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

Cargo Air Charter

Light aircraft transported to Virunga National Park to help protect endangered wildlife

Our Belgian and African teams have co-ordinated the transportation of a Zenith 701 light aircraft to the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The operation was carried out on behalf of the park and employee Anthony Caere, the star of Belgian TV Show ‘Flying Doctors’ which recently documented his journey as he piloted a Cessna 172 aircraft to the Virunga park all the way from Ostend, Belgium.

This time though, the Zenith 701 was dismantled in Senegal, where our teams arranged for it to be transported via 3 x scheduled MD11 legs to Entebbe International Airport, via Frankfurt and Johannesburg. Our cargo team provided a full transport service – managing complex customs procedures and delivering the aircraft on schedule and in a total transit time of less than 5 days.

The 701 is a remarkable aircraft, capable of taking off and landing on runways as small as 100m. It also uses only 15 litres of regular automotive fuel per hour, making it five times cheaper to operate than the parks existing Cessna.

  • 372 miles


  • 85mph

    Max Speed

  • 12,000ft

    Service Ceiling

  • 236kg


The Virunga Park is a 3000 square mile nature reserve, home to a diverse range of flora and fauna including Elephants, Lions, Hippopotami and the critically endangered Mountain Gorilla. Having endured many periods of armed conflict, the park and it’s inhabitants have faced their fair share of problems in the past, but the animal population’s greatest concern is the ongoing and persistent threat of poaching.

The light aircraft will be used to assist the park’s 680 rangers in their efforts to protect and care for Virunga’s wildlife, carrying out aerial patrols, tracking, logistics and evacuations.

Images courtesy of Virunga National Park

Wannes Elias, Cargo Charter Broker at our Belgium office comments:

“It was a huge privilege to be involved in this project, not only because it was an interesting one, but also because we have helped to get an aircraft to the park that will play a major, long term role in protecting endangered species”

Prototype fuel-saving Airbus wing flown on AN-12

Our Belgian team successfully coordinated the transport of an Airbus wing from Linköping City Airport, Sweden to Vitoria Airport, Spain on an AN-12 freighter.

The wing is a prototype and will be used for test flights – it is hoped that the new design will reduce fuel consumption on existing and future Airbus aircraft.

Despite the outsize and fragile nature of the cargo, and the challenge of minus two degree temperatures and lots of ice during loading at Linköping Airport, the cargo was loaded successfully and delivered on schedule.

Wannes Elias, cargo charter broker in our Belgian office comments: “It’s always exciting to be involved in such a unique project, but even more so when the operation forms an integral part of the future development of aviation and it’s environmental impact”

Outsized cargo charter of oil & gas components averts plant shutdown

Chapman Freeborn and partner Scan Logistics Holland recently coordinated the charter of outsize oil and gas components from Shanghai, China to Hahn, Germany onboard a Boeing B747F.

Due to delays with the manufacturer in China, transport of the components was time-critical in order to avoid plant shutdowns at the consignments final destination in the UK.

Our Belgium and China teams were on hand to coordinate the operation and had to overcome several challenges including the last-minute loss of availability on two separate aircraft before the Nippon Cargo B747F used in the charter was successfully sourced.

Our cargo charter experts were able to arrange all aspects of the operation including customs clearances, ground support equipment and onward freight of the cargo to the UK.

The cargo arrived on-schedule, negating the possibility of a shutdown and major revenue loss for the client.

Chapman Freeborn and Norway-based charter specialist Airbroker announce new strategic partnership

At the end of 2015, we launched a new strategic partnership with Oslo-based Airbroker AS to further enhance both companies’ offerings in the international air charter market.

Chapman Freeborn is now the exclusive partner for all of Airbroker’s charter requirements outside of its home market of Norway.

The new agreement has been established to give Norwegian customers greater access to worldwide air charter solutions, while further enhancing Chapman Freeborn’s existing coverage in Scandinavia.

The partnership will give clients access to the full range of charter aircraft through Chapman Freeborn’s global network of over 30 locations – including private jets, commercial airliners and freighter aircraft of all sizes.

In addition to marketing Chapman Freeborn’s international air cargo and passenger charter solutions, Airbroker will also promote the company’s specialist on board courier (OBC) product – which offers hand-carry transportation services to a variety of sectors including the oil and gas industry.

Russi Batliwala, CEO of Chapman Freeborn, said:

“We’re delighted to be partnering with Airbroker – a highly respected company with extensive charter industry expertise. We have a great history of collaboration, and I’m excited to see what this next chapter brings. We look forward to further enhancing our presence in Norway and Scandinavia and offering clients innovative charter solutions on a global basis.”

John Rask, Managing Director of Airbroker, said:

“We are very excited to be on board with Chapman Freeborn and look forward to a close working relationship with them. They are recognised as the global leader in their field and this partnership provides us with the coverage needed to service our clients better than ever before. Their expertise in international markets and relationships with airlines is second to none.”

