smart since 2005

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.

 

Smart charters to the European qualifiers

European football season continues and Smart Aviation are delighted to be chartering teams.

 

UEFA Champions League and Europa League

 

Since the company started 15 year ago, Smart Aviation have been involved in transporting thousands of teams and football fans around Europe. This week see’s yet another busy week at Smart Headquarters. The team will be seeing off 6 charters for the second qualifying round of the Europa League and third qualifying rounds of the Champions League.

The ongoing situation with COVID 19 has extended safety and security measures on our check list. Safe travelling is our number one priority and the Smart team have effortlessly adapted to the latest travel requirements. Our operations team provide live and up to date travel information from around the world.

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 said: “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.”

 

Contact Smart Aviation today for a non-obligatory quote.

Email: sales@smart-aviation.co.uk

Telephone: +44(0)1293 551244

Smart charter supporters to all the big sporting occasions

Smart Aviation, industry experts in sports charters, are pleased once again, to be chartering thousands of football and rugby fans.

Months of preparation are coming to a climax, as we reach the long-awaited European finals of both the major football competitions, as well as the finale of the European club rugby season, all taking place in the next few weeks.

Picture credit: UEFA champions league football

Smart Aviation have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure all logistics have been arranged for our sports travel clients to deliver the very best tour packages to customers. Thanks to our experience in the market we are able to secure aircraft at a time of huge demand, with our trusted suppliers once again enabling us to offer the very best solutions to our clients.

Smart Aviation, established 2005, have almost 200 years’ experience in the aviation industry.  Every challenge is accepted and no task is overlooked.  Smart will not compromise on the quality of the service provided and always ensure we provide the most cost-effective and innovative solutions. We can proudly say that our clients safely rely on us year on year as we take care of their needs and ensure they don’t miss the most eagerly awaited sports fixtures.

Here is what May and June will look like for Smart Aviation as we look to be flying several thousand passengers to the biggest sporting events on the calendar.

Leinster vs Saracens – Rugby Champions Cup final
On the 11th May, Smart will be chartering over 1,000 Leinster fans from Ireland to Newcastle on day return charters to the Champions cup final which will kick off at 5pm at St James’ Park in Newcastle.

 

Champions League Final – Madrid, 1st June
Following Liverpool’s stunning comeback against Barcelona, we have confirmed more than 14 flights for Red’s supporters to Madrid for the Champions League final, and following Tottenham’s victory in Amsterdam, we are booking up London based departures for their fans travelling to Spurs’ very first Champions League Final.

Europa League Final
We wait with anticipation tonight to find out if both Chelsea or Arsenal can make it to the final on 29th May. (It will also be tense at Smart HQ with both Chelsea and Arsenal fans waiting for the result!) Following tonight’s results, Smart will face the challenge of arranging flights for fans of either club to the final which is being played in Baku, Azerbaijan on 29th May.

European charter solutions
Smart don’t just operate in the UK, we provide logistic solutions for European based clients and we can’t forget the final weekend of Premier League fixtures, with the title and top places all still to play for.  We have chartered two 189 seat aircraft from Scandinavia to Manchester on 12th May bringing Scandinavian Manchester United fans to their game versus Cardiff and also Nordic Liverpool supporters to their final match of the season versus Wolverhampton Wanderers.

 

This will be the 13th Champions League that Smart have been heavily involved in, and our extensive knowledge in operating sports flights has enabled us to answer the most challenging requests and meet the most unique requirements when chartering teams and supporters on behalf of specialist sports travel clients.

 

Champions League Final 2018

Charter flights for supporters

After an eventful Champions League Final yesterday, all our return charter flights for supporters have now touched down.

It wasn’t the result the Reds were after, but our direct charter flights to Kiev ensured that over 2,500 Liverpool and Real Madrid supporters were there to see their teams go head to head for the European cup.

We’re pleased to say that, despite the negative reports surrounding travel to the final, all of our charter flights operated as planned.

There’s no doubt that the location of the fixture made it a logistically challenging event to provide direct flights for, but the expertise of our experienced charter team has proved invaluable for our sports tour operator clients – from sourcing aircraft right up to on-the-day operations.

It was a team effort, powered by plenty of espresso and overseen by Mark Hawkins and Matthew Savage, our MD and Sales Director, who drew on their 45 years’ combined experience to personally ensure that everything was in place for the flights.

A sensational month of sport

What a month we’ve had so far!

Ahead of the Champions League Final this weekend, we’re reflecting on what will be our busiest month of sports charters this year.

There’s no doubt about it – the Champions League Final is a logistically challenging event to source aircraft and secure slots for, but the experience and knowledge of our team has ensured that our sports travel clients are fully prepared and able to deliver their tour packages to customers.

Mark, our Founder and MD and Matthew, our Sales Director, with over 45 years’ experience in aviation between them, have committed time and expertise to ensure that everything is in place.

Our team’s decades of experience, unrivalled relationships with operators and leverage in the European market ensure that we deliver the most cost-effective solution for our clients, without compromising on quality, every time. We’re proud that our clients rely on us year-after-year because, when it comes to unmissable sports fixtures, there’s no room for mistakes.

Here’s a roundup of all our sports charters in May:

Champions Cup Final, Bilbao, 12th May

Racing 92 v Leinster Rugby

Our day return charters carried over 2,500 Leinster rugby supporters from Dublin International Airport (DUB) to Bilbao Airport (BIO) to see their team play in the final – and win.

Europa League Final, Lyon, 16th May

Marseille v Atlético Madrid

We had several aircraft charters for Atlético Madrid supporters from Madrid Airport (MAD) to Lyon–Saint Exupéry Airport (LYS) to see their team beat Marseille 3 – 0 at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais.

Champions League Final, Kiev, 26th May

Real Madrid v Liverpool

Our direct charter flights will ensure that over 2,500 Liverpool and Real Madrid supporters will be in Kiev to see the Champions League Final.

Team Travel

As well as supporter travel, we’ve chartered aircraft on behalf of European football clubs for their team travel to Premiership, Championship, La Liga and Austrian Bundesliga fixtures. And with the summer break, we’ve assisted professional football players with private jet charters to holiday destinations across the world too.

Follow our #smartlovessport hashtag on Instagram for all our sport related news.

Sports charters to all the big finals

Our aircraft charters will be flying thousands of supporters to the three big European finals in May.

Champions Cup Final

We’re now preparing for our charter flights to European rugby’s Champions Cup final in Bilbao, Spain.

The city’s San Mamés Stadium will host the match between Leinster Rugby and Racing 92 for the decider on Saturday 12th May. Our day return charters will carry over 2,500 Leinster rugby supporters from Dublin International Airport (DUB) to Bilbao Airport (BIO) to see their team play in the final – and we’ll be cheering them on for a win.

Our experience in chartering aircraft for supporter flights to rugby fixtures goes way back to when the company was founded in 2005 and we remain the first choice for sports tour operators for their charter flights to European rugby tournament fixtures, including the Six Nations.

Europa League & Champions League Finals

European football reaches fever pitch in May, with both championship finals taking place within a couple of weeks of each other. We’re now in the process of sourcing more aircraft for supporter charter flights to the Europa League final in Lyon on Wednesday 16th May and the Champions League final in Kiev on Saturday 26th May.

Our decades of experience, unrivalled relationships with operators and leverage in the European market ensures that we deliver the most cost-effective solution for our clients, without compromising on quality.

Follow our #smartlovessport hashtag on Instagram for all our sport related news.

Smart Aviation

Smart Aviation