Coronavirus Spurs Air Charter Demand

(Global) Air Charter Service ‘Inundated’ with Requests

Demand for chartered air freight has risen sharply in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus, according to logistics provider Air Charter Service.

The firm reports that it has been inundated with requests for charters as customers seek to ship cargo affected by disruptions and move personnel to safety. Medical cargoes of up to 100 tonnes have been delivered on charter flights as existing transport systems have been decimated.

“Since the outbreak, our offices around the world have been arranging flights on local charter aircraft as the world deals with the travel disruption and overall cut to capacity to the region,” sid Justin Lancaster, ACS’s commercial director, adding “it has been all systems go since the epidemic was first reported.”

Regulatory Challenges

The firm also reports an uptick in relief cargoes into the region, including protective overalls, medical gloves and millions of surgical masks.

“Perhaps our biggest challenge is ensuring that all government and medical advice is followed to prevent spreading infection. This week we had to cancel four flights due to changes in regulations in certain countries,” Lancaster notes.

Air Partner has experience from air freight assistance during the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak, when the firm operated flights every 48 hours carrying cargo of medical equipment and supplies, vehicles, construction materials and protective clothing. ​ACS arranges about 9,000 charters per year and employs 300 staff worldwide. The group operates a network of offices spanning North America, South America, Europe, Africa, CIS, Middle East and Asia.

Air Partner Evacuates UK/EU Nationals

AIr charter demand has also been driven by the need to move foreign nationals from China, with aviation services group Air Partner reporting that it had the evacuated over 300 British and EU nationals from Wuhan over the last month.

"The coronavirus outbreak has been an extremely difficult time for everyone involved and we are very pleased to have safely repatriated a large number of British and EU nationals on behalf of the UK government. The circumstances were challenging, the deadlines tight and difficult permissions were required but we were able to execute the evacuation on account of the experience and dedication of our combined Air Partner team,” said Mark Briffa, CEO at Air Partner.

Operating 17 offices across three continents, Air Partner is headquarteed in the UK and employs around 450 aviation professionals globally