Air Charter Association: ‘Tonnes of green shoots in the industry’


“We are getting a lot more publicity about what we do as a sector and, probably for the first time in a long time, it’s not the bad the stories that the press prefer to hear, they are actually understanding really what we do,” Dave Edwards, CEO, Air Charter Association (ACA), told Corporate Jet Investor Town Hall’s 400-plus delegates yesterday (August 20th).

Addressing the current state of the charter market in the wake of Covid-19, Edwards said there were “tonnes of green shoots”. Standing out has been interest from prospective clients in the market being converted into clientele. Also, the mainstream media, really for the first time, has recognised the role that business aviation plays, said the ACA CEO.

“Where the large aircraft [business jet] sector comes in is in flying people back on repatriations. And, of course, if it wasn’t for the freight airlines a lot of us would not have had any PPE for the first few months of Covid-19. So there are some amazing stories out there and I am sure if you ask me again in January it will look a lot greener.”

Green shoots aside, there are a number of significant challenges facing the industry, according to Edwards. He thinks it would be wise to err on the side of caution when it comes to statistics, which appear to suggest a big increase in charter business enquiries but do not necessarily reflect real activity.

From a trade body perspective, he said: “I don’t think it’s as good as everybody hopes it is. Yes, it is up on last week, percentage wise it’s up on last month, on last year it’s not. That’s the concern, what is driving it at the moment. Is it mainly leisure travel which is what most of our members seem to see. If it is leisure travel then will that last into fourth quarter and the answer to that is potentially not.”