The Airbroker team will work closely with the existing members of Chapman Freeborn’s Scandinavia team, headed by Kim Borgaard.

Together the two businesses will combine their local market expertise to target further growth in both Norway and Denmark, as well as neighbouring Sweden and Finland.

Chapman Freeborn announces launch of new Katowice operation to accelerate growth in Poland

Chapman Freeborn is increasing its investment in Poland with the launch of a new office in Katowice to meet increased demand for its specialist aviation services.

The group – which currently employs over 80 people in its Warsaw office – will target further expansion for its range of products, including cargo and passenger aircraft charters, on board couriers, and centralised load control services via its Air Dispatch CLC subsidiary.

Commenting on the Katowice office launch, group sales and marketing director Alex Berry, said:

“The last few years have seen our business go from strength to strength in Poland and we believe there is a great opportunity to further develop our unique aviation services in this market.

“Katowice has an abundance of manufacturing industries and a growing reputation for business services – meaning the opportunities to expand our specialist charter and OBC services are significant.”

Chapman Freeborn has appointed Daniel Walaszek as general manager for its new Katowice business, with responsibility for expanding the company’s charter and on board courier (OBC) services in the local market, as well as eastern Europe and the Baltic states.

In a career spanning 15 years, he has worked in a variety of management roles for companies in the logistics sector. His most recent position before joining Chapman Freeborn was as special services operations manager for TNT Express Poland, where he oversaw time-critical cargo projects on a worldwide basis.

Welcoming Daniel Walaszek to the Chapman Freeborn group

Alex Berry, sales and marketing director comments: “We are delighted to have Daniel join us in the position of general manager. He has extensive experience in the international logistics market which makes him a real asset to Chapman Freeborn as we expand our aircraft charter and OBC activities.”

Group Air Charter

Chapman Freeborn assist with launch of new route for Airnavia

Our UK and Scandinavian group air charter teams are delighted to announce that they will be supporting a 6-month flight program for tour operator Airnavia.

Running from May to October, the flights will operate 4 times a week between Aalborg, Denmark and London Stansted, UK in support of a brand new route for the Danish tour operator.

The flights will be carried out by a Danish Air Transport MD83, offering 165 seats in economy configuration.

Aalborg, the fourth largest city in Denmark, has seen significant growth in tourism in recent years with a growing reputation as one of Europe’s premier cultural hubs. With a plethora of theatres, museums, music festivals and carnivals on offer, the city has seen substantial expansion of tourist facilities in recent years, playing host to around 375,000 visitors per year.

Catriona Taylor, commercial charter manager comments: “It’s a pleasure to be a part of Airnavia’s expansion into a new market. We look forward to utilizing our global network and 40+ years of experience again in future projects”

Mathias Madsen, CEO at Airnavia continues: “We are very pleased to cooperate with Chapman Freeborn on our Aalborg-London Stansted-Aalborg route. Our expectations are high, and it is for that reason we are very happy to have Chapman Freeborn as our partner. They have already helped us a lot with entering a new market and we are looking forward to future cooperation”

Torben Ravnkilde, sales director at Danish Air Transport adds: “We are delighted to be a part of this project and look forward to launching the new route. DAT and Chapman Freeborn have developed a strong relationship and this project demonstrates that brokers and airlines can work together perfectly on these kind of operations.”

Private Jet Charter

The Residence by Etihad added to the Avinode platform in industry first

Following the launch of our partnership with Etihad earlier in the year, we are delighted to announce the latest development in the collaboration. Avinode, the world’s leading online tool for buying and selling air charter, will be listing the Residence on its Marketplace.

The 3 room suite, available on the airline’s A380 fleet, will be marketed exclusively by Chapman Freeborn on the Avinode Marketplace. Avinode will list each scheduled flight, where The Residence is available, as a potential empty leg and match these to relevant flight searches.

Oliver King, managing director, Avinode, says: “One of business aviation’s biggest challenges is to pull new customers into the industry, to experience the product. When Chapman Freeborn approached Avinode with the idea to list Etihad’s The Residence, we were excited to explore whether our members could leverage that business, and hopefully reap the benefits at either end of the customer’s experience. By bringing new customers to the industry, we hope that brokers and operators will be able to target these additional opportunities.”

We unveiled our relationship with Etihad Airways earlier this year, with Chapman Freeborn promoting and marketing the carrier’s range of top-end living spaces to its own clients whilst extending their network with onward private jet charter. Etihad Airways’ A380s currently operate three daily services from Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow, daily from Abu Dhabi to New York JFK and Sydney.

Alex Berry, group sales and marketing director at Chapman Freeborn adds:

We are always looking for ways to innovate in our industry, and this unique move will see Etihad’s superb premium products presented in a whole new format to a new audience.”

Poetry rains from the skies over Milan

Our Italian team has played a key role in a high-profile public art event that has seen 100,000 poems dropped from the skies over the city of Milan, Italy.

