Air Charter Service Group revenues surge to $1.2 billion

By Doug Gollan, August 25, 2021

U.K. charter broker Air Charter Service (ACS) revenues spiked 86% in its latest financial year, breaking the billion-dollar mark for the first time

U.K.-based jet card and on-demand charter broker Air Charter Service Group (ACS) saw its revenues grow from GBP 476,741 to GBP 886,638. The results reflect its fiscal year that ended on Jan. 31, 2021. At the current exchange rate, that’s $1.2 billion in top-line revenues.

However, the record results have less to do with flying the well-to-do on charters and jet cards. They were, in fact, driven by cargo charters, say Air Charter Services CEO, Justin Bowman.

Cargo charters drive top-line revenues

According to the company, “While all three of ACS’s core divisions of private jets, group charters, and cargo saw year-on-year increases, the bulk of its growth was driven by the company’s cargo division. With up to 80% of air freight usually traveling in the belly of scheduled passenger aircraft, the cancellation of so many passenger flights meant that cargo charter solutions were needed to compensate, and ACS was in one of the strongest positions to provide them.”

A large part of the cargo charters was from China. It included PPE and test kits, and, later on, more general cargo from reopening factories.

The company’s passenger divisions both had turbulent years with highs and lows as the pandemic progressed.

Early on, evacuations led to a spike in demand. That was followed by lockdowns resulting in the collapse of business travel and major events such as the European Championships. That meant a dive in revenues.

By the end of the year, ACS had seen a record number of new passenger charter customers. It says it has now converted and normalized demand.

Air Charter Services financial forecast

Bowman says, “Whilst these results are unlikely to be achieved again this year, they have allowed us to reinvest heavily in the business across a number of exciting strategies which are already generating returns. Some of these are already helping us to beat even our most optimistic forecasts for the current financial year, and we expect others to provide potentially exciting returns in the longer term.”

ACS has 27 offices worldwide, including across the U.S. According to its financial filings, 53% of revenues come from Europe and 21% from the Americas. Despite the rise in revenues, the average number of staff dipped to 450 from 486. Seventy-one percent (71%) of employees are related to sales.

Filings show profit increased to GBP 39.98 million from GBP 2.97 million.

Reflecting its middleman role, ACS netted GPB 118,127 of its top-line sale, about 13.3%.

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