Sounding Board: Five Minutes With Glenn Hogben, The Air Charter Association CEO
Glenn Hogben was appointed CEO of The Air Charter Association, based in London, in January. Hogben joined The ACA in 2008 and was elected to the nonexecutive board in 2017. He previously served as deputy chair and aided in the creation of the new Broker Qualification course. He has more than 17 years of experience in aircraft charter, leasing and management.
Q. The Air Charter Association was founded in 1949. What is its mission?
We’re a global association building the air charter network across the globe. We’re probably the leading worldwide trade association for companies involved in aircraft charter. What we’re looking to do is try and ensure our members maintain the highest levels of conduct and professionalism. We support the members, providing expert guidance on compliance, best practice (and the) latest regulations. Then we offer bespoke training and business networking events so that we bring everybody together.
Q. In your new role, what are your goals?
We’ve already grown quite a bit over the last 12 to 18 months with adding new members into the association. One of my biggest goals is to continue that development ... and increase the growth of our members and to increase our engagement and support for members. We’re a nonprofit organization, so the more we can grow, the more we can build the support of what we provide to the membership.
Q. One of the organization’s initiatives is in the area of sustainability. What work are you doing there?
We’re looking to widen some of our initiatives into up-and-coming areas. Looking at sustainability in the aviation industry is one of the key ones ... Things like sustainable aviation fuels, electric aircraft are all getting to the tipping point where they’re starting to come into fruition. Sustainable fuels have been around for a while, but now it is really starting to take hold, and it’s available at airports now. We’re working to try and increase the profile of that with our membership.
Q. What is your biggest challenge?
The challenges that we’re dealing with change on a regular basis. Aviation moves at quite a fast pace. At the moment, we’ve been supporting European and UK members to work out how the EU operations now work with the UK leaving the EU. There’s been a lot of uncertainty. Lots of clarification is needed, and we’ve been working with the UK and European authorities to help smooth that process along. We’re supporting our industry through the pandemic crisis and trying to provide advice and guidance. We’re lobbying government to try and support to airports that are struggling, to operators that are struggling and trying to act as a voice for the industry. But these things change, so in several months’ time, hopefully, the pandemic will be over, and life will be starting to get back to normal. Our focus will then be rebuilding our networking events and getting the industry back together and working on moving forward with those initiatives like sustainability.
Q. How is Brexit going?
It is a challenge. European operators haven’t seen a huge amount of change, really, because they can still operate into the UK (and) in and out from their own countries and from any other country in Europe ... For UK operators, it’s slightly more difficult. The UK authorities are negotiating with each individual 27 of the states in Europe to agree on terms on how they can operate more freely. As of the 1st of January, it went straight into requiring a permit from each country to fly every single flight. Some countries are making changes to those processes already. It’s a challenging situation at the moment.
Q. Looking into the future, how does electric aircraft and other new developments fit with the organization?
We’d like to increase our membership in the electric aircraft manufacturers and the new developments with the eVTOL transport networks. It’s not really chartering yet, but give it a couple of years. I think it’s probably our industry that will decide to take the lead in bringing those into service. One of the best ways that we can support our members and the development of a quality standard in our industry is providing standardized training for brokers as they come into the industry and refresher training for those that have been in the industry for some time.
Q. You mentioned the importance of improving the public’s perception of business aviation. What will help?
One of the challenges is there is a perception of private aviation and business aviation as very much a luxury item. That’s because that’s what hits the press. But the reality is much different. Private business aviation and aircraft charters, particularly, are sustaining a lot of countries at the moment. If you think about the rollout of vaccines–how are those vaccines being transported? They’re being transported by aircraft charters. How do the COVID tests get transported to the test centers? Private air charters. How does food and produce and industrial equipment get transported around the world into where it’s needed? Aircraft charters. Humanitarian aid; humanitarian support–the list goes on. (Business aviation) is seen as a pollutant and not good for the environment. Now, aviation is a contributor to the environmental carbon footprint, but it’s nowhere near the biggest industry–it’s not even in the top 10 ... But unfortunately, the aviation industry gets the headlines as an easy target. If we start talking about it and we talk positively about what the industry is taking on, then hopefully that message will start to get out there.