smart since 2005

Smart Aviation Heads Straight to the Finals

football

 

16 May 2022: Smart Aviation, the leaders in global sports aircraft chartering, is reporting a record number of sports group charter bookings as the culmination of 2021-2022 sporting seasons come to a climax this May. Over the last 17 years, we have transported thousands of teams, media, VIPS and sporting fans to high profile sporting fixtures all across the world. Following two years of restricted travel due to Covid-19, the sporting arm of the business is back with a bang, chartering a vast array of flights to key football and rugby tournament finals in Spain and France over the next few weeks. 

Smart Aviation has arranged 13 dedicated charters for Rangers F.C. fans who will see their team take on Eintracht Frankfurt in the UEFA Europa League Final on Wednesday, 18th May 2022. The complex schedule of chartered flights includes a mix of day trips and overnight trips from Glasgow to the beautiful Spanish city of Seville, where the match will be played at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán Stadium. 

Liverpool F.C. look to continue their winning streak following their FA Cup victory over Chelsea F.C. last Saturday, as they head to the UEFA Champions League Final in Paris on Saturday, 28th May to play against Real Madrid. Smart Aviation is arranging charters for Liverpool’s loyal fans who hope to see their team lift the trophy for the seventh time. 

Smart Aviation’s comprehensive sports charter operation is also involved in the Rugby League’s Heineken Champions Cup Final on Saturday, 28th May. Irish favourites Leinster will battle it out against La Rochelle in the beautiful Stade Vélodrome in Marseille. Passionate Irish fans will travel alongside sporting officials and VIPS to Marsellie in France, on a variety of different charters from Dublin, planned meticulously by Smart Aviation. 

Alongside these chartered flights, Smart Aviation is also working on a range of bespoke private jet bookings for clients to travel to Paris, Seville and Marseille in style from a range of UK private jet terminals.

Smart representatives will be on hand at each of the departing airports to ensure a smooth departure for both new and existing clients, which is all part of the Smart Service – going that extra mile to provide exceptional customer care.

Smart Aviation was founded in 2005 by Managing Director Mark Hawkins, an established sports charter specialist with almost 30 years’ experience in senior operational roles within the travel and aviation industry. Previously Hawkins managed sports charters at Excel Airways, which included flying over 4,000 fans to a football final. 

Over the last 17 years, Mark has dedicated much of his time to sports clients, overseeing thousands of charters to high profile fixtures and tournaments and positioning Smart Aviation as industry leaders in sport chartering.   

Hawkins said: “We are delighted to be back doing such large volume sports charters. Sport has always been at the core of what we do as a company and unfortunately, Covid hit this area of travel hard. Our highly skilled team offers a truly personal service to all our clients. The key to our success is flexibility, as each clients’ requirements vary considerably, and our goal is to exceed expectations every time.”

Smart Aviation’s comprehensive charter service frequently provides air travel for global sports teams to key sporting fixtures including Champions League and Premier League football matches, as well as to ice-hockey, boxing, basketball, golf, motorsport and cricket tournaments.

Why choose Smart?

Our business revolves around you

– Exactly what you need

– You’re dealing with the experts. Our goal is excellence in service and execution – our extensive knowledge and expertise ensure we deliver.

Cost effective with no compromise

– Our unrivalled operator relationships and leverage in the European market ensures you get the most cost-effective solution, without compromising on quality.

We are always available

– Our operational support team is on-hand 24/7, 365 days a year, to deal with the unexpected and keep you flying – for total peace of mind.

Call or email us today – sales@smart-aviation.co.uk / + 44 1293 551244

Smart’s Six Nations Comeback

Smart’s Six Nations Comeback

After a year’s break without fans being able to attend, the Six Nations tournament begins tomorrow, Saturday, 5 February, with Ireland v Wales and Scotland v England. Smart Aviation are once again celebrating being able to transport thousands of eager rugby fans to games in France, Italy and Scotland meaning once again, we have earned our reputation as the leading provider of charter flights for rugby.

