TRAVEL IN STYLE | 10 QUESTIONS WITH RACHEL VETCH OF ACC AVIATION GROUP
I recently had the great pleasure of flying to EBACE 2019 in Geneva to interview Rachel Vetch, Executive Account Manager at ACC Aviation Group. The aviation group provides market-leading solutions across ACMI leasing, air charter, the aircraft interiors aftermarket, aviation asset management and strategic advisory services. My meeting with Rachel provided me with a first-hand experience of ACC’s attention to detail, professionalism and incredible service offerings. Read on to find out how Rachel can help you with all your business and leisure travel requirements!
1.) Welcome to The Mayfair Musings! For those who haven't heard of ACC Aviation Group, what does the group offer?
ACC delivers a range of services, including private aircraft charter – anything from a helicopter or four-seater private jet up to a twin-aisle commercial airliner, ACMI leasing, helping airlines source additional aircraft to deal with seasonal peaks or unscheduled maintenance; the refurbishment of commercial aircraft cabins; dedicated corporate shuttles and strategic consultancy services for aviation businesses.
2.) What makes ACC Aviation one of the world's fastest-growing and most respected aviation service providers?
ACC has been built on the strength and depth of our relationships, both with customers and suppliers, underpinned by an emphasis on operating with honesty and integrity – that ethos continues to form the foundation of our organisation and allows us to form long-lasting, mutually beneficial partnerships.
We have successfully expanded our global network of offices across Asia and the Americas, and recently acquired global aviation consultancy, Aerotask, based out of the Middle East, to further develop these relationships and foster new ones.
3.) What is your job role within ACC Aviation and what does this entail?
As an executive account manager, I build long-standing relationships with UHNWI, families and corporates who put their trust in ACC to provide air charter solutions to cater for all of their personal and business travel needs, as well as offering a full concierge service. I work with a number of corporates, UHNWI, Government officials, families, incentive groups, media organisations and high-profile clients to deliver exceptional standards of service from start to finish, be it helicopter, private jet or commercial air charter travel. In addition, we can accommodate any other requests, from yacht charter and hotel reservations to chauffeured transfers, giving ACC’s clients the complete concierge experience.
As my clients’ single point of contact, I prefer the personal touch and personally meet all of my clients for every flight, wherever possible, escorting them through the private terminal to their aircraft to ensure they are happy with the service.
4.) For those considering Private Jet Charter for business or leisure, can you tell us a little about the booking process and jet options available?
The process of booking a private jet is very simple and we can arrange travel to and from destinations across the globe. All we need is your departure and arrival destination(s) and date(s), passenger numbers including any children or pets, aircraft preferences, luggage amounts, budgets and any special requests to including catering and dietary requirements. Most of our regular private jet charterers know what size aircraft they require, however, for those new to air charter, I will happily recommend the most appropriate aircraft for their needs, be it a very light jet (VLJ), light jet, midsize jet, heavy jet or commercial, VIP / BBJ or helicopter. These can range from Gulfstreams, Dassault Falcons, Cessna Citations, Beechcraft, Boeing BBJs, Bombardiers, Sikorsky, AgustaWestland, HondaJets, to name just a few of the manufacturers.
Once we have established the above requirements, we will find a number of aircraft solutions to present to the client, detailing the year of manufacture and any refurbishments, dates, price and facilities on board, along with interior images. We are all creatures of comfort and decor is very important in client decisionmaking. If the client requires specific wines, champagnes or spirits on board, ACC will provide this additional to any catering requirements, be it food from their favourite restaurant or simple mezze and canapés.
Branding inside the aircraft or on the exterior, subject to the owner’s permission, can be arranged, along with branded toiletry bags, napkins, welcome mats or similar. First impressions count and it is important you get the service level and attention to detail correct for your clients from the outset, to know what their preference to drink is, dietary requirements and so on.
5.) What can ACC Aviation provide for small and large business groups travelling to the same destination?
Be it incentive trips, executives travel or a corporate shuttle, ACC offers a wide range of bespoke aircraft solutions tailored to businesses’ specific requirements.
For some corporates and automotive charters, it is required that executives travel on separate aircraft for insurance purposes. We also provide helicopter transfers, regional jet charter, commercial jet charter, such as an Airbus A380 or similar, or shuttle flight operations with consecutive back-to-back rotations over a period time.. We also have the advantage of having exclusive access to the Ethiopian Airlines’ Europe-based aircraft, offering a range of aircraft types with a fantastic level of service which is ideal for large groups - in fact, we have operated a number of flights for football supporters this year, including to the Champions League final in Madrid in May.
For group bookings, we will have dedicated check-in desks, and a flight rider on board the aircraft, where required, to ensure a smooth process and enjoyment for clients. Subject to group size, we can use private terminals.
