City of London businessman Graham York, whose company won a major contract by hiring a private jet, has launched a new air charter operator in the U.K.
York, ceo of Clarity Commerce Solutions which has grown to a £19 million turnover company with the help of acquisitions, was looking to buy a charter company when he heard that Gregg Air had ceased trading.
York hired key staff including chief pilot Tim Lewis and finance director Kieron Blay, added to the team, and launched Direct Air on a new AOC with a managed Learjet 60 and a charter Hawker 800B.
"Private aircraft are becoming accepted as a cost effective business tool and I will be taking that message to corporations including those I have dealt with over the years," York told EBAN.
Clarity's principal activity is providing software solutions for ticketing, leisure, hospitality, business intelligence and support services. It has offices in the U.K., the U.S., France and Germany.
York, a regular charter user himself, says that private aircraft hire paid off in a particularly handsome way when Clarity won a multimillion Pound contract.
"We entered the bidding process late and the client company's headquarters was in a remote place. The private charter got our document there with ten minutes to spare and we won the contract. In that charter it was very definitely, but unusually, the case that the document was more important than the person carrying it! It was a very good example of how useful a private aircraft can be."
Direct Air, York adds, has enjoyed good business in its formative weeks. "The indications are that the charter sector is buoyant and I am looking forward to a good first year."
Clarity has grown strongly since it was established in 1993 and has implemented a wide ranging list of projects for international cinema operators, hotel and restaurant networks, pub and bar operators, sports and leisure facilities and high street retailers.
York is determined that Direct Air will also be a growing company. "We will be prepared to grow organically or by acquisition," he told EBAN. "We have a great team and we will be marketing our message strongly to potential corporate users."
Direct Air's operational base is in Oxford and its aircraft are based at Luton and Farnborough.