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

(0:40)

James’ personal background and experience

(2:16)

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

(2:54)

A family business approach to customer service

(4:35)

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

(5:36)

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

(7:30)

Diversification & geographic scope aids in the current environment

(8:33)

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

(9:29)

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

(10:35)

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

(13:05)

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

(14:35)

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

(15:24)

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

(17:50)

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

(19:46)

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

(20:43)

Cargo experienced a prolonged, big spike from March to July

(21:27)

An inflow of PPE, followed by an outflow of PPE

(22:04)

Commercial airliners moving into the cargo business

(22:43)

Diversification, resources and size allows ACS to weather the storm

(25:03)

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

(26:20)

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

(27:16)

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

(29:42)

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

31:26)

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

(33:54)

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

(35:09)

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

(37:00)

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

(38:45)

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

(41:31)

Owner-operators now less likely to charter an illegal flight

(42:10)

Do we need to do more and what?

(43:00)

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

(44:33)

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

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