For many in the travel and hospitality industry, the pandemic brought exceptional challenges. Yet one British company — which proudly celebrates its 6oth anniversary this year — has not stood still during the crisis. Even though it is known for its well-heeled clientele, and might be flying royalty to the south of France one day and Premier League footballers to Rome the next, Air Partner was one of the first companies to airlift people from Wuhan when Covid-19 struck. It worked throughout lockdown, ferrying government officials around the country and — more recently, and very laudably, working with the British government — was instrumental in getting people out of the Afghan capital, Kabul, via the Middle East.
This is a company with a heart and a proud history. Started 60 years ago as a small helicopter taxi service based in Gatwick, it expanded into turboprop planes and now provides private jet services to HNWIs, governments, royalty and businesses. One of the keys to its success is that it has never owned its assets, instead chartering aircraft based on demand. It can fly anything from 10 to 50 private jets a day, overseen by its highly trained pilots and crew. This could range from a bicoastal flight in the US to a day trip to Monaco for a high-value businessman, or taking heads of state from London to Scotland to a tricky landing in the minuscule Sion airport in Switzerland for some off-piste skiing.