Aircraft Management with a “UNITED” difference

Managing Director of UCS talks aircraft ownership, management and operations

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Owning your own aircraft should be a positive experience,

One where the aircraft owner spends time on-board enjoying their amazing asset. This enjoyment is only enhanced when the aircraft owner has the peace of mind that all the back office administration, financial management, regulatory compliance and red tape are competently and professionally managed with absolute financial efficiency.

Some aircraft owners elect to assign the majority of aircraft management duties to the pilot, or senior pilot in the case of multi-pilot aircraft. This is a task that is outside the duties for which pilots have been trained i.e. to fly aircraft professionally and safely. In some instances, the pilot may never before have managed an aircraft in which case it can be a truly daunting undertaking. One has to consider that a large percentage of pilots today begin their training straight out of matric or university. They then spend at least 12 months in ground school training and flight training to earn their wings. During this time, there is no emphasis on managing the asset they will end up operating. This is, in our opinion, a grave oversight for pilots wishing to follow a career in private business aviation.

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Inevitably, the pilot gains aircraft management experience through trial and error. Unfortunately, the road to experience for the pilot can be a costly, inefficient affair for the owner! 

Even business owners with employees and managers tasked with operations, finance, legal and administration find managing an aircraft a difficult and often expensive experience. You may ask yourself, why this is the case? Surely it can’t be that difficult?

Simply put, the complexities involved in the management and operation of aircraft are in a league of their own. In fact, the process of managing and operating an aircraft is a little like running a large business, in terms of the structures that need to be implemented in order to do it effectively. 

One only needs to consider the multiple facets involved in owning and operating aircraft… keeping up with the ever-changing regulatory requirements both locally and internationally, the associated upgrades required to keep ahead of the technology curve, implementation and fine-tuning of maintenance planning, parts acquisitions, pilot training and selection, pilot recurrent training, fatigue management, programme subscription planning, financial planning and management… the list goes on. 

For the owner who wants an aircraft without the hassle, an outsourced management and operations solution is the most beneficial route to follow. An assessment of all the available options is necessary to ensure the aircraft is managed effectively and operated efficiently, inside a safety culture and with the greatest cost benefit.

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Some charter operators offer ancillary aircraft management services, where pilots are either directly employed or contracted on a freelance basis to operate the aircraft under the supervision of the charter companies’ operations staff. Often the pilots are then tasked with managing the aircraft for the aircraft owner with access to the operator’s finance personnel (for coordination of billing), but the majority of management duties still lie with the pilot/s. Of course there is some level of charter operator management, but at this point most operators are trying to do what they do best – manage the charter operation and fly aircraft. 

Another option can include stand-alone aviation professionals who offer their experience as the primary reason to engage their services. However, this option can often lead to less than effective results, as the overall scope of a truly turnkey aircraft management service requires a solid team of professionals, each with their own particular areas of expertise, working in unison to ensure the maximum benefit to the aircraft owner. 

Without doubt the preferred solution for aircraft owners wanting a seamless experience is to contract the services of a professional aircraft management and operations company. This is because the organisation is geared to provide the specialised service that is aircraft management; as well as providing operational support for the aircraft. Even then, the effectiveness of an aircraft management and operations company can vary tremendously. 

What makes United Charter Services different?

Aviation professionals have described our aircraft management company as “unique” and that we go “above and beyond” what one would usually expect from a service provider in our field. We believe this difference can be largely attributed to our values, our people and our service provider network.

We at United Charter Services have a passion for aviation and are dedicated to ensuring that our aircraft-owner customers receive a service that exceeds their expectations, making aircraft ownership a pleasure, not a burden. 

At United Charter Services we look at things a little differently… we approach aircraft management extremely seriously, so much so that you would be excused for thinking that we actually own the aircraft we are managing. 

Whether it is going the extra mile to explore all the options globally and locally available when a part acquisition is needed, or negotiating preferential terms with a variety of trusted service providers, it takes time, it takes effort and, more than those things, it takes passion and expertise. 

Our core values that we apply to aircraft management are simple:

1) All aircraft are treated like the owner would treat them. With immense care and respect. 

2) Provide the necessary time and skills that aircraft management and operations demand in order to be effective.  

3) Respect the associated commercial aspects of ownership.

With the above values at the core of our aircraft management and operations division, United Charter Services employs the correct people to do the job, where expertise, passion, diligence and innovative thinking is an intrinsic part of our DNA.  This thinking also extends to our service providers who undergo rigorous scrutiny to ensure that they reflect our values in their businesses and everyday interaction with ourselves and their other customers. When aircraft owners see tangible results, such as savings over a set financial period, due to our efficient management of their aircraft, eyes widen in our clients’ boardrooms with the full knowledge that without our drive, vigorous management, expertise and experience, such savings could not have been achieved. 

Benefits to having your aircraft under the management and operation of United Charter Services:

  • Our teams are highly motivated, industry experts who live our values.
  • Pilots and cabin crew who are assigned to operate the aircraft are hand-picked to ensure only the highest levels of safety, professionalism and client care.  
  • Our crews have extensive VIP aircraft operation experience. They are rigorously tested for proficiency and are managed by our chief pilot and head of cabin services respectively. This reflects in our impeccable aviation safety record and standards.
  •  Coordination of all the operational financial planning and maintenance planning for the aircraft. 
  • We develop annual budgets to ensure owners can understand the expenses involved with aircraft ownership and measure cost efficiencies. Our financial reporting is perhaps the most transparent available, with each and every original supplier invoice provided to support all expenses incurred.
  • Maintenance planning is streamlined in conjunction with the aircraft manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, to ensure maximum operational availability of the aircraft. 
  • We provide on-the-ground management of aircraft maintenance tasks being carried out by appointed service providers.
  • We track all regulatory requirements that apply to key areas of ownership operation and advise owners of any requirement changes. 
  • Track and manage various aircraft programmes, documentation, subscriptions, crew training and crew documentation using our cloud-based, in-house developed software.
  • Planning and arrangement of aircraft upgrades, modernisation, interior refurbishments and aircraft painting. 
  • The option to realise income from the aircraft asset, thus reducing overall total cost of ownership, by allowing the aircraft to be placed onto our commercial operations licences. 
  • Access to our in-house flight support division and the financial benefits that come with our economies of scale.
  • Preferential aircraft insurance rates.
  • Future aircraft acquisitions and sales management.

If you would like to know more about United Charter Services’ aircraft management and operations solutions, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

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