Air Charter takes on unusual jobs

Outsized loads and VVIP events no problem for UAE charter firm.
NEWS, Aviation

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Air Charter International (ACI), the Dubai-based aircraft charter and leasing company, is experiencing an upward trend in the number of charters involving unusual or complicated requirements.

In early May the company tackled a logistically complicated charter in the Middle East to support a luxury car company, which is currently rolling out a worldwide launch of a new vehicle. The launch, which will be announced officially in 2013, saw over 100 VVIP customers flown from GCC countries including Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Oman to Dubai. In a unique operation ACI chartered three Cessna 208A amphibian seaplanes from its subsidiary company, Seawings, to fly guests into Dubai for the presentation.

The logistics were complicated by the fact that all 100 passengers had to be flown in and out in one day. Using its knowledge and local network, Air Charter International was able to gain approval from the Gulf Civil Aviation Authority to enter Military Airspace and land on a private airstrip in Dubai. With a tight schedule ACI had to be specific on timings to ensure aircraft landed and departed on schedule.

“We are seeing a growing trend in luxury brands utilizing our services for special events such as car launches and desert challenges. Organisers recognise the benefits of private jets, helicopters and seaplanes in creating an unforgettable experience,” said Caroline Jongma, Charter Sales at ACI. “ACI has the expertise and contacts needed to handle the complicated challenges presented by such events and are consequently seeing a growing demand for this type of service."

Further demonstrating its liking for the unusual, ACI was responsible for the urgent delivery of two hydraulic cylinders from Amsterdam to Dubai in May. This is the second time that ACI has been involved in this specific type of charter with the first being dispatched last year.

To manage the charter ACI project manager Ian McEwan, who has over 25 years’ experience in the field, was dispatched to the Netherlands where the cargo was originating. He advised on how to construct cradles for the cylinders to prevent them falling through the aircraft floor and was on site to ensure safe loading. An Emirates Sky cargo nose loader 747-400 freighter carried the shipment on a seven hour journey from Holland to the UAE.

“Handling cylinders that are over 11 metres long, weighing over 36 tonnes, and of extremely high value requires specific expertise to handle,” said Jongma. “Ian was the perfect man for the job and we utilized his unique knowledge and wealth of charter experience to deliver an extremely challenging load.”

ACI has been working with outsized charter for over 20 years as it regularly ships machinery and equipment for the oil trade to Nigeria, Angola and Sudan.

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