ACC Aviation, the global aviation services group, marked its 20th anniversary in June, having enjoyed a solid second quarter. The last three months have been dominated by busy executive jet charter activity for ACC Aviation, coupled with new banking and lessor clients contracting its asset management and consultancy division.
“Charter flight bookings were up 30% in Q2 compared with the same period in 2021 – on both sides of the Atlantic,” noted Director of Charter, Richard Smith. Bookings covered a wide spectrum of aircraft, from four-seat Cessna Mustangs to long-haul airliners. In Q2, ACC Aviation’s charter team, bolstered in April with the arrival of Senior Account Manager Rez Selman from Qatar Executive, saw requests for executive jets to move displaced crews and spare aircraft parts for European airline partners. Meanwhile, in the US, the ACC team arranged the return of crew to their cruise ships when airline alternatives weren’t available. “During Q2, we saw last-minute bookings becoming the norm,” noted Jamie Harris, President Americas, ACC Aviation.
COVID-19’s impact on the industry created a raft of airline disruptions – cancellations and delays caused by staff shortages. This shifted the ratio of commercial/executive aircraft bookings. In June, we saw a 50/50 split across the business, which historically held a heavy bias towards large airline charter flight bookings. “The private jet terminals that host executive jets were less impacted by workforce issues, so on some occasions, we dispatched three 30-seat regional jets versus a 100-seater to help avoid main terminals,” noted Director of Charter, Richard Smith.
In addition, Q2 saw ACC undertaking more sports charters with A320 and B737 aircraft, including the continuation of regular soccer team charters in the US. May and June also saw more charters to away games for various European matches.
Charter activity included:
- Executive aircraft charters for HNWIs to popular holiday hotspots, including Mykonos, Balearic Islands, Bermuda, and Barbados.
- Regular shuttle flights for a European aircraft OEM, enabling flight crews to be in the right place to meet delivery schedules.
- Arranging a sports team’s charter in Eastern Europe.
- Contributing to the start of Euro’s 2022 Women’s Football by providing transport around Europe and arriving into Southampton Airport.
- Supported a national Ice Hockey team, flying a team member between Missouri and Florida after commercial flights were cancelled. ACC arranged the private flight at short notice within 24 hours of the request for a new client.
- European Cruise lines have been running regular program charters between Europe and Norway to cover charges and a reduction in commercial scheduled flights.
In June, ACC Aviation became a dedicated sales and marketing agent for an all-VIP Boeing B757-200, operated by Freedom II. The 62-seat VIP aircraft is capable of transporting passengers and their luggage over a great distance of up to 5,200 miles.
Medium-term ACMI contracts trend
Reflecting this positive trend, ACC Aviation’s leasing division experienced a surge in medium-term (one to three-month) Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance (ACMI) contracts as airlines reacted to the lack of crew and ground resources at the start of the bolstered International Air Transport Association (IATA) summer season. “Delayed aircraft deliveries and bottleneck certification for aircraft coming on to European operator Air Operator Certificate’s (AOC’s) exacerbated the situation,” noted ACC Aviation’s Director of Leasing Dave Williams.
The lack of ACMI narrowbody aircraft into June saw airlines booking alternative wide-bodied aircraft to cover schedules. They also doubled up routes to fill these larger aircraft. ACC worked with airlines to modify take-off and landing slots and ensure extended ground handling resources were available as carriers introduced different aircraft onto original schedules. “This extra activity will continue into Q3 as airlines still have the same issues,” Dave Williams added.
Consulting division – trading highlights for Q2
ACC Aviation’s consulting division continued to see evolution and growth in its asset management and advisory services. The division welcomed new clients and extended work with existing customers across various asset-related advisory services.
Key trading highlights included:
- Engagement by an African financial institution for repossession, valuation, and remarketing services concerning the liquidation of Comair.
- Managed the technical inspection, acquisition, and ferry of a B737-300 on behalf of an Asian buyer.
- Provided valuation and transaction advisory services to a leading Export Import bank.
- Provided technical representation and inspection services for a leading Middle Eastern lessor – in relation to the redelivery and onward remarketing of a portfolio of A330 aircraft.
- Performed several pre-lease / delivery inspections on behalf of Avion Express, as it ramped up its fleet for the post-Covid recovery.
- Engaged by an African lessor for the remarketing and lease placement of a forward order book of three Embraer E190-E1 aircraft.
- Engaged by a family office to perform a valuation and pre-purchase inspection of a Challenger 850, as well as advisory on the management agreement.
- During Q2 attended several events, including the AFRAA Aviation Stakeholders Meeting – presented on ‘ACMI Leases, Operating Leases, and Aircraft Ownership – a Comparison’, Airfinance Journal Dublin; Airline Economics’ Growth Frontiers Dublin – presented on ‘Aviation Financing and Leasing Structures – Potential Challenges and Solutions’; Airline Economics Growth Frontiers Tel Aviv; Air Finance Africa and AviaDev Africa.
“This was a busy and diverse quarter of work accomplished by the ACC Aviation team,” commented CEO Phil Mathews. “The strong relationships we have built with our airline partners these past two decades benefited the group significantly. These collaborations, combined with the knowledge and extensive industry contacts we regularly draw on, enable us to handle multi-faceted requests easily and quickly.”
In June, the ACC global offices celebrated the company’s 20th anniversary at Leeds Castle, Kent, attended by ACC founder Chris Clapham, the founder of the company.