The grounding of passenger flights and aircraft, coupled with the rush of eastbound PPE, meant that anybody who had a working airplane suddenly got into the cargo plane charter business. But because nature abhors a vacuum, a number of shady operators took advantage of first-time or inexperienced individuals and companies who found themselves needing a reputable company to move their cargo.

Here at Mach 1, we’ve been in the charter business nearly our entire existence. We wrote about it a number of months back, but felt that given the increased visibility coupled with the impending global delivery demands on COVID vaccines, shippers are in an even more “buyer beware” state than before. With this in mind, Austin Fisher and Chasen Thacker – two of Mach 1’s charter leaders, wanted to share their advice for shippers and remind everyone that if you need a trusted source for charter procurement, Mach 1 is ready to quote.

 

Is the charter cargo plane real?

There are a number of ways to check on the authenticity of an aircraft. It’s not enough for someone to say, “I’ve got a plane here and it’s ready to go.”

  • Ask for the tail number, or registration of the aircraft. That number can then be checked for authenticity and make sure it is registered and in-service. 
  • Are there pictures of the plane online? Many aviation enthusiasts capture images of planes that are sorted by registration number and you can see the plane that is being offered for charter.
  • Is the plane currently operating? There are a number of services like FlightAware where you can look up a plane by tail number to see its most recent operating history and current location.

 

What does the quote look like?

A typical cargo flight charter contract is going to include language and terms that govern the responsibility of the operator and of the customers booking the charter.

  • Does the contract include the type of aircraft?
  • Are the specific origin and destination airports named?
  • Are there provisions for repositioning the aircraft and additional fuel stops if required by weather, shipment weight and distance?
  • Is there a requirement for a downpayment to secure the aircraft?
  • What is the jurisdiction (US or overseas) in the event of a dispute that requires mediation or legal action?

A number of companies who have contacted us through the pandemic have indicated that they were told that a deposit was required to secure an aircraft. The scammers look at the deposit as the fraud they’re trying to commit. Most charter operators will require payment in full by funds transfer before they move the aircraft unless there are long-standing relationships and credit terms already in place.

 

Is the person or company reputable?

Here at Mach 1, we’ve been booking charters for clients for more than thirty-two years. These are some of the steps that we take to protect ourselves and our shippers.

  • We have long-standing relationships with equipment owners and a small number of resellers. Whenever someone new enters the mix, we do our due diligence which could include looking up their business, ensuring they have a working phone number, website and email.
  • Some shady operators try to work exclusively by email. When a shipment as urgent as a charter is happening, we want to know whoever we’re calling is there 7 x 24 x 365.
  • If somebody’s offering a charter on social media – it’s highly suspect and if the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

The steps you’d take to verify a business are the same ones you’d use to avoid being the victim of financial cybercrime by scammers.

 

Trust Mach 1 with your cargo charter needs.

We’ve done the due diligence, we’ve booked domestic and international charters. Nonstop, one stop, multiple stops. Repositioning. Deadlines. Each charter is the most important shipment to the person or company making that booking. Our charter teams are on call around the clock to provide the answers and transparency that matches the urgency of the cargo. For more information about our charter flight services , contact our Mach 1 team today by calling (800) 553-7774 or get a quote by clicking HERE.

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