smart since 2005

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.

Social distancing – the new normal?

Is social distancing the new normal?

Here at Smart, we have continued to remain busy during the COVID-19 pandemic informing our Group Charter clients how they can safely travel when the restrictions are lifted.

social distancing

As things begin to return to a ‘new normal’ we have been advising our clients on the positives of using slightly larger aircraft at private terminals where possible. This enables a high standard of deep cleaning pre-flight, and excellent PPE equipment for any staff and passengers. If required, a meal box can be left on the seat for each passenger therefore limiting personal contact and reassuring both our clients and their groups of how we consider their safety of the highest importance.

Moving forward, we aim to adapt as the pandemic eases offering our clients the best service and information available as it comes in.

 

Should you want to see how we can help moving forward on your next group charter please contact us today!

E – sales@smart-aviation.co.uk
P – 0044 1293 551244

Flying with your pets

Travel is better with friends. Charter a private jet with us and we’ll make sure your furry ones are taken care of.

Arranging a flight with pets on-board is something that happens as a matter of course for us these days. As long as your pet’s documents and vaccinations are up to date, we can arrange everything for you. Putting your mind at rest and your pet’s welfare and comfort top of our agenda.

Each country has their own rules and regulations for entering with an animal, all of which can be managed by us. Contact us for your quote to charter a private jet with your pets.

Pets and private jets

FAQs – travelling on a private aircraft with your pet(s).

Can my dog or cat travel alone?

Yes. If you’re not travelling with your animal(s) we can arrange for a suitable flight attendant to travel with them – most operators insist on this.

Can my pet travel in the cabin?

Yes, absolutely. Your pet’s comfort will be attended to just like a human passenger.

Do I need extra time to check in for my flight with my pet?

No. A benefit of chartering a private jet is that the check-in time, with or without pets, is minimal. It’s generally 15 – 20 minutes before departure time.

Do I need to put my pet in a pet carrier or crate for the journey?

This is usually at the discretion of the private jet operator – something else we will assist you with when chartering a private jet. We’ll work with you to find an operator that best meets the requirements of you and your pet.

Contact us today for your personalised quote to travel with (or without) your pet.

From the runway to the catwalk, fly Smart to global Fashion Weeks

The 2020 fashion season takes-off this February with New York Fashion Week (6-12 February), London Fashion Week (14-18 February) and Milan Fashion Week (18-24 February), all easily accessible by Smart Aviation’s global private jet charter service.

catwalk

Celebrating 15 years in 2020, Smart Aviation provides a fully bespoke operation, accommodating all personal touches on the most desired executive jets. Taking all the stress out of travel, including baggage allowances, branded cabins, in-flight dining and luxury airport transfers, fashionistas can travel to these must-attend fashion events in style.

New York Fashion week

The Big Apple is the first to take to the catwalk unveiling the first of the autumn/winter 2020 collections and gives the ultimate preview at the in-vogue trends for the season ahead. The schedule is packed full of runway shows from influential designers, many focusing on body positivity and racial diversity. Shows not to be missed include Michael Kors, Kate Spade and Vera Wang.

London Fashion week

Credited last year for strong political messages concerning Brexit and for embracing London’s eclectic street style, London Fashion week is considered one of the most highly anticipated and progressive shows of the year. With presentations from key brands including Underage, Osman, Aspinal of London and Paul Costelloe, as well as a show by the ‘Queen-V’ of British fashion, Victoria Beckham, celebrities will flock to London to observe and celebrate the launch of the latest collections.

Milan Fashion week

With an established fashion history based on the high-level of Italian quality and designs, Milan is considered one of the most important global fashion capitals. Prada, Peter Pilotti, Gucci, N21, Jil Sander, Max Mara Bottega Veneta, Marni and Versace will all hosts shows at Milan Fashion Week this year.

Smart Aviation Managing Director Mark Hawkins said: “We have been transporting high-profile clients to fashion events around the world for the last 15-years. These shows are an annual highlight for many of our clients, both for personal and business travel. We pride ourselves on offering an efficient, seamless and comfortable service whilst managing even the most complex travel itineraries”.

60 seconds with Managing Director Mark Hawkins

What does a typical day look like for you?

I like to start my day nice and early and often the first one up. I check my emails to begin with and answer anything urgent. Then I get myself up and ready in preparation for the day ahead. Twice a week I take some time out for myself to attend boxing and fitness classes. A couple of times a week I take my daughter to school before heading into the office. I arrive into the office, catch up with my colleagues and start my working day. I still remain very active in the sales at Smart Aviation, working with both new and existing clients. Speaking to clients and following up quotes form a big part of my day.

Managing Director

What do you love about working in Aviation?

I have worked in aviation for over 25 years. The thrill of working in this industry is like no other. I still love fixing a flight and winning a deal, the buzz of beating a competitor is great. No two days are the same. One day I could be dealing with a very high profile football team charter and the next, chartering a Mustang from London to Paris.

 

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Lack of available aircraft during peak months is always a challenge. Yet we always come up with an option to serve all our clients. The current market conditions and airlines failing is also challenging.

 

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

Charlotte, my trusted Office Manager and longest employee.

 

What do you do when you are not working?

I visit Liverpool on a regular basis to watch my team play. I often take my children or friends. Some lucky clients have also been invited in the past. In my spare time I enjoy relaxing, listening to music and going to the gym.

 

Where would you be working if you hadn’t chosen aviation?

My very first work experience was at the Fire Station and I was blown away. I believe the fire service are one of the most under rated professions. The work they do, risking their lives on a daily basis is remarkable.

Ibiza 2019 with Music Specialist Broker James Gregory

The European party season comes to an end this weekend for Ibiza 2019 and what a jet set summer it has been for Smart private jet charters.

Smart Aviation private jet requests have been record breaking this year. We transported DJ’s, celebrities and party goers to the Balearic Island of Ibiza.

Citation XLS

Our most popular private jet for this route has been the Citation XLS. This mid-sized jet provides a stunning interior with a full washroom facility, gallery area and generous luggage capacity.

At Smart we go the extra mile for all of our clients. James Gregory has personally arranged and where possible represented at the UK private terminals. Existing and new clients have been pleased with the smart service. James has helped assist a number of special occasions this summer, including some ‘big’ birthdays and anniversaries.

“Ibiza is our most-chartered-to summer destination. I ensure my clients are taken care of, and offer them a smart service. If there are any additional requirements, I am happy to assist with these too. Our most popular request is a spread of sandwiches and chilled champagne, however if the client wants sushi we can make this happen too.” said James.

Following the great success of Ibiza 2019, Smart are thoroughly looking forward to Ibiza 2020, Meanwhile, James is going to have a quick lie down.

Ibiza 2019 with music specialist broker James Gregory

 

Smart Aviation

Smart Aviation