There is a saying widely attributed to Mark Twain which states: “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story”, writes James Leach, chief marketing officer, Air Charter Service Group. In the age of social media, populist politicians and cheap money, accessible for almost any confident pitch, the world of business has certainly taken this mantra to its heart over the past decade.
However, unlike the harmless stories to which the author was no doubt referring, for businesses, the truth has started to bite back. From the Netflix-worthy stories of WeWork and Theranos to FTX and Wirecard, it turns out that eventually a phrase of unknown origin, but one used by my father regularly, has proved a far better philosophy when it comes to business which is: “Numbers talk, bulls**t walks”.
The aviation industry has proved far from immune to the culture of the story, rather than numbers-led business plans securing funding. We had the run of ‘tech’ charter brokerages, with their smoke and mirrors. This was followed by the dawn of the special purpose acquisition companies one of which has been getting lots of coverage lately. There is always a risk of the hype being tripped up by the inevitability of the mathematics known by most in the industry, but ignored by those building a story rather than a long term profitable business.
Air Charter Service on the other hand, has a simple model, but it has built a company which arranges over 28,000 charter flights per year, worth over $1bn, and doing so having made a profit in each of our 30 years in business. Firstly, we build relationships with customers and airlines locally from our 30 offices around the world. For every trip we find the right aircraft and operator for our clients, and we find the right clients for operators. We have set up local companies, with local charter experts speaking local languages, using local bank accounts, local lawyers from São Paulo to Shanghai. We have an operational infrastructure to offer a service that others simply cannot. We like to think we do things properly. We have grown our operation through offering our customers a service in which they see the value and we have done so sustainably. Our numbers talk.
We have a stand at EBACE this year near the entrance to the static display. We are looking forward to meeting those industry partners we know already, and those we don’t. We are sure there will be some interesting stories to share this year.
About the author
James Leach is chief marketing officer, Air Charter Service Group.. His email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org