dallas – With the US midterm elections fast approaching, we have the opportunity to examine one of the most dynamic and unique aspects of the aviation industry, the charter sector.
From managing political campaigns and roadshows (book tours, concert tours, etc.) to family vacations and business trips, the charter industry welcomes a wide variety of travelers with a wide range of logistical needs. .
Charter brokers like Advanced Aviation Team (AAT) coordinate flights with a high degree of specificity to meet customer demands with complex itineraries.
In an exclusive interview with Airlines companiesGregg Brunson-Pitts, former director of the White House travel office and current CEO of AAT, described the logistical process behind political campaigns as well as broader trends impacting the charter industry, from the shortage pilots and aircraft availability to the increased demand for roadshows and intercontinental travel.
Brent Foster (BF): How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected AAT’s charter business?
Gregg Brunson-Pitts (GBP): It was interesting. When COVID originally hit, we took a pretty dramatic dive, like a lot of people. Most of our flights have completely stopped for a while.
Then we had a pretty big increase in demand, taking on new clients, people interested in private charters who wanted to stay away from the airlines for various reasons. Mainly because they wanted a safe and private environment.
They wanted to use private aviation when travel reopened. We had an initial dip in business with COVID followed by a huge pop.
Has the uptick in business as COVID-19 restrictions eased focused on individual and business flights or road shows and campaign tours?
It was a bit of both. In 2020, we focused a lot on political campaigns. We brought in new customers who were people who had come off the sidelines and had considered private aviation before and maybe had a look at it, but because of the pandemic they’ve decided to try it.
So we picked up clients there who were mostly families or individuals or small businesses. 2020 was a campaign and election year, so a lot of business went there. 2021 and at the beginning of this year, coming out of the pandemic, many tours and roadshows have returned, which has been great.
Focusing on political campaigns, how are political campaign aviation logistics coordinated? How does AAT coordinate candidates’ busy schedules with numerous campaign stops?
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Featured Image: Gregg Brunson-Pitts, Founder and CEO of Advanced Aviation Team (AAT). Photo: Advanced Aviation Team
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