Managing a charter boom


In a new series on Business Airport International, we speak with some of the recipients of NBAA’s 40 Under 40 awards for 2018. This week, Adam Hartley, manager of the charter management team and global emissions program at Universal Weather and Aviation, explains his career to date, thoughts on business aviation and key challenges facing the industry.

What was your first job in the business aviation industry?

I started in the flight following department at Universal Weather and Aviation, obtaining ATAs and ATDs for movement of aircraft and forwarding that information to the operator and downline service providers and regulatory agencies.

How has your career progressed since then?

The flight following team grew to a production team in charge of requesting and confirming ground landing services, landing/overflight permits, and US and Canadian customs setups and updates.

From there, I began to focus my areas of interest on US Customs and regulatory requirements for arrivals and departures to the United States. Staying within regulatory, I helped establish Universal’s full-time 24/7 global regulatory services team and served as a supervisor for several years. I moved over to the charter management teams as an operations manager, but have stayed very close to regulatory services and government industry affairs.

Currently, I manage a 24/7 operations team, Universal’s global emissions support, serve on NBAA’s Schedulers and Dispatchers committee and recently joined NATA air charter committee to advocate for industry.

Why do you enjoy working in the business aviation industry?

I love the challenges that non-scheduled aviation presents. No two missions, clients or scenarios are the same and that requires creativity to deliver seamless trips. That’s the work, but I also love the people. There are so many passionate and wonderful people in this industry. Even though in many cases we are competitors, when necessary we can come together for the betterment of all. I really like working complex missions and reducing our clients’ stress, but I also love teaching and helping industry!

What is one of your fondest memories from your business aviation career so far?

My first NBAA Schedulers and Dispatchers Conference in New Orleans was a real introduction to the community of business aviation. I hosted a panel educational session discussing regulatory and operational best practices and was blown away at how open and supportive everyone is the room was. The session organically evolved into more of a roundtable discussion with SMEs in all corners of the room. The feedback we received mentioned a lot of specific ways that attendees had applied both the knowledge from the panel as well as their peers to positive effect.

What is one of your most challenging times in this industry?

In 2009, the European Commission released a directive for the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme. Even though I was still early in my career, my mentor Laura Everington allowed me to take the lead on Universal’s plan for helping operators comply with this brand new and complex regulation. More than a few times in those early days, I worried I was in over my head. I persevered and with her guidance, and some great partners within and outside Universal, we brought EU-ETS Monitoring and Reporting services to market. To date, we have completed thousands of reports for hundreds of operators and are currently expanding to global emissions support to accommodate new regulations.

What do you believe makes a great FBO or business aviation facility?

There are so many standard offerings at FBOs, but customer service and local expertise is what sets people apart. The clientele we serve in this industry have an expectation of service and often submit detailed requests. FBOs that take the extra time to understand, provide specific confirmation and then deliver always stand out. Internationally, we count on FBOs to do more than in the US and good regulatory knowledge and contacts can separate them from their peers.

How do you believe advances in technology will change the business aviation facility in the future?

Information and communication management is the technology we have seen so many turning their focus to. The incredible amount of information and variables needed for trip feasibility and execution continues to grow, but the computing power and interface options are catching up to make the world a smaller and more manageable place.

What innovation will have the biggest impact?

Sustainable fuel is a very interesting subject and could turn the biggest operational cost of aviation on its head.

What do you believe are the key challenges that need to be addressed?

Ever changing and growing complexity of the global regulatory environment. Non-scheduled aviation has long been misunderstood and poorly represented by the regulations that govern our operations. The movement over the last several years is to regulate/tax through self-determined programs putting the onus on operators with relatively little regulatory administration, such as passenger taxes, navigation fees and emissions compliance. Operating within standards while maintaining the flexibility that is a core value of our industry is only getting more difficult.

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About Author


Helen has worked for UKi Media & Events for nearly a decade. She joined the company as assistant editor on Passenger Terminal World and since progressed to become editor of five publications, covering everything from aviation, logistics and e-commerce to meteorology. She has a love for travel and property and has redeveloped three houses in three years. When she’s not editing magazines, she’s running around after her two boys and their partner in crime, Pete the pug.

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