smart since 2005

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.

Smart’s Groundbreaking Benfica Flight for Sons of Struth takes off from Glasgow

Smart’s Groundbreaking Benfica Flight for Sons of Struth takes off from Glasgow

Scottish football legend Willie Henderson joins once-in-a-lifetime flight.

The first ever chartered plane for a grassroots football club in Scotland.

 

Today (21 September 2021) 125 aspiring young footballers from Sons of Struth Football Academy departed Glasgow Airport for their groundbreaking trip to Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, Portugal. The flight today was the first ever chartered plane for a grassroots football club in Scotland. Retired Scotland and Rangers football legend Willie Henderson, also joined the once-in-a-lifetime flight.

Leading global sports charter specialists, Smart Aviation, is the official aircraft charter partner for the flights, operated by Smart’s long-standing charter partner Jet2.com.

The players aged between six and 14 got to train like their heroes and be put through their paces at a special training academy before experiencing a private guided tour of the iconic stadium.

This exclusive trip for the children has taken months of extensive planning and fundraising by the academy. 190 passengers – including the young players, ex-Rangers legends, national journalists, coaches and volunteers – departed from Glasgow Airport on a next generation 737-800 aircraft on 21 September 2021 and will return later today.

Hawkins said: “We are thrilled to be working with Sons of Struth Football Academy and are truly honoured to have chartered the first chartered ever flight for a football academy in Scotland today. Football is very much at the heart of Smart and to be chosen to charter the flights for these young players brings us much delight. Everyone has worked so hard to make this happen and to see the kids so excited today has been wonderful.”

For further information on Smart Aviation and to book, visit www.smart-aviation.co.uk, email sales@smart-aviation.co.uk or call +44 (0) 01293 551244.

 

Smart’s September Green List Update

 

31 August 2021: Following the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s update yesterday morning, fully vaccinated travellers can now freely travel to Denmark, Finland, the Azores archipelago and Switzerland without having to quarantine on arrival.

Negative PCR tests must be shown on arrival into these destinations and a test must be completed once back in the UK. Visitors arriving into the UK from these countries will not have to quarantine but must also show a negative test on arrival into the UK.

Canada has also been added to the government’s green list with borders set to reopen to international visitors from early September.

With most of these recently added destinations just a short flight from the UK, they are easily accessible for visitors who wish to travel on some of the most desired executive jets in the world.

Our successful private jet charter operation has been running for over 16-years and we will accommodate all the personal touches including winter sports equipment and baggage allowances, branded cabins, quality in-flight dining and luxury airport transfers.

Safety remains of upmost importance and visitors can reduce the Covid risk even further by travelling by private jet. All of the aircrafts are deep-cleaned, and touch points are reduced by travelling in a small group and through a private terminal.

Smart Aviation Managing Director Mark Hawkins said: “It is very welcome news that these countries have been added to the green list as it provides travellers with more (much needed) variety. Finland and Denmark are both spectacular winter destinations, with snow in abundance and festive seasons filled with entertainment. Autumn is one of the best times to hike in Switzerland’s mountains, just before the snow starts to fall. We are looking forward to taking our clients back to these destinations in 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.

Contact Smart Aviation 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.

 

UEFA EURO 2020 – Smart are ready when you are

As our clients are aware, Smart Aviation love sports and we are looking forward to this year’s sporting events such as UEFA EURO 2020.

UEFA Euro 2020

 

UEFA have up-to-date information on their website, including the latest regulatory advice too, getting us very excited about upcoming matches. Furthermore, there’s jam packed information to build your EURO experience. COVID-19 restrictions are still in place but fans will hopefully be welcomed back to the stadiums for UEFA EURO 2020! Information about which host cities have confirmed stadium capacities can be found on the UEFA website along with additional information to allow fans to plan their journeys. (Subject to COVID-19 changes).

Smart Aviation, Managing Director Mark Hawkins said:

“This is a step in the right direction and we welcome teams, staff and hopefully fans for some of the major sporting events for 2021. With COVID-19 restrictions still very important, we want to provide only the very best travel options which begin with travelling safely. UEFA EURO 2020 have provided the latest information on their website and we will be ready to arrange charters on behalf of our clients to suit their schedules.”

