Christmas 2013 message from Mark Hawkins

Mark Hawkins 2013 Christmas Message

A review of the year – Smart Aviation’s MD Mark Hawkins.

As we come to the end of 2013, I wanted to reflect on what was another challenging, but ultimately successful year for Smart Aviation, and I am delighted, once again to share some of our significant achievements, thoughts and opinions.

2013 will certainly be a year to remember, in terms of the diversity of clients that flew with Smart , as well as some very notable contracts that we secured, however it was a challenging year, both in terms of supply, and also pressure to deliver our outstanding services as cost effectively as possible.

Sadly, and continuing a similar trend to 2012, we saw the demise of a number of suppliers during the year, due to the continuing state of the economic climate, particularly in the Airline business. However I am proud that once again, we have protected our clients from failures in the airline industry by staying well-informed, vigilant and by engaging key clients with carriers that are the lowest possible risk, ensuring our clients are protected, without them having to sign up to expensive but ultimately worthless ‘Charter guarantees’ but while still providing them with maximum financial security.

We have welcomed many new clients to Smart during 2013, and we work just as hard looking after our existing client base as we do promoting our services to new clients, and we are proud of our client retention levels, just as we are of our new client list.

in spite of the challenging market conditions, our Commercial Jets team have once again seen a successful year with growth in both the adhoc charter markets, and also in Tour Operating. Some of the highlights have included operating flights for several major Football associations for World Cup Qualifying fixtures, as well as extensive programmes for Tour Operators in the UK, and overseas, as well as a significant number of charters for conference and events and automotive clients. We have seen competitors make high profile moves into tour operating in the last year, as they look to find a way to make up for dwindling business in their traditional core areas, however we continue to enjoy growth in this area as we work hard to find innovative, and cost effective solutions for our tour operating clients.

Private Jets have once again seen growth in 2013, with a significant number of high-profile, high net worth clients now recognising the benefits of flying with Smart. Our no-nonsense clear and cost effective pricing strategy, coupled with our commitment to provide best in class customer service means that our ‘low cost/high service’ philosophy is working well for our clients in the Private Jet market. Our Private Jet clients may be extremely wealthy but they also know when they are being charged too much, and we have seen a number of clients choose Smart over other brokers who charge unreasonable commissions for an average service.

business has grown year-on-year, and the two new team members who joined us in 2012 have now earned a reputation for finding cost effective solutions for our Airline clients, no matter how challenging, 24 hours a day. Once again we are delighted that some of the World’s largest and most diverse Airline groups choose Smart Aviation to look after their requirements for bringing in replacement aircraft in the event of unserviceability or delays.  We have also once again been succesful in securing longer-term lease agreements during the peak Summer months of 2013, and this is an area we expect to grow further in the next 12 months, we are presently discussing a number of long term programmes with major clients.

Looking ahead to 2014, I am already excited by the prospects for Smart Aviation. Once again early in the New Year, we will continue our policy of careful, managed growth, with the introduction of new staff members to bolster our team. We are also expanding our premises to create a refreshed and dynamic sales environment, we hope that our new team members will open new doors for us in several new markets, and I look forward to reporting their successes in the coming months.

I would just like to finish therefore by thanking our clients for their loyal support of Smart Aviation during 2013 and we look forward to working with you again next year. Finally a big thank you to our suppliers, who we have thoroughly enjoyed working with again this year, and who we hope will continue to provide us with their support in 2014 as the company continues to flourish.