Since the company was founded in 2005, Smart has earned a reputation for going above and beyond to accommodate the needs of our loyal rugby clients who will be travelling on our numerous charters this year.

As part of that service, Smart will have representatives in Paris, Rome, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dublin to ensure everything goes without a hitch. Follow our social channels for live updates as we report on the logistics of organising multiple charters for thousands of fans.

Mark Hawkins, Managing Director of Smart Aviation commented: “With over fifteen years’ experience in chartering rugby supporters to the Six Nations, we are pleased to be back transporting fans to the matches after a prolonged period of COVID enforced travel restrictions. We work with some of the largest specialist sports tour operators and look forward to another successful operation this tournament. The flights create a large volume of work for Smart and I am delighted that we have an experienced team who can ensure that we never compromise on service in order to look after our clients.”

Why choose Smart?

Our business revolves around you
– Exactly what you need
– You’re dealing with the experts. Our goal is excellence in service and execution – our extensive knowledge and expertise ensure we deliver.

Cost effective with no compromise
– Our unrivalled operator relationships and leverage in the European market ensures you get the most cost-effective solution, without compromising on quality.

We are always available
– Our operational support team is on-hand 24/7, 365 days a year, to deal with the unexpected and keep you flying – for total peace of mind.

Contact Smart Aviation today.

Boost for aviation industry as day two Covid-19 tests scrapped

25 January 2022: The news announced yesterday by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that Covid-19 testing restrictions are to be relaxed is a much-needed boost for the aviation industry ahead of the February half-term and Easter holidays. 

Fully vaccinated travellers will no longer need to take the day two lateral flow Covid-19 test within 48 hours of arriving back in England and the compulsory Passenger Locator Form will also be simplified. The new rule will come into effect at 4 a.m. on Friday, 11 February 2022. There’s also more good news this week as the World Health Organisation has updated its recommendations stating that the travel bans are ineffective and “do not provide added value”.  

2021 showed strong signs of recovery for Smart Aviation, the world’s leading global sports charter, and we ended the year reporting a 52% year on year increase in commercial and private jet charter bookings compared to 2020. 

Despite the Omicron variant causing plenty of pre-Christmas chaos, the recommendation that travel bans should be eased or lifted is most welcome.

Smart Aviation Managing Director Mark Hawkins said: “Today’s announcement is another positive step for both the aviation and travel industries which have been the most affected by Covid-19 restrictions. Whilst we saw some growth in 2021, we are optimistic that 2022 will be the year travel returns to normal. Our expert team of aviation professionals are ready to assist with all enquiries and we look forward to getting our existing clients, as well as new clients, back to traveling in Smart style’.

Why choose Smart?

Our business revolves around you

– Exactly what you need

– You’re dealing with the experts. Our goal is excellence in service and execution – our extensive knowledge and expertise ensure we deliver.

Cost effective with no compromise

– Our unrivalled operator relationships and leverage in the European market ensures you get the most cost-effective solution, without compromising on quality.

We are always available

– Our operational support team is on-hand 24/7, 365 days a year, to deal with the unexpected and keep you flying – for total peace of mind.

Call or email us today – sales@smart-aviation.co.uk / + 44 1293 551244

Smart Aviation lands one of the world’s renowned sports teams

Private jet over sunset

Smart Aviation, the leading global sports charter specialists, has chartered three European flights in November for one of the most prestigious international sports teams in the world.

The flights to the team’s away games in Rome, Dublin and Paris took months of preparation by Smart’s Clive Head, Senior Charter Broker Sports Division. His meticulous planning ensured a smooth passage for the team on every flight.

The complex travel itinerary included meeting with the team’s travel coordinator to walk through the departure, managing the precise handling of the team’s kit, liaising with ground agents to ensure swift departures, arranging the personalised check-in desks and the handling of specific catering requirements for the sport stars.

