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Private jets | Airliners | Cargo freighters | On board courier
The latest stories from across the Chapman Freeborn group

Welcome to the latest issue

From a global partnership with Etihad Airways, to the transportation of 19 rally cars in a first-of-its-kind charter...

Having just returned from a visit to our offices in the Asia-Pacific region, it’s clear that our ongoing success is due to the tight-knit cooperation and strengths of Chapman Freeborn’s one global team. From air cargo and passenger charters to on board courier services and flight support, the following stories highlight our ability to provide solutions for a diverse range of aviation needs.

Cargo Air Charter

First of its kind delivery for the FIA World Rallycross Championship

Chapman Freeborn, along with logistics partner GAC, have successfully transported 19 Rallycross cars to Trondheim Airport, Norway (TRD) on board a chartered Kalitta Air B747-200F.

The operation, which supports the FIA World Rallycross Championship as it moves into its 8th round, departed from Montréal–Mirabel Airport in Canada (YMX), marking the first time supercars competing in the competition have been transported by air.

The FIA World Rallycross Championship is a rally series made up of 13 rounds. As it stands, Norway’s Petter Solberg is the reigning champion, after beating Finnish driver Toomas Heikkinen by 46 points in 2014. 28 competitors from 11 countries are competing for the title this year, and Solberg is once again top of the leaderboard.

After the seventh round of the series held in Canada, our air cargo team were tasked with transporting 19 rallycross cars along with 30 tons of loose spare parts and support equipment for the event in the village of Hell, Norway.

On arrival, the shipment received plenty of media coverage. Solberg and second place Andreas Bakkerund were at the airport to welcome the cars, as were members of the IMG World Rallycross management, and organisers from Hell Rallycross. Journalists and reporters witnessed all of this via helicopters hovering overhead, and Solberg even put on a display in one of the cars.

Whilst the vehicles might not look as impressive as their Formula 1 counterparts, looks can be deceiving with each car delivering:

  • 600bhp

    Power Output

  • 1.9 secs

    0-60 MPH

  • 900Nm


  • 4WD Manual


IL-76 cargo charter for outsize part helps keep oil facility open

Chapman Freeborn and Volga-Dnepr Airlines helped to keep a key oil facility open by delivering a time-critical outsize part from Switzerland to Brazil

A 28-ton rotor was flown from Zurich (ZRH) to Salvador (SSA) on an Ilyushin-76TD-90VD freighter aircraft, chartered by our cargo team on behalf of an oil and gas industry client.

With the plant facing closure until the replacement part could be delivered, specialists at our São Paulo office coordinated the time-critical cargo charter operation which required special exemptions to allow for customs clearance during the weekend.

Assisted by colleagues in Europe and Volga-Dnepr’s professional loadmasters, the outsize equipment was carefully loaded into the aircraft using a 100-ton crane hired in for the project.

Maria Faria, country manager at Chapman Freeborn Brazil, said:

“Our cargo charter team was working on an extremely tight timescale and we’re delighted to have successfully executed the operation for our client. I would also like to thank Volga-Dnepr for its support in making the timely delivery possible.”

  • 28-tons

    Cargo Weight

  • Ilyushin Il-76


  • 5k miles

    Flight Distance

  • 10.5 hrs

    Flight Time

Chapman Freeborn CEO Russi Batliwala appointed to TIACA board

The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) has announced the election of Russi Batliwala to its board of directors.

Our CEO is one of five new appointments to the association which represents every part of the global air cargo supply chain.

Joining Batliwala as newly elected board members are Amy Smith, Head of Customs and Regulatory Affairs, DHL Express (USA), Inc, Chee Meng Wong, Senior Vice President, Cargo Services, SATS, Oliver Gritz, Chief Commercial Officer, MD Europe, Worldwide Air Logistics Group, Inc, and Greg Guillaume, Senior Vice President (Strategic Development), Atlas Worldwide Holdings Ltd.

The new officers, from Asia, Europe, and North America, will broaden the global reach and bring a wider scope of expertise to the TIACA board.

Welcoming the five new appointments, Doug Brittin, TIACA Secretary General, said:

“TIACA is the only association representing every part of the global supply chain and our board of directors reflects that breadth and diversity. They bring important insight into the issues facing different areas of our industry, adding richness and diversity to our leadership.”

Commenting on his selection, Russi Batliwala said:

“It’s an honour to serve on the TIACA board and represent the interests of the air charter industry. I look forward to working with the team to help the association promote the air cargo sector as a whole.”

Special gift delivered to mark Armenian centenary commemorations

Chapman Freeborn and Ruslan International completed a special assignment to deliver broadcasting equipment from China to to Armenia

The equipment was a gift from the people of China to the people of Armenia to ensure TV coverage of the country’s centenary commemorations, which remembers the estimated one and a half million civilians who lost their lives in the early 20th century.

