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UPTURN IN THE AUTOMOTIVE MARKET SEES ACS RE-INTRODUCE MANAGED FLEET

10 October 2010

Air Charter Service has recently re-introduced its managed fleet, initially taking on one European registered Antonov 26. After only a week of operation the aircraft has already hit its target for its first month of flying, all with ad-hoc charter business, for a variety of different customers.

The aircraft is based at Birmingham International Airport, which is ideally situated in the Midlands (in central England) and is operational 24 hours a day. The operations team at the airport are able to dispatch the aircraft within two hours of confirmation which makes it ideal for urgent ‘go now’ flights. It can carry more than 5 tons and is a rear loading aircraft which means that it can take almost any pallet size as it is not restricted to regular side door dimensions.

ACS, which has offices across North America, Europe, CIS, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, has a long history of aircraft management dating back to the 1990s when the company managed an AN-124 in Africa. Between 1997 and 2008 they had a fleet of aircraft – as many as seven at a time including AN-26s, AN-12s and AN-74s, IL 76 and even a B707 which were all based first in Ostend Airport, then later in East Midlands Airport – but when the global recession started to kick in the decision was taken to suspend operations until the market for “just in time” production related cargo, especially automotive cargo, picked up again.

Justin Lancaster, Cargo Director, commented: “Having personally worked with our managed fleet since 2002, it was a sad decision when we ceased operations in 2008. However it was seen as necessary at the time to re-focus on different industries which we expected to be less affected by the recession. That decision has proved to be the right one as we experienced continuous growth through the downturn through gaining many new clients in other markets and now we are excited to have the operation up and running again.”

Group Commercial Director Justin Bowman, who personally spent 2 months working in Africa in the mid 1990s on ACS’s managed AN-124, has been delighted with the initial response to the aircraft: “It’s been a fantastic start to operations. Earlier this year, we saw a significant increase in demand from our customers in regards to the capacity and fast reaction times, and reasonable costs required by industries, such as automotive, which often couldn’t be met by the existing aircraft available on the market. So we decided to re-start operations a couple of months ago and the team have done a great job getting the operation going so quickly. If I am honest I never expected the incredible start we have had but I’m certainly not complaining.”

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