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Chris Chapman Presented With Lifetime Achievement Award at ACN Awards

Chris Chapman, Chairman and founder of Chapman Freeborn Airchartering was last week honoured to be presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Air Cargo News Awards in London.

Chris is a well known and respected figure within the air charter industry since founding Chapman Freeborn in 1973 on a humble Hercules management contract. Over the years, Chapman Freeborn has evolved into an award-winning global aircraft charter company with offices on all continents which co-ordinated more than 4,500 cargo and passenger charters last year, as well as aircraft lease contracts.

Chris Chapman said:

"I am proud and a little embarrassed to be recognised in this way. I may still be the figurehead of the group but we remain a large and dedicated team which has grown beyond the modest expectations that I started out with. I'm pleased to say, I feel we've remained humble, maintained and improved the service to our clients; and built solid relationships with our partners. I hope we can continue in the same vein for many years to come."

A Biography of Chris Chapman

Chris was born in 1942. His father was a policeman and he was educated across the road from Highbury Stadium and remains a lifelong "gooner" (fan of Arsenal Football Club!).

Secondary education passed unremarkably and Chris's first job was cleaning tables before going to work at a freight forwarder, Thomas Meadows. Eventually, he was initiated into the world of air charter in 1959 working at Southend Airport based Tradair.

They ceased trading in 1962 and Chris joined Tradair founder Eric Hanks in a charter broking outfit called H Clarkson Air & Shipping Services. This went onto become Baltic Exchange member, Clarkair and a worldwide air charter broker.

After various other changes including working with another broking operation called Airmark, Chris worked with an Alaskan Hercules operator to manage their fleet as they were stuck in Chapter 11 whilst broking. He called the broking company, Chapman Freeborn Airmarketing because as he says "he lacks creative imagination"! The other half of Chapman Freeborn at that time was Chris's colleague from Tradair, Clarkair and Airmark, Mike Freeborn (who later stepped back in 1978 although Chris kept the name).

The early mission was to find work for the Alaskan Hercules fleet which flew south to sunnier climes of Botswana, Bangladesh, Oman and Saudi Arabia. This all started in 1973 and the rest, as they say, is aviation history.

Chris notes that he has been superbly supported by his partner, Lisa, and 4 children who are now living all over the world. Chris himself divides his time between the UK and Bergerac, France where he also owns a restaurant, which serves the finest French cuisine.

Chris concluded in his award acceptance speech "After nearly 50 years of chartering aircraft, I still enjoy the business and I can't believe how lucky I was to find something that I could do and enjoy. I have an incredible team of dedicated, hardworking and entrepreneurial colleagues who make it all possible for me, so my thanks also to them".

5th May 2009