Air Charter Service’s James Royds-Jones on the Private Jet Market in APAC

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James Royds-Jones, Private Jets Director, APAC, speaks with ASG’s Jeffrey Lowe on the private jet charter market in APAC. He starts off with the background of Air Charter Service – just a basement start-up in the house of Founder Chris Leach and discusses the company’s worldwide reach with over 30 offices and a diversified business scope – cargo, passenger, and group. James gives his views on the charter market during COVID-19, how there are no easy charters in Asia – even before COVID, speaks on the sales approach to new customers and touches on illegal charter.

Main Content


James’ personal background and experience


Air Charter Service Founder, Chris Leach: starting in the basement of his house to today 30 offices worldwide


A family business approach to customer service


ACS’ geographic distribution: starting in London and moving across the world


All facets of the charter business: cargo, private jets, and commercial


Diversification & geographic scope aids in the current environment


How was 2019?; How is business ‘normally’?; Working Hard


ABACE 2019 was an indicator: quieter than normal, operators going out of business & reducing fleet sizes, tough years


Preferences in Asia: Bigger is better, shiny & new, short hops, Bombardier & Gulfstream


COVID-19 comes around and hits the radar around Chinese New Year


Moving into February, clients then looked to leave the region to the US & Europe


Coping with COVID-19: The phones start ringing & the ACS team camps out under their desks to provide support and that ‘can-do’ attitude


The different phases of private, commercial, and cargo during COVID-19. Private jets first.


Commercial group flights: Repatriation flights, followed by a lull, some new group activity now


Cargo experienced a prolonged, big spike from March to July


An inflow of PPE, followed by an outflow of PPE


Commercial airliners moving into the cargo business


Diversification, resources and size allows ACS to weather the storm


The status of private jet charter market today – less than ideal. Record inquiries are up, but making those flights happen is difficult, with a very low conversion rate


There are no easy charters in Asia, hence the need for brokers


Extra measures during COVID-19 and responding to individual preferences from each passenger


The health & safety measures are here to stay, and private flying is even more appealing


Fleet availability in APAC: owner aircraft vs dedicated charter; Aircraft and the pool getting smaller


But more demand for private flying, as commercial becomes a less viable option. Perfect storm: less supply / higher need. Oh! And a global recession


Asia lacks fractional ownership and membership programs, so charter is the only way to go


Proactively keeping customers updated through e-mail and video during COVID-19


Changing approach to customers - hunters vs harvesters and the new types of customers


Owner-operators now less likely to charter an illegal flight


Do we need to do more and what?


There’s no grey charter only illegal charter, role of AsBAA and educating users


What needs to change? Price difference between charter in Asia vs. the US and Europe - more infrastructure is needed!

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