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October 2017
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H&P manager is utterly addicted to aviation

The Wednesday we speak to her is a typical day in the life of Hunt & Palmer (H&P) manager, executive aviation, Julie Black. It starts with an early rise to get her 12-year-old twin daughters off to school before dashing out the door and driving to the office nice and early. She likes to be in to the office first to get an overview of the morn- ing's state of play from the over- night duty officer. This enables her to plan and allocate her own and her team's work. But a charter broker can only plan about half their time; the rest takes shape as the day unfolds, as new requests come in and ongoing flight projects change.

During the day, Black's team will also manage operational work for ongoing bookings such as schedule changes, catering requests, passenger lists and the like. At busy times it can also include battling slot delays, airport congestion, adverse weather, aircraft AOG problems, crew sickness or other more bizarre issues. “I once had to delay a flight for two hours to allow for eyelash restyling,” she says. “Yes, really.”

This particular morning sees the weekly team meeting where each broker brings an overview of the projects they are working on to the discussion. They brainstorm how to overcome several significant issues: how to find a solution for a client where owner release has been withdrawn on the jet and another operator has to be encouraged to price match in order to confirm the booking; how to overcome slot problems in Pisa; and whether to propose using the empty leg of an existing booking for another client. This latter issue would depend on whether both clients could fix their schedule. Although it would result in better financial value, in the end the team decides that the clients are both likely to keep changing their schedules, which would place undue stress on the operation and so is probably best avoided.

Black has an experienced team of six brokers who have all been with the company for a consid-erable number of years so there is a lot of knowledge to share. And she loves the fact that after more than 20 years in the aviation industry she still learns something new almost every day.

"Charter Broker readers under- stand well what we brokers do. We are the vital link between the end user and the operator and we are here to deliver simplification of the process and a real insight into what the client needs to the operator,” she says. To the client, H&P's brokers offer global buying power and years of experience that enable them to deliver tailored solutions. The key to their success is great relationships with industry-wide suppliers, such as FBOs and other service providers beyond the airports.

“That's one of the reasons I was delighted to be invited to join the BACA council a couple of years ago,” she continues. “I love to spread the word about the vitality of the business aviation industry and to encourage relationship building, training and upholding good business practice across all areas of the charter industry.”

With this in mind, she is part of the BACA project group organ-ising the air charter expo ACE17 on 12 September at London Biggin Hill airport. So today she also spends a couple of hours in the afternoon studying a very healthy-looking exhibition plan and an exciting static display. She takes conference calls with a couple of the operators in order to finalise the details of their participation, and then feeds this back into the working group via another conference call. These are the next steps in finalising the event's conference and training programmes.

At the end of that call she has managed to nominate herself to take on a fair portion of the programme work; another chance to give something back, which she wilI relish. But she is particularly pleased to discover that more than a quarter of the pre-registered delegates are from Hong Kong, the USA, UAE, Mexico, Ghana and South Africa as well as Europe.

So, it's been another successful and fulfilling day at the Tower, as H&P's famously unique office is affectionately known, and Black dashes home to enjoy family time. Her daughters have grown up around her being in aviation and share her enthusiasm for it. Over the years her family has put up with a great deal in terms of her travels, sleepless nights and 'plane spotter' ways. But she has to confess to a complete and utter addiction to aviation.

 

Contact details
Hunt & Palmer
Air Charter Expo (ACE17)
BACA - The Air Charter Association