Each year Air Partner successfully handles countless flights for clients in the automotive industry. Clive Chalmers, Director Commercial Jets UK at Air Partner discusses the ins and outs of handling flight programmes for automotive events:
What specific requirements do clients in the automotive industry have?
Clive Chalmers: Our clients in the automotive industry have a wide range of reasons for chartering a flight, from vehicle presentations to press trips, test drives, conferences, and incentive events, right through to corporate shuttles. Most of the time it's a case of complicated, large-scale projects for which a huge number of guests from many different countries need to be flown to a central destination over a specific time period. We work very closely with our airline tickets department here as in the case of the automotive industry, a combination of group airline tickets and group charters is usually the most suitable solution.
Could you give us a practical example?
Clive Chalmers: A really good example was a large project involving a vehicle presentation for a car manufacturer, for which we needed to fly about 20,000 dealers and employees to Kalamata in Greece from 44 European airports over the course of nine weeks. Each day, Air Partner Germany brought around 400 guests to the event destination in two to four charter planes, before bringing them back the next day. Over the entire duration of the project, the average punctuality rate for the flights was 98%.
Our ServicePLUS team organised a gate buffet at the check-in of the respective departure airports and arranged the transportation of all the luggage from Kalamata airport to the hotel and back. In order to avoid unnecessary waiting time on the day of the travellers’ departure, Air Partner provided six 'off airport check-in' desks at the hotel for the guests, enabling them to conveniently check in after breakfast.
How does Air Partner handle individual requirements and how do you ensure that everything goes according to plan?
Clive Chalmers: With the project I have mentioned above there were six Air Partner employees working around the clock during both the preparation phase and the nine weeks of the project itself. This was an essential requirement to ensure a project of this size ran smoothly. You always need to be able to react quickly to unforeseen circumstances. In this case, the entire flight programme could be carried out without significant delay, despite a general strike taking place in Greece at the end of November.
The conditions at the airport itself also proved challenging. Kalamata is first and foremost a military airport. Only about 30% of the flights are civilian flights, and because of this, the handling facilities are limited. Thanks to their many years of experience, Air Partner was able to work closely with the airport to ensure that everything went according to plan even in light of the relevant security requirements.
Air Partner offers a complete service that includes the purchasing, handling and monitoring of all of the flight logistics. After every take off, the client receives a report via our reporting tool. That way, the client has a clear overview of recent departures and their expected arrival time, as well as how many passengers and pieces of luggage are on board. When running events, this is valuable information that is extremely helpful for the organisers and rounds off our flight solution service.
And don't forget: thanks to our excellent relationships with airlines we can offer our clients the very best terms – a key requirement for most companies in the automotive industry.
How many flights does Air Partner run annually for the automotive industry?
Clive Chalmers: Last year we flew over 50,000 passengers from the auto industry to various events, including 44,000 dealers and over 2000 journalists. Our clients include a wide range of car manufacturers, suppliers and event agencies.
Our aviation experts can provide you with more information on group travel for events.