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December 2017
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Along with senior colleagues Paul McCluskey is driving discussion on the state of the industry and the US regulation of brokers

News from Acana: A commitment to best practice

Following the hurricane in Florida in November a US private jet customer wrote about her experience of business aviation involvement in the rescues: “Ultimate Jet Charters and Stratos Jet did an excellent job helping people depart from Florida quickly and safely during hurricane Irma. However, I had a very unfortunate experience trying to leave from Orlando Executive airport during this evacuation. A charter with a different company left my family and I in a perilous situation when the aircraft didn't meet us at the airport. This company then moved back our departure time, but treated later bookings with a higher priority than ours.” Eventually she secured another aircraft but it was tremendously stressful for her family.

The customer was keen to avoid future similar challenges and asked whether there are organisations that accept feedback or provide recommendations on air charter companies, to serve as a warning to other clients as well as provide intelligence on more professional companies such as Ultimate Jet Charters and Stratos Jet.

ACANA agrees whole-heartedly with these sentiments and recognises that it is imperative to educate users of business aviation about standards of professionalism within the broker industry in particular, and the air charter industry in general.

On being told that brokers of ad hoc air charter are unregulated by government she went on to say: “I wish I had been more informed and I welcome the opportunity to help prevent such issues for others. Greater adoption of these independent standards is of benefit to the industry.”

Interestingly, Stratos Jets is an ACANA member broker and Ultimate Jet Charters is one of the longest-standing ACANA member operators. The ACANA logo appears on company websites and it is an association objective to market the best practice standards ACANA members commit to more widely among customers.

On another note, one Part 135 operator recently ceased operations following Chapter 7 liquidation proceedings in the US court. The association has been watching this situation unfold and the unanimous feeling among the membership is that it is not the sort of operation an ACANA member would want to be associated with, as any such relationship would be the opposite of the best practices and fiscal responsibility our members are committed to and demonstrate on a daily basis. Indeed, one of the inviolable requirements to be accepted into the ACANA membership fold is the demonstration of financial responsibility and fitness.

The association is expanding on its commitment to establishing, quantifying and maintaining best practices, high ethical standards and fiscal responsibility among the membership. We were recently fortunate enough to have 10 very senior individuals who have been, and continue to be, instrumental in driving ACANA's positive agenda together in the same city at the same time for the NBAA-BACE and IMEX trade shows, which coincided in Las Vegas in October. We were able to take a few hours to discuss the state of the industry and examine the situation regarding government efforts to establish baseline regulation for the brokering of aircraft charter in the US. Frankly, we feel that well intentioned government efforts have stalled and that, while there may still be some will to move forward, there is little urgency and even fewer available resources.

ACANA represents a wealth of exemplary industry knowledge and expertise. We feel it is not only viable but morally compelling to make these resources available to the industry and the travelling public, and that there also exist very real opportunities to establish ACANA certification, education and training programmes for member companies and their staff respectively. Over the coming months we will be looking to kick-start these initiatives and explore how we can integrate with fellow industry organisations to strengthen these efforts.

Paul McCluskey, chairman, CANA

PBJ's response to the hurricane

“Paramount Business Jets (PBJ) staff did not sleep for three days,” says CEO Richard Zaher. The team helped rescue more than 50 families over two days. The phones were ringing non-stop and all the staff were emotionally involved in getting people out of harm's way.

One PBJ staff member was reduced to tears when an operator refused to complete a trip. As the storm got closer, arriving aircraft availability became more scarce as the risk of a mechanical could mean leaving a $30 million asset in its path. Such cancellations were more frequent as the storm got closer and it made for an incredibly tense few days.


Contact details
Paramount Business Jets
Air Charter Association of North America (ACANA)
Ultimate Jetcharters
Stratos Jet Charters