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When a business aviation company such as Geneva-based TAG Aviation- enjoys the spoils of global success it can only be due to a history of wise decision-making. And TAG is certainly not about to start letting promising opportunities pass it by.


Back in mid-April- TAG Aviation announced its latest innovation on behalf of its clients: A full-time TAGFuel Desk operated under contract by Air Routing International. The sole purpose: To negotiate the best possible fuel price for an estimated 13 million gallons of fuel purchased to power the world’s largest managed corporate aircraft fleet.

According to Jake Cartwright- Chief Executive Officer of TAG Aviation USA- “The fuel management program provides tremendous added value to our customers in our aircraft management program and our Charter Ally clients.
“The significant fuel cost savings that will result from this program will be passed on in full to TAG’s customers.” Spend a little to save a lot. It’s smart.

TAG Aviation wasn’t talking about the associated costs of its contract with ARI. It was clear from company statements that the costs of underwriting a fuel desk capable of working directly with TAG flight crews pales compared to the savings expected from the investment.

As manager of the world’s largest fleet of corporate aircraft- TAG oversees more than 150 aircraft operating from 50 bases around the world. Seeing the benefits of better managing fuel purchases should be easy for even the least-seasoned observer – let alone a company with more than 45 years of experience in business aviation. By the company’s own description- “TAG Aviation is a worldwide leader in the delivery of personal air transportation services- embracing the highest standards of safety- security- customer service- operational excellence and business ethics.”

Those managed aircraft represent only one of the multiple menu items available from this diverse company. But the company remains cognizant that its efforts are as much in the service of the aircraft owner and its own benefits as they are toward satisfying the client in the back cabin.

And then there are TAG’s works beyond corporate aircraft management. TAG’s other products include aircraft charter services- aircraft acquisition and sales- aircraft maintenance and handling. Additionally- TAG is a partner in a growing joint venture with Cessna Aircraft: The CitationShares fractional ownership program- yet another example of companies looking ahead.

Oh- there’s one more all-new aspect to TAG’s growing line of aviation business interests: Airport operation and management of no less than Farnborough- England. What an opportunity.

But then- when a business aviation company has grown as large- becomes as diverse and enjoys global success like Geneva-based TAG- it’s a cinch that they’ve managed to see the wisdom in other opportunities in the past. And few companies enjoy the same degree of global success as TAG.

Efficiency and Effectiveness at the Start
The TAG Aviation family of companies include TAG Aviation USA- Inc- headquartered in San Francisco- TAG Aviation S.A. headquartered in Geneva and TAG Aviation Farnborough Ltd. in Farnborough- U.K. All are organized under TAG Aviation Holding- S.A. in Geneva- led by CEO Roger McMullin.

From the start- the company pursued a strategy of advancing the benefits of corporate aircraft to businesses around the world. As the years progressed- the holding company expanded but never lost sight of its purpose where aviation is concerned- and those expansions span a broad spectrum.

For example- affiliated companies include TAG McLaren of Formula One racing fame- and TAG McLaren Audio – neither of which seems directly related to TAG Aviation’s mainline business.

However- many sponsoring companies and many fans of racing – as well as a considerable percentage of audiophiles – cross paths with the “McLaren” marquee in the respective worlds where they work- play and listen.

Likewise- there is a synergy to TAG Aeronautics- the exclusive distributor in Arab League countries for the Canadair series of aircraft manufactured by Bombardier Aerospace. TAG Aeronautics stepped forward to become a launch customer for the original Challenger 600 more than two decades ago- as it did later with the Canadair Special Edition- a VIP executive version of the Canadair Regional Jet.

Today- TAG Aeronautics continues to ride the cutting edge for its market by distributing Bombardier’s Challenger 604- Global Express and the CRJ Series 700 airliner. But it’s in North America where TAG Aviation finds the biggest market for its charter and sales- programs – two areas where TAG’s solid credentials are best known and appreciated. And it’s from the sales and charter work that TAG has become equally respected for its brokering and safety programs.

With 50 Bases- TAG is Close Wherever You Are
Customers and clients come from all over and in all shapes and sizes – and with all needs and desires. Whatever the needs- whatever the route- regardless of mission- TAG Aviation’s charter offerings cover the waterfront with a selection of capable business aircraft.

With aircraft organized and managed across North America and Europe- there are few business transportation needs TAG can’t help resolve with the right airplane for the job.

With a Challenger SE- Falcon 900EX- Falcon 2000- Citation Excel- Learjet 31A and 45 aircraft based at the company’s Geneva headquarters- plus a Citation and variety of Falcons based elsewhere on the Continent- TAG can supply intercontinental and transoceanic lift. Just look at the latest list posted by TAG Aviation: Portland- Seattle- Denver- San Francisco- Reno- Concord and Carlsbad in California- Houston and Minneapolis- Bedford- Mass.- Bridgeport- Hartford and Oxford in Connecticut- Farmingdale and Islip in New York- Nashua- New Hampshire and Morristown- New Jersey- Knoxville and Kinston- North Carolina.

As for the aircraft themselves- the latest list included Challengers- Citations- Falcons- Gulfstreams- Hawkers- a Westwind – even a Sikorsky at the time of writing. Within each type- the variations are extensive. Yet this list doesn’t include the Charter Ally program that the company operates to help owner managed aircraft control costs through increased utilization.

