The value of round-the-clock flight operations support

This week we take a quick look at the importance of 24-hour flight support – a crucial part of being able to successfully manage scores of cargo charters around the world on a 24-hour basis, 365 days a year.

Operations divisions are sometimes undervalued when clients select a charter provider, but part of being a good broker is the ability to anticipate operational problems and ensure they never come to fruition. 

Our experience has taught us to always have Plan A, B and C. There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer than hearing their cargo has arrived at its destination airport, but the ground handler can’t be located, or they don’t have the correct equipment to unload the pieces. Likewise, operations can easily be delayed if fuel hasn’t been secured in advance, or airport fees are unpaid.

Chapman Freeborn’s service is 24/7/365 - backed up by our own in-house operations division Wings 24 which offers flight support services to Chapman Freeborn and an array of external clients including international humanitarian organisations and ad hoc charter airlines in both the passenger and cargo sector.

The Wings 24 team specialises in finding quick solutions for challenging charter operations - arranging civil and diplomatic overflight and landing clearances, airport slots, CFMU slot management, flight planning, fuel, ground handling, catering and hotel reservations for crews. 

Dave Selby, Commercial Manager, says:

“It’s important to have flight operations expertise in-house. These days charter customers want to work with professional companies who have absolutely every base covered - from 24 hour operations teams to in-house legal and compliance departments who understand the intricacies of the contracting process.

He adds:

“Smaller brokers generally aren’t able to offer this level of operational support, so in the middle of the night when a problem occurs there’s not necessarily someone available to respond and solve the issue. This is where companies like Wings 24 add real value and expedite urgent shipments.”

Wings 24’s expertise also extends beyond commercial cargo movements – due to Chapman Freeborn’s global expertise in managing humanitarian airlifts.

Every humanitarian airlift operation is different and whether it’s an airdrop contract or a more conventional cargo movement charter companies are presented with a unique set of operational challenges to overcome.

In terms of sudden aid airlift operations, bottlenecks can quickly occur at key hubs if the airport infrastructure is unable to handle the sudden surge in cargo arriving for onward distribution. 

Wings 24 is responsible for closely monitoring the situation in the aftermath of disasters – establishing local airport contacts and advising on any capacity issues. Common issues arising at overstretched airports can range from locating the handling agents to retrieving cargo or aircraft pallets once the aircraft has been successfully unloaded.

A further challenge with many emergency airlifts is securing fuel for operations in remote regions, as well as all of the necessary overflight, landing and diplomatic permissions. For this reason, aid agencies will generally turn to charter specialists with full in-house operations capabilities and extensive experience in managing aid airlifts. 

There is no one set of rules that apply to commercial cargo charters or large scale humanitarian airlifts, so choosing a provider with a professional 24-hour operations division is always advisable.

For more information on any of our specialist services please contact us.

+44 (0) 1293 655422 

4th February 2016