A day in the life of a broker ‘Simon Cooper – Passenger Charter Manager’

How long have you been involved in aircraft charter/aviation?

Since leaving the RAF after five years’ service in 2007, I had a dream to fly. After completing my Private Pilot’s Licence, I then worked for Astraeus, a Gatwick based charter airline, in the commercial sales department working on some great projects including two Iron Maiden World Tours. It didn’t take long before I realised that I loved the thrill of the sell, the travel, and could get my daily aviation fix at the same time without being behind the controls.

Tell us about your first charter?

To this day I still remember all the details! A Beech 90 from Antigua to Beef Island and back. The client, who couldn’t have been nicer, was having his honeymoon on Richard Branson’s Necker Island and wanted to surprise his wife.

What has been your most challenging charter and why?

I would have to say when we experienced an aircraft lightning strike on the ground during a massive charter programme moving over 1,500 passengers in a day. We all sprang into action as a team sourcing the most suitable alternative aircraft to position in and operate the flight. Despite the issues faced the replacement aircraft was airborne within 90 minutes, and the client only suffered a minor delay. When each project is so personal, you do everything possible to make it happen.

Any memorable moments?

A cliché, but every flight has its own merits. Whether it’s your first, an onboard DJ, the clients branding on the aircraft, or just a flight that goes well and they send a thank you – they all make the job as diverse and rewarding as it is!

What is your favorite aircraft?

It has to be the B757. Despite being an older aircraft, it still looks incredible and has an excellent payload for passengers and baggage. Also appealing is the outstanding performance. To date, there is still no direct like-for-like replacement to rival it in my books.

How did you become a broker and any tips for people interested in becoming one?

I was asked to work for a brokerage in London while working for an airline. As a broker, you work extremely closely with the airlines learning their product, building relationships and sourcing aircraft on behalf of your client. All it takes is a love for aviation, excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to juggle multiple tasks. Is it challenging, yes? Would I change it…never!

I am currently the Passenger Charter Manager here in our Gatwick office.

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