Forty Years of Flight

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-By Aleisha Parr

In 1972, Canberra local interests perceived a need for a safe, professional, competent and capable air charter company that could offer a variety of aircraft and services; from this initiative, Corporate Air took flight. The company is now celebrating its fortieth operational year as an air charter company.

Today the company provides its Australia-wide charter services in many markets covering corporate charter, mining charter, overnight freight, aerial imaging, search and rescue and outback tours. With aircraft based across southern and eastern Australia, Corporate Air has achieved a level of repute from satisfied customers and the aviation industry as a whole for its safe, reliable and cost-effective delivery of services. Offering charter services to meet any corporate client’s needs – including one-off or regular charters, regular fly-in-fly-out, or an executive aircraft on fixed contract – the Corporate Air team is committed to providing its clients with world best practice aviation services.

The company offers a number of unique capabilities which have fostered a strong uptake of services by a broad range of charter clients. Included in these capabilities is Corporate Air’s ability to operate pressurised turboprop aircraft into remote grass, dirt or gravel airstrips, and its ability to undertake long distance interstate and international flights.

“When we opened our Canberra base,” Corporate Air COO, Andrew Webb, explains, “typical charters included flying bookmakers to and from race meetings, transport of stock and station agents on rural visits and collection of bank data from regional branches for transfer to major cities. We also conducted many rural land sales inspection flights (buy a slice of paradise from only $9 an acre) on behalf of a number of different land development organisations.

“Over the period our operations have diversified, with the addition of both long-term contracts and ad hoc charters Australia-wide together with ad hoc international flights. Today the company has aircraft based in Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Central Australia’s Cooper Basin. All flights are co-ordinated from our Head Office in Canberra with full client support.”

To deliver an immediate response, Corporate Air has made itself available around-the-clock for urgent charters. States Mr Webb, “Our clients work 24/7 so we do also – we’re available at all times and often operate at short notice.”

The company’s large fleet of aircraft are suitable for a range of services into remote locations, and are fully equipped for all-weather day and night operations. By maintaining its own fleet, pilots and maintenance facilities, the company is able to maintain full control over its operations, thereby ensuring the highest standard of service to its clients. Additionally, Corporate Air promotes a ‘best practice’ strategy in order to provide its clients with the professional services best suited to their requirements. Its management and staff are committed to continuous improvement in the quality of the services provided and company operations.

Aiming to be an employer of choice to its workforce of over ninety staff, the company cultivates strong relationships with its suppliers and recognises the key role and contribution of its employees and shareholders.

Notes Mr Webb, “We recognise that to deliver consistent quality service requires a quality team and identifying, attracting and retaining the best people is important to us… We’ve been careful to select good people, train them well and create an environment where they can deliver the desired outcome for our clients.

“For example with our Flight Crew, we invest significantly in rigorous training to airline standards. Because Corporate Air maintains an RPT (Regular Public Transport) Air Operator Certificate, all Crew are trained and checked under a CASA approved system which means that standards are significantly higher than those required for charter only operations.”

Not only does the company maintain current ISO accreditations for quality, OH&S and Environment, but it has also officially been accredited as a Basic Aviation Risk Standard (BARS) fixed wing operator, with zero audit findings and without restriction against the new standard.

The BARS Program – developed by the Australian office of the Flight Safety Foundation, the global independent body for aviation safety in conjunction with some of the world’s major resource companies – was developed to make flying safer for personnel employed in the resource sector. Supplementary to existing national and international regulations, the BARS Program introduced a standardised safety audit across the sector replacing multiple audits with one review conducted to a rigorous international standard.

Over the past forty years of its operations in Australia, Corporate Air has taken a conservative and long-term sustainable approach to business, a factor to which Mr Webb attributes much of the company’s strength.

“The long-term objective of Corporate Air,” explains Mr Webb “is to continue to grow in a sustainable manner with beneficial outcomes for clients, staff, shareholders and suppliers. The business should remain self-supporting, stand alone and provide an acceptable return on the capital invested… Because of our reputation we have developed loyal clients and consequently our business is growing in all areas.”

He proceeds to explain that the company expects growth in the resource sector to be influenced by a combination of factors, including: high regional and remote airfares on scheduled airlines; lack of airline capacity at peak times to and from rural centres; inability to complete a full day’s work using scheduled air services; inflexible airline schedules; long processing times at major airport terminals; a lack of scheduled airline services into many regional communities; and a shortage of (often expensive) overnight accommodation especially in mining centres.

Mr Webb reveals a sense of pride as he concludes: “Specifically we see ourselves as ad hoc and contract charter aircraft specialists and we’re already eyeing up the 50 year anniversary with enthusiasm.”

At present, Corporate Air is initiating strategies across all business sectors that will see it continue to meet Australia’s air charter requirements over the next decade. The company further plans to continue to grow in a sustainable manner delivering quality to its clients and beneficial outcomes for its staff, shareholders and suppliers.

“We’re often asked what has been the key to Corporate Air’s success over the forty years,” shares Mr Webb. “The answer is simple – but only achieved through the hard work of all of our people who are committed to providing a world best practice aviation service with a focus on excellence at all times. It’s about understanding both what our clients expect from a charter airline and also the role we play in facilitating the conduct of their businesses – the consistent delivery of a quality service.”

Making Sense of Management

Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

October 31, 2020, 7:10 PM AEDT