As the aviation industry continues to weather many challenges, Eagle Air, Uganda’s profound air operator remains steady with the provision of tailor-made and customer friendly air services. Key among these services are charter flights. Deo Nyanzi, the head of charter sales and Public Relations Manager at Eagle Air talked to John Vianney Nsimbe about this service.How would you describe a charter flight and how different is it from a regular scheduled one?
A charter flight would best be described as tailor-made private air travel. An air charter is a non-scheduled air service where a person or group hires an aircraft for their exclusive transportation. Unlike a scheduled flight that flies from point A to point B with strict flights days and times, charter flights have no such restrictions and a flight can be requested by anyone, any day, anytime and to anywhere. It is therefore special-hire air travel and its operation is determined by the traveler.
You mean with the charter flight service, Eagle Air can fly people anywhere?
Oh yes! With charters we cover a lot more ground flying wherever there is a serviceable airfield all over East and Central Africa. We operate charters in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo, Sudan, Central African Republic, Congo Brazzaville, Chad, Gabon, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zanzibar, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti etc. Whereas there may be no direct schedule flights between Entebbe to some of the countries mentioned, Eagle Air is regularly chartered to fly to and within most of those countries. Because of the trust we have built in the region, many regional governments and companies keep chartering our aircrafts for both their inland and regional flights.
But why would someone need to charter a plane when there are scheduled flights regularly?
Charter flight service is most ideal for every traveler who treasures time and values their purpose of travel, and also those who wish to travel in an exclusively private and personalized setting.
Air Charters give the passenger total freedom of travel. Unlike other services where your travel is determined by the airline and its schedule, with our charters you are in total control of your travel.
No timetable, everything is determined by you as you decide your destination, the date and time of travel and even who to fly with. You do not have to be hurried through your business because the plane is leaving you or delayed because there is no flight.
Everything is tailored to your needs.
Charter flights are also the best alternative for travel to areas that are not linked by regular schedule services. For example if someone wishes to fly to Kisumu, there is currently no commercial airline operating between Uganda and Kisumu so what many would do is to fly to Nairobi and later connect to Kisumu.
But why go through that hassle when you can charter direct to Kisumu? With the charter flights, travel is point-to-point and you would not need to connect through a third-party destination waiting for a connecting flight. Most inter-city air travel in Africa is zigzag, landing and connecting through numerous points before finally reaching your destination. Charter travel is direct and that’s what the traveler needs.
Charter flights are also most essential connections to distant and inaccessible areas. Why would someone for example spend days traveling to and from the countryside when you can do it in minutes? Because it’s fast, you spend less travel time and maximum time on your purpose of travel.
What is the capacity of the charter aircrafts?
It really depends on the clients’ requirement. For passenger travel, we are mainly addressing small and medium group travel with single aircraft capacity of 1-19 passengers and a combined single limit of 70 Passengers. For cargo, we offer a single aircraft capacity of between 500kgs to 1500kgs and a combined single limit of 6000kgs.
Are there different types of charter flights on Eagle Air’s profile?
The type of charter would really depend on the nature of service for which the flight is being procured. We offer VIP and Executive Passenger charters and have variously provided these services to Presidents and Heads of States, Blue-Chips Executives, world icons and celebrities, investors and businessmen and many other interest groups. And also cargo flights for business freight and logistical support to relief and humanitarian missions. We also offer Air Safaris and sight-seeing flights for tourist groups to national parks and other tourist sites across East Africa.
We also offer medical evacuations. When someone is critically ill and needs to be flown for referral medical attention, we offer evacuations and have regularly offered this service from various areas in Uganda and between Entebbe to Nairobi either independently or working with Health management schemes like IAA, AAR and others. Furthermore, our charters provide an opportunity for mapping, and survey as well as filming and photography flights.
The chartered flights profile sounds rosy. Isn’t it so expensive?
On the contrary, Eagle Air offers very affordable rates for all the chartered flights. It all depends on the destination and the number of hours of travel. Charter costs would depend on the type of aircraft being used and the distance to the destination involved.
Distance determines the number of hours flown. Average cost per hour for a 4-5 seater category would range between $400-$750, while the 10-19 seater category would range between $1350 -$2200 per hour. This is in addition to other operational charges like landing and navigation fees, passengers and taxes etc.
What are the requirements for one to secure a chartered flight?
The key thing in booking a charter is choosing your destination and date/time. Once we have these, we would instantly check for availability and provide you a quotation. The booking process is simply by phone, fax and email or online. For domestic and inland charter flights, you do not need a passport or visa. Travel documentation would only be applicable to foreign flights.
How about aircraft leasing?
Our aircraft are available for lease and are continuously flying the continent on lease contracts. These are mainly short term contracts under a wet-lease arrangement where Eagle Air as the lessor provides aircraft, crew, maintenance and Insurance (ACMI). This service is mainly offered to other airliners, logistical contractors and large industrial concerns that require regular movement of passengers and cargo over a given period of time.
We also have Block Hour Utilization Guarantee model, whereby individuals, companies and interested parties sign up for a minimum number of hours to fly over a period of time. This guarantees them availability as and when they need the aircraft.