Agile Vertis Aviation supports passenger and cargo flights
By Jane Stanbury
Swiss charter company Vertis Aviation is well known for its boutique approach to arranging charters for captains of industry, international business executives and high net worth individuals. During COVID 19 however its focus has shifted in response to demand for repatriation and medevac flights.
“We have had to work in a very fluid environment,” says Chief Operating Officer, Catherine Buchanan, explaining how the immediate urgency led to her, and her team, working through three straight days and nights during the first high-impact weekend.
“We’d arrange a flight, set everything in place, and then 30 minutes later the authorities would modify the regulations, and everything would change. This meant we’d have to alter the routing while incorporating unfamiliar regulations into the plans.
We found we had to quickly adapt to newly created authorities granting permits and ensuring we remain current with which airspace and airports are open, and what the restrictions on the ground may entail.”
For example, one client needed to travel from Europe to China. The plan involved chartering a private aircraft for a group of passengers which would interline with a commercial flight in Hong Kong to transport the customers to their final Chinese destination.
A few hours after booking the charter, Hong Kong authorities introduced a new mandate that all arriving passengers had to go into quarantine for 14 days.
|Chief Operating Officer, Catherine Buchanan.|
“This rule was only applicable to those that had the right to remain for 14 days. If they didn’t fall into this category, the traveller would be denied entry. Our customers only had the right to remain in Hong Kong for seven days, so we had to revise the whole trip. We first tried to change the connection point to Macau, but it then locked down just as we were about to confirm. Bangkok was the next option, but it was the same story. Eventually we managed to make a connection through Cambodia, and they were able to reach their destination,” says Buchanan, highlighting “the dynamics of the COVID 19 aviation landscape.”
The Vertis team is not easily fazed however, and is committed to supporting the industry and its customers. Buchanan says they have also been liaising with general aviation operators that have switched their regular passenger operations to cargo lifts. “Moving cargo is not something we are generally involved with, but in situations such as this you adapt your skills to support managing the crisis wherever you can. We have been using all our expertise to make sure our customers, or freight, reach their destinations. It has been frustrating at times and has resulted in some complex flights, but at least we’ve been able to use our knowledge to positive effect.”
BlueSky Business Aviation News | 23rd April 2020 | Issue #554
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