For smaller business groups, we can offer the private jet or helicopter options with access to private terminals, for the convenience of time.
Branding of the aircraft is very popular for small and large business groups which include seat headrest covers and napkins.
6.) Can you tell us a little about ACC's Corporate Shuttle Management services?
Corporate shuttles are an effective travel solution for businesses with dispersed teams and tight schedules operating from multiple sites, and can help improve employee productivity, reduce costs and increase operational efficiency.
ACC supports businesses and organisations with regular travel for groups. We assess an organisation’s current travel patterns and develop a bespoke, efficient programme based on how their business operates.
ACC manages corporate shuttle contracts for multinational companies, coordinating day-to-day operations, and continually working to explore new opportunities and efficiencies.
Our dedicated flight operations team manages every aspect of shuttle operations, including:
Special meal requests
Lost luggage retrieval
Unplanned operational changes
The team also provides regular reports, allowing clients to monitor the operational and financial performance of their corporate shuttle management service.
7.) What can ACC Aviation offer to businesses and individuals looking to transport cargo?
ACC sources specialist cargo aircraft globally, providing 24 hour air freight support, with the ability to deliver small parts, vehicles or outsize cargo – with “go now” emergency response, medivac and repatriation. We assist with shipments of fine art and luxury assets and, on occasion, transporting evening gowns with the maid or butler!
ACC assesses feasible options and recommends the most appropriate solution based on a client’s requirements, including part charter and empty leg flights, to ensure cargo arrives safely, on time and on budget.
We pay close attention to detail, and take responsibility of customs formalities and shipping documentation. Where necessary, dangerous goods and security arrangements are made. Shooting parties can book away!
8.) Throughout your time at ACC Aviation, have you successfully fulfilled any particularly challenging or unusual requests?
An emotionally challenging request was during the night for a client who needed to be airborne from Los Angeles within 4 hours of the initial phone call, with a medical team on hand. Using resources and good operator relationships, I was able to deliver the client the aircraft, with full bedroom facilities and medical team within the timeframe.
Logistically, due to the hours of arrival in the UK and the limitations with the night flight bans at Luton and Stansted, I had to look at alternative airfields that could accommodate an arrival out of hours, utilising Brize Norton and Southend.
I work with government officials and high-profile clients to execute charters in areas of civil unrest and high risk. These are logistically challenging, as we need to consider elements such as airport restrictions, no fly zones and any war risk insurances.
I have built some long-lasting relationships with operators, which allows us to secure favourable aircraft solutions for clients. As a broker, be it with the client or the operator, the transaction works on trust and understanding and not overpromising what cannot be fulfilled. This in itself speaks volumes. You instil your trust in operators to carry out a service to your clients that will be reflected on you and ACC as a company.
9.) What do you love most about your job?
Where do I start! Most importantly, I enjoy meeting new people and making new connections. I am very much a people person - give me a room to network in and I am in my element. I have built a special bond with many of my UHNWI and EA/ PAs and know the families, children, and even pets, personally (the children, especially, look forward to the goody bags I bring with me when meeting them at the private terminals)!
The satisfaction I get from having fulfilled a client’s needs in sourcing them a suitable chauffeur, aircraft, super yacht or hotel, and then meeting them and their families or colleagues before the start of their journey, is very rewarding. I have a strong team of colleagues at ACC who assist with flight watching and equally willing to go above and beyond to enhance the service.
Feedback is invaluable and, be it positive or negative, it is always a pleasure to receive and understand my client’s likes and dislikes and what I can improve moving forward. Feedback is a crucial part of our business that many people fail to realise. The longevity of a client relationship is of paramount importance to me and, therefore, feedback is invaluable.
One particularly special moment in my aviation career so far is being involved in the Santa Christmas Charity flight out of Bristol airport in conjunction with Airbus and a number of other aviation companies. The event, offered to guests of the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Children’s Hospice South West, was designed to create special memories for families with children living with complex health conditions. The flight enabled children and families that are unable to get medical insurance or travel with their sick child to fly at low altitude for an hour over the Brecon Beacons, which fortunately had a dusting of snow. There was also a very special visit from Father Christmas mid-flight, accompanied by his Elves (of which I was one)! We had fun, games and Christmas carols… I will never forget the look on the children and parents’ faces whilst making some treasured festive memories.
10.) As a busy and dynamic woman in business balancing work and life, where can you be found on a well-deserved day off?
In the executive world, days off are few and far between - I make myself available 24 hours a day and am always at the end of a phone, on WhatsApp or responding to emails from clients. However, when I do manage to escape, what female doesn’t enjoy a spa day!
Alexander House in West Sussex is one of my favourite spots. My colleagues and friends will tell you that my feet don’t touch the ground, as I enjoy my holidays and long weekends away, especially if I am able to dedicate some time to scuba dive, which is a great passion of mine.