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The Needs Group marks a quarter century of ops
Matt Cheshire was a sound engineer who found his way into business aviation flying for touring artists. The company is also working heavily with sports teams these days using fixed wing and rotary.
Matt Cheshire has a music industry background.
Read this story in our June 2024 printed issue.

Yorkshire, UK-based The Needs Group is celebrating 25 years in the industry by strengthening its line of flights for music artists and sports stars. MD Matt Cheshire says: “We started out by offering music artist charter, and then we got introduced to a sports personality using a helicopter for charter; he wanted us to use it when he wasn’t for our music artists. That was the catalyst to go full strength into the business aviation world. We brought everything in house and now we’ve got eight premier league clubs and we also do a lot for the England national team and the players that are part of that.

“We do football, cricket, golf, tennis; we cover lots of sports as well as the music charter. We’ve got lots of world tours out on the road this year and have done for the best part of 20 years now.”

Cheshire’s background was originally the music industry where he was a sound engineer and got into logistics that way. “So the music industry knows us and sports have got to know us. We have had a lot of references to friends, family, colleagues and businesses. So we are carrying a lot of non-profiled people and teams too. Today we have some internal UK flights, some US flights and some into Europe. So we’re worldwide. It’s up to 16 people generally including all the crew and backline freight on an ad hoc basis.”

He has witnessed a lot of change. “We are pushing SAF fuel and the carbon offset world quite substantially across the group. A lot of artists, especially the electronic artists, are doing two or three shows a night. We’ve had one in the northeast of the UK followed by one down south. Physically impossible to get there by any other means of transport than air because of the drive time and trains.

“We’re moving animals at the moment; lots of dogs and a few cats for Palma. We’ve seen a huge surge at Faro. Portugal is getting stronger and stronger year-on-year for our non-sport client base. We use Leeds Bradford and Leeds East. We can’t wait for them to reopen the doors at Doncaster; great runway, 24/7 access and without the weather restrictions of Leeds.

“Every day is different. We’ve gone from the pure rock and roll world all the way through to individuals who want to add more time back in to their life. There’s a huge focus on price point, and a lot of big companies have made people redundant and restructured but we have managed to maintain where we are.”

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