Our cargo specialists in China were responsible for coordinating the complex air cargo charter operation that saw a chartered Antonov An-124 transport the 40-ton cargo from Tianjin in China to the Armenian capital city, Yerevan. The consignment was made up of three outside broadcast vehicles and other equipment including a portable generator. The height of one of the vehicles presented something of a challenge – but one that Ruslan International resolved with the use of a special flat extension ramp that ensured a smooth loading process.

The equipment arrived safely and in time to cover the special event.

35 tons of medicines transported for US pharmaceutical launch

Chapman Freeborn coordinated two time-sensitive charters to transport pharmaceutical cargo from India to the US for the launch of a new asthma treatment

Working in partnership with an international freight forwarder, our cargo charter team provided two B747-400F aircraft to fly 35 tons of medicines from Mumbai (BOM) to Philadelphia (PHL) and 15 tons to Washington (IAD).

The high-value cargo – delivered on behalf of a global pharmaceutical manufacturing company – required temperature-controlled conditions during storage and transit to maintain its sensitive properties and efficacy.

Our cargo charter specialists in India, Dubai and the US worked together on the operation and oversaw the loading of the cargo in Mumbai. In addition to liaising with airport authorities, handling agents and airline loadmasters, the team also secured the necessary customs approvals for the shipments.

Vikas Chaturvedi, project manager at Chapman Freeborn, said:

“We’re pleased to have managed this successful cargo charter contract on behalf of our client. When moving pharmaceutical cargo a careful and systematic approach must be undertaken to ensure the temperature-controlled requirements are met. We always aim to provide the highest quality air charter solutions available.”

Group Air Charter

Cruise line passengers flown to their destination amidst turbulent sailing conditions

In September, our group air charter team received an interesting early morning call from a client looking for a flight within the next 24 hours.

Their vessel had encountered some tidal issues that affected the ships current path. As a result, a large number of passengers required onward transport to a suitable destination and as such, a charter was the only option to ensure that they were disrupted as little as possible.

Upon receiving the enquiry, the team knew immediately who would be best placed to assist the client in terms of location and service and issued a suggested charter solution within the hour. On our recommendations the client was able to act swiftly and the aircraft, a Boeing 737-400, was contracted that day with preparations beginning immediately.

As with any last minute operation, there are always requirements that need to be accommodated with very little notice, and this charter was no exception as, on the day of departure, the team were informed that several passengers required specific wheelchair assistance. This was no problem for us and the carrier, and a suitable solution was arranged instantly. Having direct contact with the cruise director ensured that we were able to advise on all aircraft movements, with the aircraft arriving 15 minutes ahead of schedule.

Malmo FF fans flown to Glasgow for UEFA Champions League qualifier

The level of commitment that devoted fans show to their clubs is often rewarded by passionate performances from the players – they feel the need to win the game for the supporters who made the effort to be there.

This is especially true when the journey to away matches involves travelling far and wide, even between countries. Recently, Chapman Freeborn helped a group of fans make that happen.

In August, Swedish champions Malmö FF were drawn against Scottish title holders Celtic FC in the playoff round of the UEFA Champions league. The winners of this two-legged tie would qualify for the tournament, with the potential to play some of the biggest clubs in Europe.

Chapman Freeborn were approached to transport 537 Malmö supporters to Glasgow for the team’s away leg. Three aircraft were chartered for the operation: a B737-800, an A320 and a B737-400. Despite the logistical challenge of having to land all supporters at Glasgow at the same time, this hurdle was overcome and each aircraft arrived without delays.

The match ended 3-2 to Celtic, however the fans deemed it a good result, as they believed that the deficit was small enough to overturn in the home tie. It turned out that they were correct, as a week later, Malmö beat Celtic 2-0 in Sweden, meaning that they won 4-3 on aggregate and qualified for the Champions league.

Dedicated fans of Red Bull driver Max Verstappen flown to the Austrian Grand Prix

The 21st and 22nd of June saw Formula 1 addicts flock to the Red Bull Ring in Graz for the Spielberg Austrian Grand Prix.

Among the drivers set to take to the tarmac in the highest class of motor racing in the world was 17 year-old Max Verstappen. The youthful speed freak is the youngest ever driver to compete in a Formula One championship – in fact he is not yet legally old enough to obtain a driving licence in his home country of Belgium.

Max’s age hasn’t stopped him building up a hoard of loyal supporters, many of whom were simply not willing to miss the race. As a result, our Benelux office were tasked with flying 145 fans on a day return trip from Amsterdam to Graz.

The passengers were flown on a chartered B737-300, which was also fully customised in support of Max and his sponsor Red Bull on behalf of the supporters – including headrest covers, cabin attendant uniforms, caps and a plentiful supply of Red Bull energy drinks for all on board.

Max managed a very respectable, point-scoring 8th position at the race, much to the delight of his dedicated fans.

Karen Ruysschaert, Passenger Charter Broker in our Benelux office adds:

“We were delighted to have been an integral part of getting a sizeable number of Max’s fans to the race in Graz so they could show their support for a result that they no doubt felt a part of.”

