2016 did not have exceptional events like 2015, but Air Charter Service (ACS) group cargo director, Dan Morgan-Evans (above) says core business continues to grow and there are more advanced bookings to look forward to in 2017.
He tells Air Cargo Week staff writer in Johannesburg at Air Cargo Africa that figures at the start of 2015 were affected by exceptional events such as the US West coast seaport congestion, giving the Far East and Americas offices a major boost, and there was not anything comparable this year but some offices are performing very well.
Morgan-Evans comments: “It’s always difficult to cover those big exceptional events unless you have exceptional events the next year but the core underlying business was up when you take out those special events.”
He says the Hong Kong office continues to flourish, and “its really got some traction with movements out of the Far East going into Europe, going to India, some flights to South America as well. That office is really growing.”
ACS opened an office in Sydney last January, and Morgan-Evans says it had an “exceptional year” and the pressure is on for this year. Europe also did well, with the London office growing 15 per cent driven by the automotive market for internal European flights.
ACS started its on-board courier service in 2015, and it doubled the amount of shipments and is an area Morgan-Evans says tags onto its existing business. He says: “We already have the customers and we can offer them this new service.
“It is amazing how they were doing this and not really asking us to have this service before but now with our hub in Frankfurt it has given us another string to our bow.”
The company’s financial year starts on 1 February, so it is hard to say how it is going as it has only just started, but Morgan-Evans is happy with how it has gone so far, and ACS is where it was at last year.
He says: “In the business we are in you don’t often see so many forward bookings. It’s nice to have some booking on board straight away.”
Most charters are ad-hoc, ACS were called upon to assist with an AOG in Canada, nothing unusual in itself except that it was in Iqaluit in the far North of Canada, after a Swiss International Airlines Boeing 777-300ER suffered engine problems.
He says it was a logistical challenge getting an Antonov over there, with an aircraft engine coming from Zurich.
Morgan-Evans says the cold weather gave the engineers a challenge, but it got changed and the broken engine was flown back to East Midlands Airport.
Elsewhere oil and gas is picking up, there have been more enquiries for project work and it has done a few charters. Morgan-Evans says: “I can definitely feel it is picking up, project work with take a lot longer, I don’t think we will see that change over the next 12 to 18 months but the ad-hocs are starting to roll round again so it’s good to see that happening.”