Clive Head said: “We are honoured to have chartered these flights for this internationally renowned sports team. It is my role to handle the sports charters and we fly established sports teams on a regular basis. The calibre of this team was particularly exciting, and we are delighted that everything was seamless. Meeting the team and seeing them off from Cardiff AIrport is definitely a career highlight for me.”

Founded in 2005 by sports charter specialist, Managing Director Mark Hawkins, Smart Aviation has overseen key sporting fixtures around the world including Champions League and Premier League football matches, as well as to ice-hockey, boxing, basketball, golf, motorsport and cricket tournaments.

Why choose Smart?

Our business revolves around you
– Exactly what you need
– You’re dealing with the experts. Our goal is excellence in service and execution – our extensive knowledge and expertise ensure we deliver.

Cost effective with no compromise
– Our unrivalled operator relationships and leverage in the European market ensures you get the most cost-effective solution, without compromising on quality.

We are always available
– Our operational support team is on-hand 24/7, 365 days a year, to deal with the unexpected and keep you flying – for total peace of mind.

Contact Smart Aviation today.

 

Founder Mark Hawkins looks back at 16 years of Smart.

Smart Aviation turns 16 this week. We sat down with Smart’s Founder and Managing Director Mark Hawkins to take a look back at the highlights and challenges of the last 16 years.

Why did you decide to set up Smart Aviation?

I have been working in the aviation industry for the last 28 years, starting out at Air 2000 in 1993. At Excel Airways/Aviation I was pivotal in their sports charter’s operation and during the Champions League final in 2005, I chartered over 30 aircraft for Liverpool fans to attend the final. After three years, I decided that it was time to branch out on my own. My goal was to become one of the world’s leading charter providers and over the last 16 years, I am proud to say we have achieved that.

What been the key to Smart’s success?

Our initial success was down to our immense sports charter operation; sport has always been at the core of what we do. We had overnight success with that part of the business and have overseen thousands of flights to key fixtures and tournaments. ACMI still continues to be a part key to our business and lots of large airlines come to us with their AOG issues long and short term.

What’s been the most challenging part of the last 16-years?

I would have to say Covid has been the most challenging obstacle we have faced as a business. The different, constantly changing travel restrictions was the most challenging part but I’m pleased to say we are continuing to navigate our way through the changes and feel confident that travel is finally returning and will continue to do so (fingers crossed).

What do you think has been Smart’s biggest achievement?

Building such a phenomenal and dedicated team is something I am immensely proud of. They have grown the business alongside me.  Chartering aircraft for some of the biggest sports names in the market and arranging a huge number of replacement aircraft during the Iceland ash cloud eruption in 2011, are also right up there.

What do you think has been the biggest change in the industry since Smart started?

The lack of charter airlines willing to operate during their peak season means adhoc flights have got less and less every year. We do work with several quality airlines who support us year-round, ensuring we can service our all-important clients.

How important is company culture to you and what measures do you take to maintain it?

Very important. Every new member of the team goes through induction training to ensure they deliver the highest level of communication and respect to all our partners. Every client must receive the ‘Smart Service’.

What are your long-term goals for Smart?

To continue to be right at the top of our game, grow the team and continue to be Smart.

60 second interview with Head of Business Development, Sam White

Sam White is Smart’s newest recruit, and she brings with her a wealth of experience from 25-years in the aviation industry.

Here’s 60-seconds with Sam, Smart’s Head of Business Development.

How long have you been at Smart Aviation?

I joined Smart in September 2020 from an aircraft charter company, where I spent 15 years managing the commercial client charter requirements.

What did you do before Smart?

I have been in the aviation industry since I graduated from the University of Greenwich with a degree in Leisure and Tourism. I always knew I wanted to work in aviation, and I got my first role at Cosmos in 1996 in the reservations department. From Comsos I joined the commercial airline Air 2000, which is where I first worked with Smart’s MD, Mark Hawkins. Shortly before Air 2000 folded in 2004, I had already made the decision that I wanted to move into the broking world. I got my first role as a broker in 2003 and then a few years later I was headhunted for a commercial role at another firm. I stayed there for 15 years.

