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Charter Growth Persists Unhindered

Despite ongoing global challenges, Challenge Group, led by Vice President Commercial Or Zak, tackled the hurdles head-on, relying on their robust value proposition to drive operations forward.

“Our strategic focus on handling unique cargo, providing end-to-end solutions, and fostering strong customer relationships played a significant role in our performance,” Zak explained.

“Unlike some carriers that cancelled allocations and increased prices in response to the pandemic, we stood by our customers, offering support and stability. This commitment paid off as the market began to recover,” he continued. “Despite the potential allure elsewhere, our customers remained loyal, recognising the rarity of our services in the industry.”

Although historically focused on operating 747 freighters, Challenge Group now manages five within its fleet. The company is continuously exploring opportunities in the market and expanding its portfolio by adding new aircraft.

“The 747 has proven to be a valuable asset for our operations. It aligns seamlessly with our business model and the specific commodities we transport,” Zak highlighted.

“As the market started to rebound, we were quick to seize opportunities, acquiring our fifth 747 towards the end of last year.

“However, as demand remains for operations, we are eager to not only expand our network but also grow our fleet, capitalising on the 747 and looking at other aircraft types.”

The 767 freighters’ introduction will transform Challenge Group’s operations, enhancing flexibility and serving short to medium-haul routes in the EU, Indian sub-continent, and Middle East. Despite the shift in mindset required, Zak is confident in the investment’s value.

“Even before the introduction of our first 767, we noticed a shift in customer behaviour. Smaller requests started coming in and within the first week of having the 767, we successfully operated charter flights, showing the market was there for this business,” he highlighted. “It’s not merely about adapting to a new aircraft. It’s about uncovering unforeseen opportunities and enhancing our capabilities to serve our customers better.”

AOC advantage

Challenge Airlines IL holds an Israeli air certificate (AOC), while Challenge Airlines BE possesses a Belgian AOC, and Challenge Airlines MT has secured a Maltese AOC. This enables the airline to operate with increased flexibility in terms of routes and operations.

Despite external challenges, Challenge Group is committed to maintaining resilience and adapting to changes as an integral part of its approach. For example, in the event of airspace restrictions, the company is ready to quickly identify alternative routes. This agility enables Challenge Group to address obstacles promptly, avoiding significant delays in a sector where efficient and dependable operations are essential.

“The diverse fleet and multi-AOC operational structure allows us to extend a range of options to our customers,” Zak stated. “In the current landscape, marked by Covid and geopolitical challenges, customers want stability, and we can position ourselves as a reliable provider, ready to meet demand and deliver solutions.”

Source: Air Cargo News