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.

 

Private Charter FAQs

The answers to your private aircraft charter questions.

 

If you have any other questions regarding private aircraft charter that we haven’t answered here, then please contact us and we’ll be happy to answer them for you.

Charter a jet for your ski trip

The quickest way to get on piste

With the ski season just round the corner, we’re pleased to be taking private jet charter requests and assisting our clients with plans for their winter skiing break.

When chartering a jet for your ski trip, there are additional benefits on top of the convenience, privacy and comfort of private jet travel;

Enjoy more time at your resort. Who wants to wait around in an airport for 3 hours? Arrive 30 minutes before your flight departs with not a queue in sight.

No waiting at baggage reclaim to collect your skis or boards – they’ll be on your private jet with you and can be taken directly from the aircraft when you leave.

Fly to the smaller airports nearer your resort, such as Sion and Samedan and your reduce transfer time – or take a helicopter direct to your chalet.

Enjoy flexible departure times to suit you and your party. Choose your own schedule and enjoy more time on the slopes.

For small groups, even a party of just four passengers travelling to Europe together can find that the cost of hiring a jet versus flying on a scheduled flight is surprisingly cost-effective.

Private jet charter prices

Fly to Sion (SIR) from London, from €2,320 per person return. Sion Airport is the most convenient for Verbier, Zermatt and Villars.

Fly to Samedan (SMV) from London, from €2,690 per person return. Samedan Airport is the most convenient for Klosters and St Moritz.

Fly to Chambery (CMF) from London, from €2,470 per person return. Chambery Airport is the most convenient for Courchevel, Meribel and Val D’Isere.

Fly to Geneva (GVA) from London, from €2,130 per person return. Geneva Airport is the most convenient for Chamonix.

Fly to Annecy (NCY) from London, from €2,480 per person return. Annecy Airport is the most convenient for Megeve.

Prices are based on 4 people travelling. Please contact us for a personalised quote.

Ski2

What about altiports?

Commercially chartered private jets are not permitted to land at altiports like Megeve, Meribel and Courchevel. The private jets you might see landing there are privately owned and operated flights so do not have the restrictions of a commercially operated flight, which a private jet charter would be. However, it is possible to land a helicopter at these Alpine altiports and this is how many of our client flying into Sion, Samedan, Chambery, Geneva and Annecy choose to arrive closer to their resort.

Ski weekends

Timing is everything when precious time on the slopes is at stake.

Friday. Leave London by private jet charter; be on the slopes within a couple of hours with 2 further full days of skiing ahead of you.

Saturday. Ski (or board) until your heart is content.

Sunday. Enjoy a full day on the empty slopes (when everyone else is on the bus to the airport) before heading back to the UK on your evening private jet flight.

Where to stay

For a selection of the best winter chalets in France and Switzerland, look no further than SJ Villas, who have personally visited and curated a small collection of some of the very best ski chalets in Europe to make absolutely sure you will be well looked after. Our personal favourite is The Lodge in Verbier.

Flying with children

Chartering a jet for your family holiday

When it comes to travelling with children, the convenience and privacy of private jet travel really comes into its own.

Luxury travel isn’t always synonymous with travelling with children, yet with a private jet charter it’s perfectly possible to have a hassle-free travel experience and keep the children happy at the same time.

Ultra-convenience

A private jet charter for your next family holiday allows you the freedom to travel on your own schedule – you can dictate the departure times to fit around school timetables, nap times or adjust to a new time-zone with ease.

Most private flights depart from smaller airports, opening up a wide choice of departure points closer to your home and avoiding the congested major UK airports. You’ll find it easier to park too and in many places you’ll be able to pull up right outside the private terminal or aircraft. It works the same way for your destination too – using smaller airports means you can arrive closer to your final destination and avoid tedious transfers on the ground.

We can also assist with onward travel to your destination by helicopter, sea-plane or limousine.

Choosing the right aircraft

As an aircraft charter broker, we can source a suitable aircraft from a global network of trusted operators, ensuring that you will travel on a plane that perfectly suits your needs and budget, without compromising on quality.

On-board features on a private jet can also help children to settle into the flight quickly; older children will appreciate technology like inflight Wi-Fi and younger ones can rest on a jet equipped with a sofa (or bed for long-haul flights) to avoid over-tiredness and ensure they arrive well rested.

Your child’s furry friends can join them in the cabin too – as long as your pet’s documents and vaccinations are up to date, we can organise for them to travel on the flight.

For the curious child, there might also be the opportunity to take a look round the flight deck!

Choosing the right airport

Travelling from a private terminal means you can avoid long queues and a lengthy check in process too (security queues at major airports are a particular pain point for most parents) – we recommend arriving 30 minutes before your flight departs, but it’s possible to cut this down to 15 minutes.