What is your role at Smart?

As Smart’s Head of Business Development, I look for new business opportunities alongside building and maintaining relationships with our clients across all the industries on the commercial jet side of the business.

Why did you want to work in aviation?

The simple answer is I love planes. I have always been fascinated by them and my friends would most likely call me a plane geek. The Boeing 757-200 is my favourite plane. I will always be grateful to Cosmos for giving me my first step into the exciting world of aviation.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I love people as much as I love planes and I enjoy talking to all the different types of people that I do in this role. Building those relationships is very important to me. No two days at Smart are the same; I never know who I am going to pick the phone up to or who I will meet in person at the airport.

What’s been your proudest achievement at Smart?

I don’t have one specific achievement; I am genuinely just so proud to work here. I get a buzz every day when I get an enquiry from a client. I have brought lots of opportunities to the business this last year, which gives me great job satisfaction.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I love spending time with my children and walking our dog, Nelly, a one-year-old Cockapoo. I run regularly and am an avid skier. I can’t wait to get back on the slopes!

What one item do you rely on most to do your job?

It must be my extensive black book of contacts that I have built up over the years. I treasure the long-standing relationships that I have with my clients, and I relish regularly meeting new contacts in the industry.

How do you feel about being a woman in the aviation industry?

After 25 years in aviation, I would still say women are in the minority, but to me it’s not a negative thing. I have always worked in male dominated environments, and I enjoy that. It has certainly changed a lot over the years though. It’s getting more equal and there are opportunities for women in the industry if they want them. I would say 50% of my clientele are female and some prefer having that interaction with a woman. I am proud to work in the industry and I don’t feel at all disadvantaged in it being female.

 

16 reasons to book Smart!

In honour of Smart Aviation LTD turning 16 years old this week, we’re humbly looking back on our journey to becoming the world’s leading global sport charter specialist and the reasons why our clients have continued to book with us over the years.

We were founded in October 2005 by our Managing Director Mark Hawkins, an established sports charter specialist with over 25 years’ experience in senior operational roles within the travel and aviation industry. Over the last 16 years, we have arranged successful charters to leading sport fixtures, transported thousands of passengers on their annual pilgrimages to Lourdes, and organised too many exclusive private jet charters around the world to even count.

Hawkins said: “I reflect with great pride on all the Smart team has achieved over the last 16 years. What was a dream for me, became a reality for us all and despite the challenges we have faced over the years, particularly this last year, we’re standing here stronger than ever. I still get that enormous buzz seeing one of our flights take off and we genuinely all love what we do for all our clients.”

Here’s our 16 reasons to book Smart Aviation LTD:

Smart’s business evolves around you and exactly what you need.

Market leverage for the most cost-effective charter solutions.

Access to jets of all sizes departing from a wide range of stunning private terminals.

Relationships with operators that is unrivalled.

Team with extensive aviation experience.

 

Available 24/7, seven days a week for all your travel requirements.

Very friendly service with members of the teams seeing each flight off at departure.

Independent and uniquely positioned to deliver the perfect charter solutions.

A bespoke operation taking care of all the personal touches.

Travel and aviation experience spanning over 200 years across the team.

Integrated booking service including private transfers, meals request and other requirements.

Offering flexible solutions to all types of travel enquiries.

No-obligation quotes for all flights.

 

Leasing services that are easily bookable for the client.

The most extensive network of contacts and reputable carriers.

Dedicated to you, the client, always.

 

To book, email sales@smart-aviation.co.uk or call +44 (0) 01293 551244 today.

A Smart look back at Euro 2020

What a brilliant Euro 2020 tournament! England did us all proud and congratulations to Italy for winning what was a very tough competition.

