Brokers: providing something different
Air Partner, the charter broker based at London's Gatwick International airport, is doing relatively well despite the challenges posed by today's difficult market, according to Clive Chalmers, the company's manager - UK freight.
For a start, he said: "Our Time Critical product (launched last year) is proving popular. We've had requests for aircraft-on-ground (AOG), on-board courier and next-flight-out shipments that have led to bookings.
The company's Red Track software "has had some fantastic feedback", he went on. Providing real-time monitoring of shipments from pick-up to delivery, it keeps customers informed every step of the way and is particularly attractive to those working in industries such as automotives or AOG. This is because Red Track can be accessed via a smart phone, rather than requiring users to be at their desk.
On the humanitarian side, although there is occasional demand these days for charters into the Horn of Africa: "Things have generally been quiet lately," he observed. "We've still got the UK Department for International Development contract and we're ready to roll as needed. This is a very reactive business, and people know where we are if they need us."
Looking rather flat is demand for commercial air charters. Chalmers explained: "We're still getting enquiries but the confidence in the market is not there; there's oversaturation of capacity. A few airlines have dropped out and I think we'll see more go this year, unfortunately. But hopefully things will start to turn around in September, he added.