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Charter, ACMI and asset management activity steps up for ACC Aviation in Q1

ACC Aviation reported a robust first quarter in its core disciplines of ACMI and charter, with widened consulting activity as the aviation industry starts to ramp up for the summer.

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Philip Mathews

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Charter, ACMI and asset management activity steps up for ACC Aviation in Q1

ACC Aviation, the global aviation services group, reported a robust first quarter in its core disciplines of ACMI and charter, with widened consulting activity as the aviation industry starts to ramp up for the summer.

Its charter business was up 20% on flight volume compared with the first quarter of 2021, despite many airline partners being hindered by lack of crew and reduced fleets. Since January, the strongest theme has been the return of the more ‘traditional charter sectors,’ noted Director of Charter, Richard Smith. Sports charter, consistently strong through the pandemic, continues to lead activity. Still, with the onset of 2022, music/entertainment and conference and incentive (MICE) travel, followed by the automotive sector, came back after a two-year pause.

“There was a noteworthy blip when the Ukraine conflict first took hold, instilling a level of travel uncertainty, but the next six months is looking solid, and the pipeline is strong,” he said.

“Covid has undoubtedly solidified the appeal and ease of charter,” said Richard Smith. On both sides of the Atlantic. ACC is seeing more forward bookings through summer and the end of the year, with several 2023 bookings coming on the back of a busy winter of leisure travel. “We are seeing bookings further out, which is a new trend,” he said.

“HNWI leisure charter to destinations such as Miami and Aspen continued in Q1. Charter activity remained strong as scheduled carriers have been slow to get back to normal with reduced frequencies,” noted ACC Aviation President Americas, Jamie Harris. “Many corporate clients are back with a firm focus on health, security and efficiency,” he added.

Highlights in Q1 included some movie production around Europe, many of which flew into regional airport destinations, reducing the overall travel time for crew and talent during time-sensitive shoots. The trend of entertainment industry business also continued at the start of the year with the ACC team staging a series of Caribbean charters for a YouTube personality.

With the World Cup in Doha six months away, ACC Aviation has been lending consultancy advice for national teams and their fan group travel, already securing widebody aircraft availability for groups able to commit early. Building on its continued investment in the USA, in Q1, ACC added new team members across Sales, Operations and Finance.

ACMI ramps up

ACC Aviation’s ACMI business ramped up with the switch to the summer schedule on 27 March. “We saw regular airline schedules ramp up overnight – putting a strain on airlines, airports and associated ground handling and security to ensure trained and certified workforce was ready,” said Director Leasing, Dave Williams. Combined with ongoing Covid related sickness in Q1, airlines struggled to maintain programmes, resulting in a need for short term ACMI requirements.

“We saw an increase in airlines looking to explore summer ACMI capacity for the most part of February. The uncertainty over the Ukraine effect escalated through February, but it didn’t last, and now passengers are committing to southern Europe/Med bookings from Northern Europe, giving the airlines confidence for summer 2022. The ACMI market for summer was dynamic throughout April, and now, as the recent spring meeting of the European Region’s Airline Association in Malta highlighted, ACMI operators want longer-term contracts.

“We are pleased to be a member of ERA,” added Dave Williams. “If we can help them with their needs, we can open the door to other expertise in the group – including asset management and financial advisory.”

Consulting sees growing aircraft asset and transaction activity

The first quarter saw ACC Aviation continue to expand its consulting division, winning several new aircraft lender and lessor engagements and bolstering the team with an additional targeted hire.

“Activity in the quarter was marked by the delivery of several aircraft inspections, valuations, recoveries, and remarketing projects. The shift in project profile further validates our shift towards becoming a dependable and independent aircraft asset and transaction specialist,” said Director Consulting, Rob Watts.

In March, ACC Aviation further bolstered its consulting team by welcoming Faizal Gara, based in London, to lead the development of the business’ technical and asset management services.

The consulting division’s first-quarter trading highlights include:

  • Engaged by a global aircraft lessor to perform residual value analysis on a portfolio of fifty aircraft undergoing return conditions negotiations
  • Engaged by a Middle Eastern asset owner to project manage the acquisition of one 737-300, including the performance of a pre-purchase inspection, technical acceptance, and ferry flight arrangement.
  • Engaged by a South African airline for the remarketing and disposal of one B737-300 aircraft
  • Provided lessor technical representation on a portfolio of A330-200 aircraft undergoing technical inspection by a prospective buyer
  • Engaged by a European end-of-life specialist aircraft lessor to provide debt advisory services for the establishment of a $100m+ leveraged leasing platform
  • Completed an inspection, valuation, and workout advisory assignment for an African multilateral institution related to a portfolio of six non-performing aviation assets

About ACC Aviation

Founded in 2002 as an aircraft leasing specialist, ACC Aviation delivers market-leading solutions across aviation consultancy services, ACMI leasing, and air charter.  Through an international office network spanning Europe, the Middle East, Africa, North America, and Asia, it provides bespoke aviation solutions to clients across the globe. Its success is built on the strength and depth of its relationships within the aviation industry. ACC Aviation delivers superior solutions to a diverse and growing client base through continued investment in developing and maintaining these partnerships, with a persistent focus on innovation.

The company is backed by YFM Equity Partners and is a Financial Times Top 1000 ranked European company.

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