme. This has attracted a significant level of interest with a number of brokers pre-registering for the four-level course. The programme is a mixture of classroom-based and on-airport training in a rarely available behind-the-scenes day.
Summarising ACE19, Weston says: “This has been an amazing day, it's great to see a record attendance and packed conference rooms with attendees really getting involved and engaged in the key issues affecting the charter community. I would like to thank all presenters, exhibitors, delegates, sponsors and the teams from London Biggin Hill airport, Charter Broker and Business Air News for making ACE19 such a huge success. I look forward to an incredible ACE20, which is currently scheduled to take place on 15 September, 2020.”
London Biggin Hill airport marketing manager Andy Patsalides adds: “Now in its fourth year, we are proud to see ACE continue increasing its visitor and exhibitor numbers, as well as the impressive range of leading aircraft on static display. The event is truly a mainstay in the global business aviation calendar. As the only dedicated business aviation airport in London, we are continuing to cement ourselves as the go-to hub for the charter industry, while also supporting the uninterrupted flow of business aviation traffic to keep the capital open for business.”