Following the last successful event in London in 2012, also supported by Chapman Freeborn, the team were responsible for organising the charter of an Agusta 109 helicopter to drop nearly half a ton of poems over Milan’s Cathedral Square.

The aptly named Rain of Poems event, organised by Chilean art collective Casagrande, aims to commemorate cities that have suffered from aerial bombings in the past.

As well as the London event, Chapman Freeborn has previously assisted in the arrangements of poetry bombing events in Berlin (2010) and Warsaw (2009), with previous events taking place over Santiago de Chile, Dubrovnik and Gernika.

Over six thousand people came to watch the display and catch poems written by over 80 contemporary authors from Chile and Italy.

Our Italian team were on hand to provide the extensive air charter expertise required for an operation of this kind, with over 20 separate types of permission needed to be secured for the helicopter flight over the city.


Chapman Freeborn's China team feature in international TV program

Our Chinese team were recently involved in an internationally broadcast TV program covering the development of business aviation in China.

The program was developed for Phoenix Television, a major Mandarin and Cantonese-language broadcaster that serves the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong along with over 150 other territories across the globe.

Diana Kang and Iris Du from our Beijing office were invited to appear on the show as industry experts. A Phoenix TV crew attended our Beijing office to carry out an interview where both Diana and Iris were able to offer expert insight on the private aviation industry in China.

Diana Kang comments:

“We are delighted to have been a part of this TV program – as industry leaders in China we were well placed to offer real insight on the private aviation industry in our unique region. We are also very pleased to have been a part of communicating this content to such a large global audience.”


Focus: On board courier demand increases in Mexico as automotive sector booms

We take a look at why Mexico is one of the most exciting emerging markets for on board courier shipments – fuelled by the acceleration of the country’s automotive manufacturing industry

As recently covered on our OBC blog, Mexico’s low labour costs, favourable trade agreements and obvious geographical advantages make it a highly-attractive option for automotive manufacturers looking to gain the edge in a competitive global market.

Specialist logistics services are set to be in higher demand than ever before following another year of big announcements as international automotive industry giants shift their manufacturing operations to Mexico.

In November, Korean manufacturer Kia Motors announced it has concluded construction on its first plant in Mexico – a state-of-the-art facility in the municipality of Pesquería in the state of Nuevo León. The Kia Motors Mexico Plant will have an annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles – approximately ten per cent of Kia Motors’ total global manufacturing output.

Elsewhere, Japanese giant Toyota revealed it is to invest $1 billion on a new Corolla factory in Mexico – scheduled to open in 2019 in the state of Guanajuato.  The plant will employ approximately 2,000 team members and have the capacity to produce 200,000 units annually.

Shortly after, Ford Motor Co also announced a further $2.5 billion investment in Mexico in the form of new engine and transmission plants in the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Guanajuato, respectively.

Other manufacturers including BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi are also making announcements of their own and increasingly turning their attention to Mexico, where they join manufacturers such as Ford, GM, and Volkswagen.


Nikolai Bergmann, Global Business Development Director at Chapman Freeborn OBC comments:

“We’re seeing significant growth in terms of demand for on board courier shipments to Mexico. The boom is creating substantial opportunities for logistics services – particularly from the second-tier manufacturers that supply components to the major automotive companies."

With suppliers expanding their operations to keep up with the rising demand, automotive cargo movements are becoming increasingly common – particularly from the US, but also key overseas markets in Europe and Asia.

Among the top destinations for on board courier shipments are Mexico City (MEX), Querétaro (QRO) and Del Bajío (BJX), as well as hubs like Chihuahua (CUU) and Monterrey (MTY) in the north of the country.

Bergmann believes this demand will only get more intense in the coming years:

“Mexico’s automotive sector is growing at a rapid pace which is inevitably creating opportunities for logistics specialists. In the next five years it is set to overtake South Korea in terms of the number of assembly lines operating – so it’s a market the whole industry is now paying attention to.”

Read the full article

Across the Group

Wings 24 supports remote operation in a storm

Earlier this winter, Wings 24 supported an aircraft manufacturer as they undertook testing in the remote Outer Hebrides off the coast of Scotland, UK.

In support of the operation, Wings 24‘s responsibilities ranged from arranging fueling and accommodation for the crew to sourcing and transporting the equipment required for the test. The project requirements included the need for hanger space with office facilities, forklift trucks and ground support vehicles.

Most of the equipment required was unavailable on the remote islands and had to be sourced from the UK mainland and transported by road and sea freight. The already complex logistical challenge was compounded by the arrival of the Storm Abigail which brought 100 mph gales to the region and some of the worst weather Scotland has experienced for many years.

The Wings 24 team had to closely monitor the operation and take steps to minimise disruption caused by the storm. After a minimal delay the operation was successfully carried out and the aircraft returned safely to its base in Europe.

Wings 24 are on hand to support the manufacturer’s next operation in 2016 – cold weather testing near the Arctic Circle, where temperatures are expected to be -30 degrees Celsius.

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