Air Charter Service celebrates 25th anniversary
AIRCRAFT charter company Air Charter Service (ACS) is celebrating 25 years since chairman Chris Leach and his wife Tina founded the company in the basement of their UK family home in south-west London.
Leach, the son of a pilot and born at what is now London Stansted airport, has aviation in his blood.
Starting as a cargo aircraft loadmaster, he gained experience at Saturn Airways and Transamerica Airlines, as well as working for freight forwarder Savino Del Bene, before seeing an opportunity in the aircraft charter market and forming his own company in 1990.
“I actually started the business just to pay the monthly mortgage [bill], rather than looking to start a global company,” he recalls on its 25th anniversary.
Times were tough at first. “So we rented a spare room in our house to a local student. Coincidentally, he was an aviation enthusiast and spent hours at a time memorising the registration of every aircraft in the world.”
That student was Justin Bowman, now group CEO of ACS.
“The current size of our operation is remarkable and something Tina and I are very proud of,” Leach says.
“Despite our size now, we still strive to retain the family values and personal service on which the business was originally built 25 years ago.”
Over the course of the past two and a half decades the company’s aims have naturally shifted somewhat and the target now is to become the largest charter brokerage house in the world across all three sectors in the next five to 10 years.
“Earlier this year we announced that we will be investing £10 million over the next five years in new charter technology, including the roll out of our new websites over recent months.
“Last year we arranged more than 9,000 charter contracts across our 18 offices, so this year we hope to complete 10,000. We opened our Geneva operation in May and will be opening two new offices in the next six months, which will further increase our market share,” he adds.
*For a more detailed insight into ACS’s past 25 years, the company has put together a video called ‘Our Journey’… which is available to view on the aircargoeye.com video section.