smart since 2005

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 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 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.

Travel safe, travel smart

Travel safely with Smart Aviation.

Ongoing travel restrictions are changing daily. Scheduled airlines are having to cancel or postpone flights due to the COVID 19 pandemic. At Smart Aviation, safe travelling options for our clients is our priority. Here is the difference between flying with a commercial airline in comparison to a private jet.

Private jet travel is an appealing travel option and proving to be a safer option during COVID 19. The image below shows the difference of the limited amount of contact you can expect on a private jet. This is compared from the terminal to the aircraft and final destination when travelling commercially.

Travelling by commercial airline opens you to up to 977 total interactions. When compared to private jet travel there are up to 8 total interactions.

Travelling by private jet gives you full control of your travel arrangements. You can chose the most suitable airport to depart from or arrive into. Timings can also be arranged according to your schedule.

Contact us today for a non-obligation quote.

 

Travel safe infographic

 

60 seconds with Charter Broker Clive Head

Clive has over 40 years aviation industry knowledge and is a real asset to the Smart team.

Clive is an approachable colleague and the ‘go to’ person in the office for his industry experience.

Clive Head - Charter Broker

What does a typical day look like for you?

Working in the commercial jet side of the business means I take full responsibility of high-profile sports men and women. Detail is key in my role. Collating relevant information and researching ahead of contacting clients shows professionalism and helps build trust from the very first conversation. I catch up on world and industry news as the aviation world can change at the blink of an eye.

What do you love about working in Aviation?

I’ve been interested in aviation since the age of 8. My father used to work for British United Engineering, at Southend Airport back in the 1950’s (Now I’m really showing my age!). My work in aviation began as an Air Traffic Control Assistant at Southend Airport and I have been in aviation since. Every day is different in my role. Its an extremely enjoyable industry to be a part of.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Gaining the trust of new clients is always a challenge but once they have experienced the Smart journey, they are loyal customers. My industry knowledge allows me to deal with any unforeseen circumstances swiftly. Knowing who to contact and how to rectify an issue comes with years of rapport building.

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

My experience in the aviation industry is the one thing I will forever be able to rely on for my job. I have become the ‘go to’ person in the office for my aviation knowledge, which I am happy to share with my team.

What do you do when you are not working?

In my spare time I enjoy socialising with friends and am no stranger to concerts. I’m not one to sit around, there’s too many amazing places to explore in the world.

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

I have been in aviation all of my working life, so I’ve never really given this much thought. I enjoy my sports, playing when I was younger and now watching and supporting various sports. I also enjoy painting and decorating. It’s an extremely therapeutic task which requires much patience.

Smart Aviation

Smart Aviation