A Christmas message from the MD

A Christmas Message from Mark Hawkins

2012 has been another successful year for Smart Aviation, and I am delighted to be able to share some of our significant achievements, thoughts and opinions.

There is no doubt that 2012 was another tough year for the Aviation Industry, and sadly we have seen a high number of airlines disappear during 2012 due to the economic climate.   Fortunately for our customers, our contacts and industry knowledge has ensured that all of our clients are protected from airline failures. We actively ensure that we put our considerable market intelligence to good use, and protect our clients from financial risk.

In spite of the general turmoil in the industry, Smart have been able to grow in all areas of its business, but as well as new clients, we also need to remember to look after our core customers and ensure that we are still delivering the excellent customer service which they have come to expect, and I am delighted that so many of our clients continue to use Smart year after year. We have seen a growing trend of competitors trying to quote artificially reduced prices, and then trying to knock down operators prices in order to create a margin. Fortunately this short term strategy is not something we pursue at Smart, we believe that suppliers are as important to us as our customers and therefore the way to ensure success is to work in partnership with them, rather than trying to bully them.

We believe that our way of doing business creates lasting partnerships with suppliers and encourages excellent customer service for clients, two values we believe passionately in.

have seen another successful year with growth in both the adhoc charter markets and also in Tour Operating. We have secured regular contracts with large tour operators, and have throughout the year operated a significant number of charters, enjoying particular success in the Sports market, with successful flights being flown for a record number of Sports teams, both football and rugby. We are delighted to have been able to carry supporters from seven different nations to Euro 2012 and during the year have also secured contracts on behalf of National Associations. Away from Sport, we have operated many successful adhoc charters for the automotive and events industry.

have seen the largest year-on-year growth, and what is clear is that the Smart Philosophy of providing the right aircraft for our clients, not the one that makes the most margins for our shareholders is paying dividends. Our private jet business has more than doubled in the last 12 months. New clients have come to us for our ability to find cost–effective solutions to their requirements, but they are staying with us for the excellent customer service they receive. During 2012 we have arranged flights on behalf of major Sporting figures, World-famous music artists, corporate brands, such as our much publicised series of flights for Diageo, as well as ultra high net worth individuals and executives from the finance industry. All have come to discover that using a company such as Smart Aviation ensures you receive the best possible price due to our low overheads, and the fact that we don’t have the distractions of being a Plc, needing to keep city investors happy by hiking our prices to create dividends, but also we ensure that every single one of our clients receives exceptional customer service, from first enquiry to the day of the flight, with the same account manager throughout.

ACMI business has grown year-on-year, and we have invested in our team with the addition of two very experienced individuals in Steve Preston and Federico Curto who, along with Clive Head provide the 24 hours a day, seven days a week coverage for our ACMI clients. Our ACMI team is unique in that they have all performed the role of Operations Controller at an Airline, and as such, have the expertise to deal effectively with Airlines requirements, and fully understand the pressure of finding quick, economical solutions, something that we have been doing successfully all year. As well as a surge in business for ‘on the Day’ ACMI, we have also been successful in securing several long term lease contracts throughout the year, on behalf of highly prestigious clients such as British Airways, Jet2.com as well as many other major carriers worldwide. Once again we are delighted that airlines of this calibre have the faith in Smart Aviation to arrange and execute significant contracts on their behalf, and recognise the value that our 24 hour support brings to their business.

2012 also saw the launch of our new look website, and this refreshed look has given the business a more professional image and enabled prospective clients to understand more about the philosophy of the company, and get a feel for who we are and what we stand for.

We also have seen significant success this year by using Social Media to extend awareness of Smart Aviation, its brand, and what we stand for. We have some exciting plans in the New Year to further increase our business through marketing and new media.

Looking ahead to 2013, I am already excited by the prospects for Smart Aviation. We will be adding to our team early in the New Year, and expect to make further gains in the Commercial Jet Market as we look to expand our client base and encourage more people to discover the Smart philosophy. We also expect further growth in ACMI in 2013 and are already discussing several major programmes with airline clients. We also expect to make further gains in the Private Jet market, and have seen signs of business growth through recommendations from existing clients.

I would just like to finish therefore by thanking our clients for the support of the company during 2012 and we look forward to working with you again next year , and to thank our loyal suppliers, who we have thoroughly enjoyed working with this year, and who we hope have another successful year in 2013 with many successful Smart Charters!

Mark Hawkins

Managing Director – Smart Aviation