We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Mon 23 Nov 2009 04:00 AM

Font Size

- Aa +

Total travel solution

Air Charter Service (ACS), the worldwide passenger air charter broker, sees positive returns amid the downturn. We meet ACS Middle East general manager Dmitriy Korshunov who explains why.

Total travel solution
Dmitriy Korshunov, ACS Middle East general manager.
Total travel solution
With almost 20 years of service, ACS has been entrusted with providing the right aircraft to its prestigious list of clients which includes some of the most influential people in the world.

Air Charter Service (ACS), the worldwide passenger air charter broker, sees positive returns amid the downturn. We meet ACS Middle East general manager Dmitriy Korshunov who explains why.

Air Charter Service (ACS) is an international aircraft charter company offering helicopters, light aircraft, executive jets, and airliners for larger groups. With offices in Dubai, London, New York, Bilbao, Moscow, Hong Kong, Paris, Johannesburg and Tokyo ACS is equipped to provide you with the perfect solution for your charter requirements worldwide.

Founded in 1990 ACS has experienced incredible growth, operating around 3,500 charters a year and generating annual sales of $200-$250m. With almost 20 years of experience, ACS has been entrusted with providing the right aircraft to its prestigious list of clientele which includes some of the most influential people and companies in the world.

Air Charter Service understands the importance of satisfying customer requirements, whether flying for business or pleasure. Using a private charter through ACS gives the control back to the user; ensuring business executives spend as little time out of the office as possible.

Travelling in the privacy and comfort of a jet allows the business traveller to arrive fresh. Individuals travelling by larger jets may also continue to work during transit through onboard internet access.

The flexibility of private charter means that, even when a meeting runs over, the aircraft and crew will be waiting and, after a swift and smooth transit through private terminals, passengers can be on their way.

With worldwide access to a variety of aircraft to suit all requirements, whether you need an eight seater light jet or a 40 seater executive airliner, our dedicated account managers are available 24/7 and are ready to find you the solution to your all your private charter needs.

Can you explain the service you provide to your clients?

At Air Charter Service we work with a variety of clients - from individuals to major multinational companies - providing a hassle-free fast and effective charter service for them. Our customers come to us with a requirement and we find the ideal solution - whether it be a helicopter transfer, an executive jet, or a full airliner, we have access to thousands of aircraft worldwide, which we constantly monitor so we always find the right, customised solution.

We have a ‘duty telephone line' and a roster, which ensures that whether it be passenger or cargo a client's needs can be dealt with at any time.

Each broker manages his own account so he or she will know the requirements of their customer, such as if they prefer a smoking or non-smoking cabin for example.

What makes ACS different from its competitors?

ACS has its own unique way of doing business. We provide a personal service to all of our clients 24/7, which sets us apart from the rest of our competitors. We take all our trainee brokers to our London office for training; there they learn the technical, legal, and negotiation skills to be capable of offering a service in excess of our competitors. Each client is assigned his or her personal account manager, no voice mail, no operations department, just round the clock availability of an expert.

ACS also ensures that, even in good times, it stays in touch with all its clients on a regular basis cementing the relationship and friendship, to ensure that we understand the client's current needs and preferences.

In addition ACS has a strategy of setting up offices on each continent to enable a global reach. ACS now has offices in the Middle East, Far East, North America, Africa and offices in Europe. With the central training in London, and conferences where the worldwide staff meet every year, getting to know the new employees.This enables the offices to liaise with each other to enable the best availability of aircraft to be accessed whilst gaining the best prices for its clients, achieving maximum customer satisfaction. Within the ACS office in Dubai we have local language speakers as well as throughout our global offices. This enables local knowledge to prevail and therefore again benefits out clients.

How has the company coped with the economic situation?

The slowing economy has changed things. With regards to passenger charters, customers who worked in finance, real estate etc have gone, but now we have high net worth individuals on our books, as opposed to corporate companies. We do not offer jet card schemes as we do not believe it is a product our customers need. We think that it is not beneficial to our customers.

Jet cards end up costing the customer unreasonable amounts for certain charters and lock them into a long term contract. ACS believes only our service should matter, and that there should be no obligation to come to us based on essentially what is a lock in agreement.

Our business model is tried and tested and we are confident that with our financial strength we can back emerging trends that we believe in.

The fractional ownership phenomenon wasn't in my opinion based on concrete principles. I compare it to timeshare apartments in Spain. Were people buying for a real need or deluded by the concept of partially owning an aircraft? Timeshare in aviation saw fast growth and then a huge collapse.

It only took 10 years to fail but with tremendous losses of hundreds of millions of dollars you wonder if it will ever make a come-back.

With regard to ACS, it gives us the opportunity to explain that we do not have hidden charges post flight. An ad hoc service can offer as much as a 30-50 percent saving for the customer when compared to a jet card scheme.

And how, specifically, is the ACS Dubai office faring?

August and September 2009 were record months for Air Charter Service's Dubai office. We witnessed the largest increase in ad hoc charters since we started operations. We have performed 2,700 charters worldwide so far this year - 500 more than at the same time last year.

While some companies are struggling, we have won new business as customers search for a better deal. We have also retained customers by pre-empting the economic slump and reducing our own rates in order to make money through volume increases rather than profit margin. This strategy has worked as our business is up, and our customers are getting a better deal.

What are the company's plans for growth?

We have already opened three new offices worldwide this year. The first, which was our Johannesburg venture, gives us a presence in Africa, and we are already seeing the benefits of having local knowledge of the region's market. Tokyo expands our Far East operation, as we already have an office in Hong Kong which is proving very successful. Most recently Paris is our third European office alongside our London headquarters and our office in Spain.

We have plans in place for more offices in the future with key destinations already pinpointed.

We believe in local knowledge, and this has been highlighted by the instant success of our new offices - offering unique solutions to our clients worldwide.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.