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Our aviation capabilities

Focused on solving our client’s most pressing and complex problems, we have developed a set of comprehensive and targeted capabilities.

Our team of experts work across the sector to achieve enduring results in these areas:

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Business performance improvement

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Business performance improvement

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We provide clients with insight, advice and expertise to deliver effective, sustainable improvements in all areas of operations. Our team focus on sales, distribution, marketing and customer relationship management, pricing and inventory management, resource and asset management, network and fleet development, information technology, production and operations, and supply and procurement.

Led by former aviation industry CFOs and CEOs, our team adds in-depth knowledge to improve overall business performance for airlines and airports alike. Our expert team have hands on experience across the spectrum of aviation businesses, including airlines, airports and aircraft lessors, and services, such as catering, MRO, ground handling and ATC.

We approach each new assignment with a high-level diagnostic review to determine the underlying issues. We then seek to address these by identifying opportunities to maximise revenue, increase productivity and reduce unit costs. In addition to developing solutions, we can follow through with implementation, planning and support.

Meet our team

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Strategy

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Strategy

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We work at CEO and board level to help our clients evaluate their options and determine the most effective strategic direction for the company. Our advice is grounded in detailed internal and external analysis to help develop the best solution for each individual client.Our experts have significant experience in advising clients on their strategy and helping them implement it. Our team, made up of former C-suite executives supported by innovative thinkers with experience of developing and implementing strategy, are key advisers to a number of CEOs.

Our clients look for help with key strategic issues, safe in the knowledge that we’ve found effective solutions for seemingly intractable and long-term problems in the past. We don’t recycle strategic solutions, instead thinking creatively about workable options for each individual client. Furthermore, we implement the solutions we come up with – we live the results of our analysis with the client and focus on developing deliverable strategies.

Meet our team

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Fleet Advisory

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Fleet Advisory

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We provide a full spectrum of advice on strategy, aircraft type selection, sourcing, financing and refinancing, fleet management, lease extensions and disposal of fleet. We support both airlines and investors who seek our help with all aircraft and fleets, from widebody through to regional aircraft.

We provide the experience of former directors of airlines and lessors who bring first-hand knowledge to find the right solution for our clients. We deploy fleet experts, CFOs, CCOs, technical directors, powerplant experts and aviation lawyers with experience in aircraft contracts to support our clients. With the right team in place for each project, we help deliver savings, improve profitability and reduce risk.

Our approach is personalised to each client and project. We help start-ups seeking their first aircraft and established airlines looking to review their fleets. Many clients value our impartiality when it comes to making decisions regarding fleet structuring to deliver higher profitability. In addition, investors rely on the independent advice of our expert team who have run airlines and acquired aircraft themselves.

Meet our team

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Transaction Advisory

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Transaction Advisory

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We’re the only aviation specialist authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK to oversee transactions and provide advice on acquisitions, disposals and mergers. We often lead transaction advisory for our clients and have also been the industry adviser and conducted due diligence on behalf of investors.

Our transaction advisory assignments are led by Richard Davey and Iain May, who both have extensive experience of transactions and are personally FCA authorised. They are supported by Mark Elliott, Nigel Addison Smith and Yen Sung - all of whom are FCA authorised and have advised on transaction and IPOs, developed vendor due diligence documents, and conducted negotiations on behalf of clients. The team is underpinned by our wider network of senior associates who provide analytical support and expertise in various disciplines.

Clients often engage us on transactions as a follow-on from strategic or restructuring projects to capitalise on our detailed knowledge of their situation to inform transactional decisions. We develop high level post-transaction business plans to ensure our clients have as much knowledge as possible of the implementation issues and financial impact and risk of each transaction. We’ve been very successful in securing positive outcomes for our clients on transactions while minimising risk and securing significant benefits.

Meet our team

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Airline slot management

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Airline slot management

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We’re a leading independent adviser in the area of slot management valuation and transfers between airlines. Our team negotiate the disposal of slot pairs on behalf of some of the industry’s largest names. We also advise airlines on issues around slot acquisition and help to identify slot pairs and the appropriate negotiation approach to secure them. Where needed, we apply our specific expertise in slot valuation and trading to act as expert witnesses for airlines in legal disputes.

Our team of industry experts combine their years of insight to offer an unparalleled understanding of where demand and opportunity lie. We can consistently maximise value for our clients and our strong track record has enabled us to create and own the niche position as leaders within this area.

We approach each new project independently, assessing the options that will bring maximum benefit for each client. In the past, we’ve organised, negotiated and arranged for the disposal of UK airport slot pairs on behalf of airlines. We have also advised airlines on the impairment value of a slot portfolio, the value of lease slots and the implications of converting them to a permanent transfer. We also review the value of slots made by other advisers and recommend changes where they are required.

