Chapman Freeborn expands its network

The charter broker moves into Dubai following high demand for flights to Iraq and Afghanistan

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By  Laura Barnes Published  February 6, 2005

Chapman Freeborn Aviation Services, the charter aircraft broker, is ramping up its operations in the Middle East and India, as it looks to cash in on the region’s booming charter market. The company has recently opened an office in Dubai, in addition to its Sharjah base, to cope with the extra traffic in the UAE market. Chapman Freeborn’s Mumbai branch has also secured approval from the Indian government to apply for permissions for all types of aircraft operations, which will greatly enhance the services the company can offer in the Subcontinent as well. The charter broker has had an office in Sharjah for six years, but it has now added another one in the Dubai Airport Free Zone to cope with the rising demand in the UAE. This office, which opened in October, is now handling a number of flights each week, predominately to Iraq and Afghanistan. “Iraq is a very lucrative market for us at the moment. This is because there are no scheduled services into the country, although this will change within the next year or so,” commented Michael Roth, Dubai office general manager, Chapman Freeborn Aviation Services. “We presently hold a contract with one of the main suppliers for workers in Iraq and so we operate daily flights if not twice-daily. It is not just passenger flights though, we also supply cargo to Afghanistan and Iraq, including vehicles and machinery parts.” Elsewhere, the company is also gearing up for opportunities in India, driven by greater liberalisation of the country’s aviation policies. “The world is changing and in particular in the Indian Subcontinent region,” said Roth. “Changes in air freight and the aviation industry will happen there as well; it is just a matter of when.” Currently, it takes three to five working days to get permission to use India’s airspace, which causes problems for all charter aircraft companies. However, the Indian Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) is moving towards allowing greater freedom of movement for charter aircraft in the region. As Chapman Freeborn has a presence there now, before the changes take place, the company believes it will be one step ahead of the future competition. “At the moment, it takes a long time to get permission from the ICAA, as they have to see if there are any objections for us to fly in the area. However, this is something that we see changing in the future, and so we want to be ahead of the market by having an office there now,” said Roth. Chapman Freeborn’s services have also been in heavy demand over the last month or so, because of the effort to provide aid for the victims of the Asian tsunami disaster. “We have clients like the United Nations, the World Food Programme, the Red Cross and the German government, and a lot of effort at the moment is being put into providing aid for the worst hit areas like Colombo, Jakarta and Phuket,” noted Roth. In a ten day period at the beginning of January, for instance, between 40 and 50 flights were chartered by Chapman Freeborn, using a variety of aircraft, including Boeing 747s, DC10s and Ilyushin Il-76s. These planes carried humanitarian aid, such as blankets, tents, medicine and food. Cargo was lifted from a number of airports in the Middle East and Europe and flown to relief stations across the disaster area, including Malé, Jakarta, Phuket and Colombo. “The speed of deployment all depends on when the cargo is ready to be sent,” Roth said. “We had a case where the aircraft was deployed with a full cargo load within 24 hours of hearing about the disaster. That is really quick and shows that aid can be dispatched as soon as a crisis breaks out,” noted Roth.

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