We have over 50 years’ experience chartering aircraft for top sports teams globally. Find out more about some of the trends we are seeing for pre-season tours and the importance of working with a reliable travel partner.
The demand for pre-season tours has definitely grown over the last few years both in terms of the distances some teams travel and the number of clubs that take part. The primary attraction is the investment that countries around the globe are putting into the industry, so it makes sense that the clubs arrange friendly matches, training camps and participate in competitions such as the International Champions Cup. Despite its logistical challenges China is becoming increasingly popular with clubs as well as the USA, Asia and Australia. We have organised some complex pre-season tours in 2018 across USA, Europe and Asia. Moreover, there is also an increase in clubs chartering aircraft to take them to training camps globally.
Dealing with countries such as China provides its own challenges, particularly when visiting cities like Beijing and Shanghai. The airports for these cities are very busy with heavy restrictions on additional flights both in the form of runway slots and terminal capacity. As such, often multiple aircraft solutions utilising smaller aircraft are required to avoid these restrictions.
In addition to these issues, it is the small details that make such a big difference. Remembering each club's complex catering requirements can go a long way in enhancing the experience for the team. We would work closely with the club's nutritionist, providing them healthy, bespoke catering. Similarly, personalising the whole charter through the use of headrest covers with the club's badge, branded pre-printed boarding cards and iPad's with the team's language can really make a difference on the day. We never underestimate the importance of these details to the client's experience.
It's about making the experience as seamless as possible and ultimately getting the passengers to their destination safely and on time. We have our own in-house compliance department, which evaluates every aircraft we charter to ensure they meet standards and regulations. In addition to this, the aviation safety management and consulting company Baines Simmons that's part of the Air Partner group can conduct full-scale audits of the airline operators that we propose – a service that was utilised recently by a sports team to give them that extra peace of mind. We also have Flight Managers on-board the aircraft so that we can co-ordinate and bring together the arrangements on the day of the operation and facilitate a smooth travel experience for our clients.
The Air Partner Flight Manager would travel with the team on the tour. Once clubs arrive at their destination the Flight Manager would oversee the unloading and clearance of the team's baggage and equipment. In addition, they would meet with all relevant airport parties and authorities prior to the departure of the next leg, either at a Main Airport Terminal or a Fixed Based Operator (FBO). Things that need to be considered for the team are, security, checking the catering is in line with expectations and ensuring all equipment and bagged is loaded on the aircraft to allow for an on time departure.
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Article as featured in FC Business