Meet our team

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Airline operations

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Airline operations

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We advise clients on a variety of projects, including hub design and implementation, operational efficiency, development of new operational processes and the design of value models for airline operations. In addition, we’ve carried out slot and capacity management evaluations for leading airports.

Our aviation lead, Richard Davey, heads the design of operational change and Rod Wilcock, a former operations executive with experience in Europe and Asia-Pacific, leads our implementation capability. Richard and Rod are supported by our analysts and several senior associates with operational management experience at the highest level. We deploy senior operational professionals as both consultants and on secondment to clients to ensure tangible operational improvements are delivered.

We help our clients deal with a diverse range of operational issues and problems. Rather than focussing on the symptoms, our approach is to develop an upfront diagnostic to confirm the issues that need to be addressed and design solutions to tackle them. Our clients value the fact that we tailor our solutions to achieve the best outcomes for each situation, instead of adopting a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Meet our team

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Airport advisory

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Airport advisory

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We provide insight and guidance for mergers, acquisitions and commercial improvement to boost the performance of an airport. The primary source of revenue for an airport is the airlines, so we work with airports, investors and airlines to understand this dimension and evaluate the impact on transactions or commercial improvement.

We give clients a team of commercial airline and airport experts to help improve returns from airport capacity - either within a merger and acquisition situation, where we also bring in transaction advisory specialists, or for profit and efficiency improvement. Our team understand both the airline and airport perspective commercially and have hands on experience to build the capacity of an already constrained airport.

Our perspective is to enhance the airline revenue for an airport while helping airlines make more efficient use of the airport infrastructure. Our complete and in-depth view of the industry is invaluable for merger and acquisition assignments. We identify which airlines could benefit from operating from a specific airport and advise on optimising fees and charges. Our team also understand the realities faced by airlines and can help generate profitable passenger growth to improve revenue opportunity. We also provide extensive transaction advisory expertise including due diligence and have an unparalleled understanding of upcoming aircraft developments that could directly impact infrastructure investment decisions.

Meet our team

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Airline commercial diagnostic

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Airline commercial diagnostic

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We help airlines identify and address the root cause of revenue shortfalls. We carry out thorough analyses of an airline’s internal structure and operations, alongside a wider study of market functions, to determine the key issues that need to be tackled.

Led by senior industry executives, we bring together a team of experts with experience in areas ranging from network planning and scheduling to revenue management and pricing to loyalty and CRM. Additional team members will undertake detailed benchmarking against our proprietary database to assess a carrier’s performance in key areas, such as distribution and loyalty. Each team member brings years of relevant experience in their area of focus to provide a unique insight and depth of knowledge for our clients. Our teams will carry out a short, sharp diagnostic review to provide complete visibility and a fresh perspective for airline management.

In addition, we’ll assess whether a client’s commercial team are orchestrating their efforts in the most effective way. Optimum performance is only achieved when marketing, pricing, revenue, sales and distribution are coordinated. Through our thorough diagnostic process, we help our clients identify shortcomings and we suggest improvements.

Meet our team

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End of lease planning

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End of lease planning

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We conduct end of lease planning reviews to help secure clients the most cost-effective strategy for returning a leased aircraft to the lessor. We analyse aircraft return conditions, develop business cases, produce handback strategies and provide implementation support for clients.

Our team consists of airline, lessor and MRO specialists, so we can quickly assemble the best combination of strategic, technical, lease management and engineering finance expertise for each assignment. We work at all levels in an organisation, from C-suite to Technical Operations, and always provide a project team with the appropriate level of seniority, management skills and technical expertise for each assignment.

At the end of each assignment, we deliver a detailed report of findings and recommendations that typically identify financial benefits of $1m+ per aircraft. We help secure savings from the avoidance of engine lease costs, unexpected shop visits and unnecessary lessor compensation. Our recommendations often provide a basis for lessor negotiations on the optimal handback date, return conditions and financial compensation.

Meet our team

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Traffic forecasting

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Traffic forecasting

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We provide investors, airports and airlines with accurate traffic forecasts to better understand potential and likely outcomes for passenger and air traffic movement growth. Drawing on detailed insight into both demand and supply, our traffic forecasts underpin airport investment decisions.

We gather experts from aviation economics, airline commercial and airport operational backgrounds to deliver a holistic view of airport traffic supply and demand. Led by senior aviation industry executives, our team is poised to apply its in-depth knowledge and judgement to deliver unconstrained and constrained forecasts. We consolidate the best team for each unique assignment to ensure our clients have the accurate information to make decisions for investment, business development and optimisation of airport charges.

We can deliver a holistic view of supply and demand on a constrained and unconstrained basis. We present our findings in clearly understandable models with simple graphics to help demonstrate why an airline, or group of airlines, might grow or not grow with a specific airport. We also develop thorough commercial and economic benefits action plans and detailed risk plans to help our clients achieve their desired outcomes.

