Patrick Margetson-Rushmore, CEO of Luxaviation UK, discusses the company’s relationship with the music industry and what it takes to fly high profile musicians around the world.
Q: How does Luxaviation UK create partnerships with musicians and their agents?
A: Band tours and music festivals represent a key part of our business at Luxaviation UK. We work with charter brokers, on behalf of artists and their management teams, to get them from A to B during the hectic festival season or a sold-out European tour. In these cases, the broker is very much our client and it is our job to ensure artists and their teams receive the outstanding service they expect. Our operations team works closely with the broker to carefully map out the artist’s flight itineraries, schedules and requirements.
Q: What do the partnerships entail?
A: We provide a much more comprehensive service than just flying an artist to and from each show. Our cabin staff and pilots are exceptionally well trained and make sure that the artists receive a seamless and enjoyable experience. We have valuable relationships with other third parties, including airports, FBOs and car services, to enable us to provide a seamless experience.
Q: How are these partnerships mutually beneficial?
A: Music tours are particularly good business for us because they often lead to repeat business. They can last anything from a few days to a number of weeks, so they are a great way to keep our fleet in the skies – which is how we make our money. We are, of course, entirely committed to ensuring every client receives an outstanding service, so, with music tours, if we excel first time around then the broker will very likely come back to us again the next time their client is touring.
Q: How does Luxaviation UK ensure their partners are happy?
A: We appreciate that, after a high intensity show, most artists want to relax on board and rest up before they have to go again at their next show, so we make their experience as straightforward as possible to alleviate any stress. We will make sure that any requests they have made in advance are met, such as onboard dining or sleeping arrangements. Almost anything is possible, right down to a particular brand of mineral water or pillows made from a specific material; but a little advance notice makes all the difference in avoiding last minute disappointments.
Perhaps most importantly, we are able to tailor a schedule as per a clients’ needs. This particularly appeals to brokers and their clients because, if a show is cancelled or re-arranged at short notice, they still need to move on to another destination.
Q: What are the key challenges that come with this type of partnership?
A: Because music tours involve such strict schedules, often spanning significant periods of time, this can create challenges for pilots and crew. There are a number of factors that can lead to schedule changes – cancellations, delays, bad weather, security – so it is essential that we are able to present a solution as soon as possible, if an issue arises. Fortunately, the stereotypical ‘rockstar’ attitude is not the image that most modern artists want to portray and they are more accustomed to health and wellness trends – which certainly makes it easier for us!
Q: What advice would you give to companies wanting to create their first commercial partnership?
A: It’s very important that tours are planned comprehensively in advance, to ensure artists have plenty of time to recuperate between each show. Our operations team is always on hand to discuss any flight requests and provide logistical solutions. Using the appropriate aircraft is also important and we utilise our fleet depending on a broker’s requirements. For larger tour groups, we would suggest a Legacy 600 with space for 13 passengers and the largest baggage compartment of any business jet; while for smaller groups we would recommend a Challenger 300 that can seat up to nine people, or a Citation XL that would suit an individual artist on their own or with a PA/manager.