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1 January 2011

Air Charter Service is optimistic that 2011 will be a strong year in the cargo charter market after having its record ever year in 2010 fuelled by the automotive and oil & gas sectors.

Justin Lancaster, Cargo Sales Director at ACS’s London office, said: “2010 was a really strong year for ACS, and I think the air cargo business in general picked up a lot after the downturn. We were particularly strong for a number of reasons though. One of them being that the automotive sector grew very quickly part way through the year and, because of this, the supply chains could not cope. This meant that charters were required every day to support the manufacturers’ supply chains. This, in turn, led us to reintroduce our managed fleet of aircraft – starting with the AN-26. Based in Birmingham, it proved an instant hit and has been flying almost non-stop since early October. The sector is still extremely busy and shows no signs of letting up for the foreseeable future. Hopefully we will be adding more aircraft to the managed fleet in the coming year.

Another industry fuelling the cargo charter business at the moment is the oil and gas sector, with the high oil prices stimulating the industry into exploration and development. There is, however, a downside to these price rises. Lancaster explains: “Oil prices are continuously on the rise, which is good in the sense that it is bringing in oil related charters for us but, on the flipside, this also means that the general aviation fuel prices are going up, which obviously leads to a hike in all transportation costs across the board and could affect the business that we get from other sectors”.

ACS itself has experienced huge expansion in the last year or so, adding a number of offices in the past 18 months alone – the latest being São Paulo – with plans for more in 2011.

Lancaster continued: “Having our extensive global network of offices has helped us a great deal too, giving us the ability to share the local expertise with other offices and by finding backloads and improving our service and prices to our customers worldwide. Here in the London office we have the largest single trading floor of cargo charter experts in the world.”

Air Charter Service grew by around 40% last year and now arranges over 5,000 charters, turning over more than $300million. Its worldwide network of offices spans five continents, combining local knowledge with global buying power.

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