Meet our team

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Airline cost benchmarking

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Airline cost benchmarking

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We run competitive benchmarking studies to help clients improve their efficiency and competitiveness to provide a ’like for like’ comparison between airlines. We cover all commercial, operational and support functions within an airline and tailor our support to best meet our clients’ needs.

Led by a former airline CFO, our team contains the right balance of financial and subject matter experts with extensive benchmarking experience informed by deep industry knowledge. We specialise in helping airlines benchmark their cost base against industry-leading low-cost carriers and have extensive experience of carrying out ‘deep dives’ into ground operations, engineering and maintenance, and commercial sales and distribution.

Benchmarking assignments can add real value to our clients. We unearth unique insight by using the knowledge and experience of expert associates and key data drawn from a range of proprietary databases. Our reports provide like for like market comparisons of unit costs and business performance accompanied by recommendations for profit and process improvements. This combination of data and insight provides a firm basis for informed decision-making.

Meet our team

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Financial Analysis

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Financial Analysis

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We provide financial analysis to support broader strategic, investment and business improvement decisions. We offer a comparative analysis to support change initiatives and to substantiate investment returns. Our team routinely prepares financial models to aid impact assessments and long-term business planning.

We have a team of commercial, financial and business analysts and financial modellers led by former airline CFOs who have spent their entire careers providing analytical and decision-making support to heads of departments, directors, CEOs, boards and investors. They have personally recruited, developed and led financial reporting and analysis teams that have added significant value to their businesses. We have worked in the UK and overseas on both group and subsidiary roles with commercial and operational management teams alike.

Our unique experience brings clarity of thinking to highly complex situations. We operate at all levels and functions within an organisation, from the ramp to the boardroom. Our ability to break through departmental silos and communicate with all staff leads to more effective solutions, decisions and outcomes. We help management make decisions by providing an independent, impartial view of the financial and broader business impact of alternative options. We also work in close cooperation with our clients’ external advisers, including investment bankers, lawyers and accountancy firms.

Meet our team

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Airline maintenance and technical operations

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Airline maintenance and technical operations

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We support the optimisation of high-value areas of spend within airline maintenance and technical operations. This includes end-of-lease maximisation, engine maintenance strategy and contract negotiation, hangar manpower planning and restructuring, and heavy maintenance contract support. We have also provided experienced Chief Technical Officer and Engineering Director support on both a consultancy and secondment to assist organisational design and contract renegotiation assignments. We can also provide expert witness support on cases involving airline technical issues.

Iain May leads this area. He’s a former airline Chief Financial Officer with extensive airline engineering, financial management and aircraft leasing experience. By combining his skills with those of our operational experts, we can offer effective, in-depth cost optimisation solutions for our clients. Iain works closely on assignments with Trish Gray, an industry-recognised powerplant expert; Stuart Schofield, a former airline Technical Director at easyJet and GB Airways; and Burkard Wigger, former Chief Operating Officer and Engineering Director at TUI fly and Thomas Cook. For end of lease assignments, Iain is supported by Mark Elliott, who has generated substantial cost savings for many of our clients.

Clients approach us for help on a wide range of projects, including planning for end of lease or fleet transition, introducing a new fleet of aircraft, optimising the efficiency of hangar manpower and supporting heavy maintenance contract negotiations. We select the team with the most relevant experience for each assignment. Our work typically involves three stages: analysis and strategy, where we identify the base position and supporting figures, KPIs and parameters; business case and recommendations, where we identify appropriate alternatives; and implementation support, where we help our clients put recommendations into practice.

Meet our team

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Business Restructuring

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Business Restructuring

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We undertake business restructuring on behalf of clients by evaluating the potential for revenue enhancement and cost efficiency across the business. We can focus on a particular function or business unit, but normally review the whole business to ensure opportunities for improvement are fully optimised.

Our team is led by Iain May, who has significant restructuring experience and has worked with multiple airlines and aviation companies to improve profitability and operational effectiveness. Iain is supported by Nigel Addison Smith and Mark Elliott, who are both former airline CFOs with significant restructuring knowledge and experience. They draw on the expertise of our analysts and senior associates who have experience in a full range of functional business areas and understand the implications of business restructuring.

We have a track record of working together with management to stabilise airlines in difficulties and ensure their survival into the future. We also help profitable and successful airlines strengthen their offering considering an increasingly competitive market. We usually start new projects with a benchmarking exercise or a diagnostic to establish focus areas. Using this method, we have found significant and immediate revenue opportunities and cost efficiencies for our clients that have added to their performance.

Meet our team

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Our aviation team

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Contact us

Contact the aviation consulting team

Richard Davey

PA's Global Head of Aviation

David Oliver

PA's Global Transport Lead
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