The time saved by flying on a chartered aircraft can sometimes add up to an extra day of vacation time at your destination.

Travelling nannies

“Hiring a good travelling nanny is essential to a stress free holiday with children” says Nicola Rushmere, a Private Household Consultant at SORTED Personal Management. “Travelling with small children can be challenging, whether flying privately or on commercial flights, so an extra pair of hands is always useful – an on hand entertainer is always a bonus!”

“From organising the packing and keeping your children entertained with activities on the flight, to taking them off on adventures so you can relax by the pool, a travelling nanny gives you the ultimate flexibility. Our experienced nannies and mannies (male nannies) are as at home on the slopes as they are on the beach – nothing fazes them!”

Reducing the cost

When travelling in a group, a private jet charter can provide a viable and cost-effective alternative to peak season travel on a scheduled flight with a commercial airline – when prices often dramatically increase outside of term-time.

Some savvy families share the cost of a private jet charter to make it more affordable or enable them all to travel in a larger, more comfortable aircraft.

Flying with children

To find out more about private jet charter for your family, please contact Matthew Savage on +44 (0)1293 551244 or email sales@smart-aviation.co.uk.

We’re with you all the way

We’re with you all the way

Thousands of clients trust us to charter for them every year, and it’s a responsibility we take very seriously. When the unexpected happens, we’re there to resolve it as quickly as possible for you.

Take a recent charter flight for a private jet client and his family, departing from London Biggin Hill. Unfortunately the chartered aircraft had a problem and couldn’t be used. Worst case scenario – and not one we face very often.

Our Sales Director, Matthew, was at the airport seeing off our charter flights that day, as we do regularly as part of our personal service. It meant that we were able to immediately step in to resolve the situation. The team in the office were on it right away, but Matthew was in the best place to find an aircraft nearby.

With a bit of quick thinking, he checked which private jets had recently landed to see if we would be able to charter any of them. Within 30 minutes, a suitable replacement aircraft had been sourced and was ready to take the family home. They experienced a very minimal delay and were unaware that there was ever a real problem. Had it not been for our personal service on the ground and the quick reactions of our team, this might not have been the case.

Just another example of why it pays to fly Smart.

Gulfstream G550 sky crop

Excellence in aircraft charter

Our unique formula

We’re now in our 12th year of aircraft charter brokerage and we continue to strive for excellence in everything we do, as we have done since the company was founded in 2005.

Our team’s experience in the aviation and travel industry is quite unique.

We have over 100 years of combined experience in aviation and air travel; each team member is experienced in their own field and many have held senior management and operational roles at major airlines.

As well as recruiting the best, we believe it’s as important to invest in future talent and our successful partnership with East Surrey College ensures we have an input into the next generation of aviation professionals. It means we are able to take on some of the best new minds from their aviation courses, for work experience and graduate placements.

Specialist training

Our new brokers undertake training with BACA to learn about the specific skills that make up an exceptional aircraft charter broker and are given guidance on how to maintain the highest standards of expertise and conduct in the market, with topics like contract law, ground handling, airports and regulation, as well as what it takes to keep an aircraft in the air.

Our graduate recruit, Alex Wade, recently attended his first BACA training course and found it a valuable experience;

“Being able to listen to experienced professionals on topics related to the charter industry as well as hear from aircraft operators and other brokers on how best to conduct business in the industry was great and something I found very useful. Hearing from KROLL on cyber security in the afternoon session was very interesting too; it’s definately something that is becoming an increasing concern globally so it was great to hear what precautions we can take to stay protected.

I took a lot away from the training day and will use what I’ve learned going forward in my work as a developing charter broker.

As my first experience of a BACA event, I thoroughly enjoyed the training day and look forward to attending more BACA events and training days in the future.”

Our BACA membership

Baltic Air Charter Association (BACA) is the leading association focussed on the role of the air charter broker in the aviation market and works to promote integrity and ethical business practices. They work with the whole air charter market, from helicopters, to business jets, to commercial passenger and cargo.

Our BACA membership demonstrates our commitment to delivering the highest levels of service and conduct in the industry. It also gives our charter specialists the opportunity to network with their peers and discuss the latest industry developments. At these events, shared issues and ideas are discussed and thought leadership provided by some of the most experienced personnel in the air charter industry.

For our clients, our membership offers reassurance that we strive to deliver excellence in every aspect of our service and benefit from the unique skills and knowledge of our highly experienced team of charter brokers. We follow the BACA code of practice and rules set out as the standard of conduct for the air charter market.

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Smart Aviation

Smart Aviation