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.

Recommended Charter Broker, continues to support sports travel

Private Charter flights are highly recommended for sports team travel, providing a safer and more flexible travel option.

Despite the tough year for the Aviation industry – Smart Aviation has been seeing an increase in charter flights in March. Thanks to international football matches still being allowed to continue. This is, of course, without fans but nevertheless Smart has been involved in moving international football teams to their World Cup qualifiers matches and some international friendlies. March has been our busiest month so far this year with over 19 charters for domestic UK football teams and football teams around Europe, which is proof that the industry is picking up and confidence is growing in air travel once again.

Luggage assembled

Clive Head, our specialist sports broker has over 30 years experience in the industry and has been working hard with some international federations and teams as well as our trusted suppliers to ensure everything is organised to ensure smooth transfers of players and kit to their final destination in a safe manner.

At Smart we don’t just charter for football. We are incredibly proud that over the last quarter we have been involved in moving sports men and women to Ice Hockey, Handball and Basketball games. We have also been working hard with the organisers of the high profile Boxing match in Gibraltar this weekend. Brief’s such as these, especially in these current times take a lot of planning and we have worked closely with Inflite private terminal in Stansted and other authorities to ensure the passengers all have the correct paperwork in order to be allowed to travel and to ensure their journey is seamless from the point of departure to their arrival in Gibraltar.

As always, the Smart operations team were on hand 24/7 updating our clients with flight progress using industry leading systems.

Why choose Smart?

– You’re dealing with the experts. Our goal is excellence in service and execution – our extensive knowledge and expertise ensure we deliver.
– Our unrivalled operator relationships ensure you get the most cost-effective solution, without compromising on quality.
– 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 for more information.
E: sales@smart-aviation.co.uk
T: +44(0)1293 551244
Follow us on Instagram for regular updates.

 

Football team to return safely amidst Greek airport strikes

Tuesday’s most spoken about European destination at Smart Aviation HQ was the beautiful city of Athens, and here is why. Amongst many of our football flights Smart had an aircraft prearranged for a football team and staff.

Phenom private jet

Smart Operations monitor our charter flights around the clock. On the routine pre-operation checks Smart discovered a notification that Athens airside and ATC will go on strike during the event of our return charter flight. During the course of the day our operation team liaised with the aircraft supplier to maintain the most up to date information regarding the pending strike. At around 15.00 GMT Head of Charter Flight Operations Daniel Parker received a call from the supplier to reconfirm that Athens were due to go on an ATC strike at midnight local time.

“Our flight was due to return after midnight local time, we needed to get our passengers back to their destination. We quickly began to monitor and take control of the situation for our client,” said Daniel.

Smart Aviation have 15 years’ experience in aviation, our teams are fully trained and knowledgeable. This ensures that we provide an exceptional service at all times.

Whilst Daniel was working through a solution for our football team with his operations department and aircraft supplier, Head of VIP Charter James Gregory was contacted by a client from the opposing team to locate a private jet for their player. This player needed to arrive at his next destination in time for an upcoming match which he wouldn’t have made due to the strikes in Athens. Faced with the same issues with the strike information, James swiftly contacted one of his trusted Private Jet operators who shed further light on the situation at Athens.

“Time is of the essence when working around restrictions. We have all built a tremendous rapport with clients, agents and operators. An ATC strike as well as a ground handling strike in Athens meant we needed to start working fast for a swift solution,” commented James.

Our priority is always to put our passengers and their safety first and Smart Aviation are available 24/7.

“My team worked tirelessly and both the football team and the player were back where they needed to be. With added complexity of an ATC and ground handing strike its vital we call upon our knowledge, experience and relationships to resolve the issue and come through with the right solution for the clients. We work as a team here at Smart Aviation HQ and are always here to assist our clients during such challenging times,” said Mark Hawkins Managing Director – Smart Aviation.

Our experienced team are available 24/7 and treat each request uniquely, providing the best bespoke solution. Contact Smart Aviation 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.

Smart Aviation

Smart Aviation