Stories by Louis Ibah
Are you planning a crowd-pulling event like a wedding, political conventions, conference, seminar, inauguration of a project, or are you trying to move the all-star cast, crew and equipment of a block-buster Nollywood film from say Lagos to Enugu, or a football team from Calabar to Kaduna? Or are you trying to airlift a critically ill patient from one hospital in one state of Nigeria to another hospital in another state or even outside the country? Whatever the event may be, but most especially as long as it involves transporting by air a group of persons with figures ranging between 20 -100, a charter operation is certainly the best option to consider.
Ejike Emmanuel, a broker who arranges charter flights for cooperate establishments in Lagos described air charter “as the most convenient and hitch free mode of moving a mass of people from one location to another. In Nigeria, he say that in the last 10 years there had been a rise in patronage of chartered flights, although he notes that the lack of education or awareness on the business among Nigerians has remained a bane to attracting even more patronage.
“There is little information out there in the public about what it takes to charter an aircraft in Nigeria,” said Emmanuel. “At best, it is seen by many as an elitist item where only the rich can purchase. So many individual Nigerians and groups who even have the wherewithal to charter don’t know how to go about it, and this has remained a major headache to operators,” he added.
What is air charter
Air charter is the business of renting an entire aircraft as opposed to purchasing a ticket through a traditional airline. While the airlines specialize in selling transportation by the seat are referred to as scheduled commercial flight operators, those who provide aircraft for renting are known as non-schedule or air charter operators. Air charter can involve hiring a large variety of private aircraft, such as helicopters, air ambulance, cargo or business jets.
Why charter an aircraft
Although charter flights can come with a high price tag, depending on plane size and amenities, they can be well worth the costs when you consider the other benefits. When you fly scheduled airlines, you travel on the airline’s schedule (assuming they’re on time). On commercial or schedule flights, you lose a lot of time picking up and clearing airline tickets and checking in, tagging or even losing luggage drains your productivity even further. You then wait in lines with no end in sight, only to disrobe, unpack, be searched and then get dressed. You re-pack and regain your dignity, while finally climbing aboard an aircraft with 300 strangers. A useful and private business meeting on board a commercial airliner is all but impossible, and completing work confidentially or otherwise is more than a challenge.
With a charter aircraaft, you fly where you want, when you want, in the plane you want, and with extra amenities you choose yourself. Charter companies are are available when you need to fly and will even stock the plane with reasonable requests, such as champagne, a video projector or special menus. You also receive substantially more attention from the stewardess and even the pilots, who are in much greater communication with you than any public flight would allow. One huge benefit of charter flights that cannot be overlooked is the ability to travel with all your luggage.
You can spread your laptop, brief case and other work-related items all around you to turn the cabin into an office, or you can stash them away, knowing they’re safe and guaranteed to land with you.Increasingly more and more business and pleasure travelers are discovering the advantages of charter travel. Time is money and every wasted moment is a lost opportunity. Rarely are charter flights delayed or cancelled. If you have ever sat in a busy airport terminal because your flight was delayed at some point during its routine, you know the frustration. Charter flights operate on your schedule! Air ambulance, which is also a charter flight, also comes in as the best life saver particularly for such critical conditions like those involving accident, sick or patients that need to be moved speedily from one location to the other.
In Nigeria, some corporate organisations have started taking health care and insurance policies for staff that includes hiring air ambulances in situations of accident. Whatever your priorities, charter air travel gives you the freedom to organize the trip around your needs. Aircraft charter puts you in control of your schedule by placing a fleet of aircraft at your disposal anywhere you are in the world. In fact, there are an estimated 15,000 business jets available for charter in the worldwide fleet.
Private jet aircraft have numerous seating configurations and cabin sizes. A very light jet (VLJ) which most rich families opt to charter for example will have a small cabin with four passenger seats and will be comparable to a family saloon inside. But there are mid size cabin private jets that can carry seven to nine passengers, whilst large cabin aircraft such as the Gulfstream G550 or Falcon 7x will have between 10 and 14 passenger seats, just as the VIP Execliners have much larger cabins and can accommodate between 16 to 30 passengers.