Strong freight performance for Air Partner

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Air Partner’s statutory profits before tax increased by 20.4 per cent for the year ending 31 January 2018, with the freight division performing well.

Statutory profits before tax were up from £4 million to £4.8 million while the freight sector had a record year with gross profits up 202.4 per cent and client numbers at their highest numbers.

The performance was driven by charters carried out across the Caribbean to support the relief efforts following hurricanes Irma and Maria, new hires over the period and on going contracts in the Middle East.

In April 2018 Air Partner underwent an accounting review after issues predominantly relating to the accounting for receivables and deferred incomes originating from 2010/11 were identified.

Company chairman, Peter Saunders describes it as an “unwelcome, challenging and costly event, and certainly not how any business would wish to start a new financial year” though adding it was an accounting issue and not a business issue.

Chief financial officer Neil Morris resigned with Chris Mann taking over in the interim, and Saunders says the rectification of issues is under way.

Air Partner will incur a cost of £1.3 million in the 2018/9 financial year as a result of the review and an aborted acquisition.

The company says that despite compelling strategic attractions of the acquisition, it had to focus on the accounting issues, meaning that despite six months of work and being days from an announcement, Air Partner had to let exclusivity lapse, with a cost of £0.5 million being incurred.

On 4 June, Air Partner opened an office in Los Angeles, servicing southern California and the West Coast markets, strengthening the company’s existing US network, which includes New York, Fort Lauderdale and Washington DC.

Air Partner chief executive officer, Mark Briffa says: “We are delighted to have opened an office in Los Angeles, providing local Air Partner representation to our established customers, and enabling us to deliver our services the length and breadth of the West Coast.

“Expanding our North American presence is a natural progression for Air Partner, as we see significant potential for growth given the diversity of industries that would benefit from our services and capabilities in Private Jets, Commercial Jets and Freight.”