November 10, 2009

Aviation Beauport pays tribute to founder as it restructures company for further growth

Jersey-based Aviation Beauport has restructured following the death of long time group md Capt Greg Graham. Group chairman and owner Mike Bell has assumed the role of md while finance director Maggie Barnes steps into the newly-created post of deputy md, with former chief pilot Paul Holroyd promoted to director of flight operations.

Bell, who acquired the original air charter business in 1985, paid tribute to the late Capt Graham, who was the driving force behind the growth of the company from a small air taxi service to an operation employing over 40 staff and flying a range of different jets.

"When I bought the original company, it was on the understanding that Greg came and ran it for me. When we started out, we had a pipe dream that one day we would see a fleet of jets littering the apron. To have made that a reality is testament to Greg's drive, energy and enthusiasm. To many people he was 'Aviation Beauport' and I, and everyone here, owe him an enormous debt." The company, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this year, is expanding its fleet.

Aviation Beauport now owns or manages a number of aircraft, including its Citation XLS and the recently acquired Falcon 2000EX EASy and is acquiring a new Citation Mustang which is due to arrive in January 2010.

Bell says: "The acquisition of the Mustang will give us a wider range of options as I feel there is definitely a market for businessmen doing shorter trips. The Falcon, which we took delivery of in April, is already making a big contribution to our business and I would expect to see a 35 per cent uplift in turnover next year, with a further 25 per cent growth in 2011 when we factor in the contribution from our new light jet and additional work for the Falcon."

He adds: "The arrival of the Falcon, being a wide-bodied jet, has already opened up new markets for us and was a quantum leap forward in the range of aircraft available for charter."

In addition to its long-established air charter operation, Aviation Beauport also has a corporate management division offering everything from hangarage and flight planning to a complete turnkey service. It has made significant investment in its terminal facilities and new booking and admini-stration systems.

Aviation Beauport, one of the oldest-established FBOs in Europe, recently extended its purpose-built terminal in order to further improve its executive lounge and catering facilities and now boasts an additional private lounge for vips. It also provides dedicated IT facilities for visiting crew following a complete revamp of the reception and booking areas. Other features include extensive on-site parking and a wood panelled boardroom overlooking the apron, which can accommodate up to 12 executives for a round table discussion as well as receptions for parties of up to 30 people.

Last year the company handled approximately 5,100 aircraft movements, with passenger numbers in the region of 15,000.

Customer services manager Dave Heaney says: "Pilots know that we can be relied on to pass on any messages they relay to us while passing overhead, and we're happy to do so, but this personal service also includes the door-to-door transport we offer, our hotel and limousine booking service and the provision of a Smart car for use by visiting crew."

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