As the leaders in global sports aircraft chartering, having just finished our fifth consecutive European Championship football operation, the Euros certainly kept us all busy here at Smart Aviation HQ. In the absence of flying British fans to matches, we successfully chartered aircrafts for government officials, media, VIP guests and fans from different countries to one of the many host countries.

During Covid, we’ve seen that our clients are relying on our 16-years of expertise more than ever and we were delighted to be involved in such a huge, global tournament again.

Founded in 2005 by sports charter specialist, Managing Director Mark Hawkins, Smart Aviation has overseen key sporting fixtures around the world including Champions League and Premier League football matches, as well as to ice-hockey, boxing, basketball, golf, motorsport and cricket tournaments.

Mark Hawkins said: “We’ve had great success with our charter flights for the Euros over the last few weeks and as global sport charter specialists, we are very easily able to charter flights for travellers from different countries. We have a reputation for offering the highest level of service in aircraft chartering and that’s why a lot of sports teams and official supporter groups rely on our expertise to ensure both players and fans get to where they need to be promptly, comfortably, and safely. This is our strength and we played to it”.

Why chose Smart Aviation:

Travel Safe

Social distancing measures will be maintained

Deep cleaning, hygiene and sanitisation at private terminals and on private aircrafts

Fewer touch points when travelling privately

Time

You really can buy time; travel to your exact schedule

You dictate when the plane departs and where from

We can handle complex itineraries and multiple stops with ease

Comfort

Luxurious cabins

Space and privacy

Bespoke menus and refreshments

Convenience

Get nearer to your final destination; chartering opens up a whole other world of smaller airports to fly to

No waiting, most private charters fly from private terminals

Avoid long airport queues or security hold ups

No baggage limits

Flexibility

The flexibility to change flight times or airports

Cost

A cost-effective option, taking into account all the benefits and cost of first-class travel with some commercial airlines

Contact Smart Aviation today for a quote.

 

Smart arrange last minute long-haul rescue flight

Our assistance was called upon for a last-minute long-haul evacuation fight following recent events.

Smart Aviation are renowned for our ability to arrange last minute charters across the globe, whether for Airlines, private clients or tour operators.

Aircraft charter for last minute flight

At the end of last week, we received a call from our client, one of Europe’s largest travel companies, who needed a last-minute charter to repatriate clients from Sri Lanka following recent events.

Smart Aviation’s James Gregory was our Duty Manager. He quickly identified there was an Airbus A340 widebody airliner available and ready to depart at short notice. Agreements with the client were made swiftly leaving James to work on the remainder of the flight preparation.

James worked tirelessly all weekend to ensure no detail was missed in this challenging yet sensitive circumstance. “I continued liaising with the agencies to ensure all flight permits were in place, helped make arrangements for additional security whilst the crew were on the ground and kept all parties informed with the flight progress. Everything was taken care of,” he said.

Late last night our charter safely returned to Europe with almost 300 guests of our travel client on board. We are delighted that even in challenging and sensitive situations, our client trusted Smart Aviation to ensure their passengers could return home safely.

Contact our team today for all your charter requirements.

Summer Placement

Smart continue to help young talent

Smart Aviation are always keen to help the next generation gain that valuable first step on the ladder in aviation. We update our website regularly so please check our careers section for future opportunities.

This Summer we had the opportunity to welcome Joe Savage to the team,  Joe is the son of our Sales Director Matthew and has literally grown up hearing about the airline business.

Matthew said “Joe has always been keen to know more about my work as he has been hearing my stories of arranging aircraft charters around the world since he was a small boy!  He’s currently studying for a Business Logistics & Transport Management degree at the University of Greenwich and his Summer break coincided nicely with our need to bring someone in to supplement our marketing and telesales activity.”

Joe jumped at the chance to gain some first hand work experience in a dynamic environment, and has been able to secure some valuable new contacts for us, and generated several new enquiries for the business.  Its been a great learning experience for him, and we wish him well on the next two years of hard study!

You can read more about Joe’s Smart Summer on his Linkedin page.

 

Smart Aviation

Smart Aviation