Private Jet Charter

Etihad and Chapman Freeborn launch A380 and private jet collaboration

Chapman Freeborn is proud to announce a collaboration that links Etihad‘s First Class network including The Residence – a three-room luxury suite on board its A380 fleet – with worldwide private jet charter.

  • Signing Ceremony

    On Monday 21st September, our CEO Russi Batliwala and Etihad’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, Shane O’Hare, signed the agreement at the Etihad Innovation Centre in Abu Dhabi.

  • The Residence

    Etihad have recently launched The Residence on board its A380 fleet. Measuring 125 square feet, The Residence has changed the landscape of premium airline travel with a living room, double bedroom, private bathroom, dedicated Savoy-trained Butler and onboard Chef.

    This complements an already superb First Class network across the Etihad fleet, including the First Apartments – 9 private living spaces on each of their A380’s.

  • London, Sydney, New York and beyond

    The Residence is currently available on board A380 flights from Abu Dhabi to London and Sydney, with Abu Dhabi to New York going live in December this year.

    By partnering with Chapman Freeborn, Etihad has now added a further dimension to personalised air travel, offering passengers the ultimate in high-end service on its own fleet – combined with the luxury and time-saving benefits of private jet travel.

  • Global private jet connections

    Where a client’s travel needs fall outside of the Etihad Residence and First Class network, Chapman Freeborn will provide onward private jet charter, meaning the collaboration has the potential to offer the largest private jet experiences in the world. With seamless connections and a truly bespoke travel experience, passengers can step off their Etihad service and on to a waiting jet to fly them to their final destination.

The partnership offers the largest private jet experience in the world

Inflatable clown travels to Ibiza on his own private jet

Every summer, hoards of party goers flock to the Spanish island of Ibiza to experience the best nightlife Europe has to offer.

World-famous musicians and DJ’s travel from across the globe to entertain these crowds, putting on shows that draw in thousands of people to watch them perform.

However, earlier this year, our Benelux office received an unusual Friday-afternoon call from a DJ that needed their help to make his show everything his fans might expect it to be.

The DJ was having some transportation issues with his props, specifically an inflatable clown, apparently integral to the planned show.

Our charter experts in our Benelux office were on hand to provide the perfect charter solution, a Cessna Citation private jet. Once the finishing touches were completed on the clown, it was transported from Brussels Airport to the party island, where it took a starring role in the DJ’s set that very same night.


On board courier completes round-the-world assignment in four days

Our On board courier (OBC) team in Cologne recently organised a hand carry operation that involved a full circle route around the globe

The on board courier completed the 24,605 mile journey in 4 days, travelling through 8 airports in 3 continents – a distance which is equivalent to travelling the full circumference of the Earth at the equator.

As the courier’s original consignment was a single delivery from Madrid to El Paso, the operation did not start as a round-the-world trip, and after completing his delivery at El Paso International Airport, the courier then began a new assignment which required him to travel to Cebu in the Philippines. From Cebu, he made his way back to his original departure point in Madrid via Singapore and Frankfurt.

The on-demand nature of the operation highlights our OBC team’s ability to make best use of a network of couriers on the ground, around the world, providing time and cost-effective hand-carry solutions.

The full route is shown below:

Map provided by Google Maps

Across the Group

Wings 24's Flight Watch service averts flight diversion chaos

Our Wings 24 team were on hand when a flight to Bourgas in Bulgaria encountered severe thunderstorms

The aircraft was unable to land as planned and had to divert to Sofia awaiting improvement in the weather. Unfortunately, on arrival the crew didn’t have enough hours to operate the return leg, resulting in an unscheduled layover.

As a result, 144 passengers were now stranded in Sofia at 1am in the middle of the busiest period of the holiday season, waiting for their delayed onward flight. With a handling agent under pressure and with the airline possessing no hotel agreements in the area, the situation could have been a recipe for chaos along with a great deal of stress for the passengers. Fortunately, the airline had Wings 24 performing flight watch on their behalf.

Wings 24 were in contact with the airline as soon as the diversion came to light, allowing them to start planning how the delay would be managed and importantly how the forthcoming days schedule could be recovered.

The Wings 24 team were able to source accommodation for all passengers in multiple hotels, liaising with local handling agents and ensuring all necessary transport was organised. Wings 24 settled all invoices, meaning the airline received one invoice for all incurred expenses with supporting documentation, allowing complete control over the financial impact of the incident.

The passengers were able to continue their journey the following morning well rested and with as little disruption as physically possible.

Lee Goodeve, Manager at Wings 24 adds: “It’s impossible to control weather conditions and delays/diversions. It is however possible for an airline to have control over the implications of such an incident, as in this situation. Many operators have lower numbers or skeleton staff on duty in the evening, but by having us available to deal with the problem as a whole, the airline can concentrate on the regular running of the operation whilst we resolve and manage their problems or even completely avert them by allowing remedial action to be taken early on in a situation.”

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