TAG provides qualified charter clients and all the support needed while the aircraft owner remains “firmly in the driving seat” as far as financial control is concerned.

Members of TAG’s Charter Ally program receive complete charter support- including all part 135 dispatching and invoicing; TAG also assumes the credit risks and guarantees the return to the owner.

Between the charter operation- managed aircraft and the nearly three-dozen aircraft in the Charter Ally program together- the number of aircraft available through TAG’s operations exceeds 120 business jets. However it’s more than numbers that gets TAG the business it enjoys. It’s the service that does the trick- service that includes guarantees such as a five-hour show-up guarantee- no membership fees and low overall costs.

Business Aviation Use Shows Growth Signs
Back in February- TAG Aviation announced the addition of nine new management and charter aircraft to its fleet during the month of January- providing fodder for the feeling that a business aviation recovery may already be underway.

The majority of the aircraft delivered were large-cabin category aircraft destined primarily for charter in the U.S. and Europe. The new aircraft include: three Challengers based at SFO- BOS; an Astra at TEB; a Citation Ultra in Virginia and a Falcon 900EX and a Citation Excel at TAG’s new Farnborough Airport facility in England.

In addition- the company revealed plans to add a Falcon 900EX and a Challenger 601 to its charter program- basing both in the San Francisco area. A Gulfstream IV-SP in Van Nuys and a Challenger 604 in New Hampshire joined the fleet last month.

Pretty much across the board- TAG’s Charter Sales and Aircraft Acquisition and Sales Departments reported levels of activity higher in January than in the fourth quarter of 2001. Said Jake Cartwright- CEO of TAG Aviation USA- “While it is too early to associate January’s activities with an economic recovery- the trend we have seen… is a very encouraging one.”

Sales Show Strong Signs
With at least 17 aircraft posted for sale- TAG Aviation’s Aircraft Acquisitions and Sales department is also enjoying a strong year- so far. Prospects can choose from a nearly new Meridian to an older-but-bigger Boeing 727 – and another dozen-plus aircraft in between. Including Gulfstream V- Global Express- Falcon- Citation- Learjet and Astra- the list includes a little something for a broad variety of needs.

One reason why TAG Aviation’s customers trust the company regardless of the service is TAG’s in-house commitment to operational safety.

TAG Among Few with In-House Safety Gurus

Unlike most charter companies- TAG Aviation maintains its own- separate departments for Flight Standards- Maintenance Standards- and Safety departments – each committed to enhancing safety.

In fact- TAG Aviation occupies a rare spot among business aviation operators by maintaining its own in-house Safety Department as a separate division. Even more unusual- TAG’s Safety Department is directed by a holder of a doctorate degree in safety- Dr. Dave Huntzinger.

The Safety Department deals with all aspects of safety within the company – not limiting itself to worker or environmental or flight safety. However- among the top priorities for the department are flight- flight cabin- maintenance- ramp- emergency planning and emergency response. All Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements also fall under the Safety Department’s purview. TAG’s intent is to avoid injury or damage by improving processes.

Among the innovative approaches employed is a confidential reporting system in-house. Safety problems reported are immediately cleaned of any personnel identifiers before being forwarded to the appropriate department for action. The Safety Department then tracks the improvements to assure they achieve the desired effects.

TAG’s yardsticks for safety- maintenance and flight operations exceed the FAA guidelines on the operation of safety programs for FAR Parts 121 and 135. And those standards are being applied to new ventures as they arise.

TAG Enters Airport Management
One such new venture is TAG’s assumption of operating responsibilities for Farnborough Airport south of London- including the rehabilitation of runways and taxiways and the construction of new passenger and FBO facilities- as well as their management and operation.

Under TAG’s leadership- Farnborough could well become the most-popular new business aviation gateway to London. Consider the advantages.

First- there is the classic trio of any venture: Location- location and location. Sited only 35 miles south of London- Farnborough provides easy access to the city by the M3 motorway- by helicopter and by rail. During periods of high traffic- the rail connection can be the most time-effective- a fact many visitors will learn during the biennial Farnborough Airshow in late July of this year.

For business aviation operations- Farnborough under TAG offers the advantages of easy in- easy out access with no slot limitations or reservation requirements to access GLF’s two ample runways.

Thanks to its role as the home to the RAF and England’s air-safety investigators- Farnborough is well known. But under TAG- it will become well-received thanks to customs and immigration services for international passengers- the FBO operations- crew lounges and flight-planning facilities- and its refueling operations.

With an all-new- modern air-traffic control tower- new ILS systems for two runways – RW 7 and RW 25 – new surfaces on the runways- new taxiways and aprons- and a new manager (once the Ministry of Defense yields to TAG at year’s end)- business aviation to London will have a new gateway unsurpassed in ease of use and quality of facilities.

Broad-based Player with a Broadening Base
From its founding- TAG Aviation has moved ever forward- embracing new ideas- adding new services- expanding by more than geographical or service means with innovations that bring new business to the company.

“As the world’s premier aviation services provider- we aggressively seek new opportunities to increase the value we are able to offer both current and prospective customers-” commented Roger McMullin- CEO of TAG Aviation Holding S.A.

Whether the subject is something as established as charter operations- charter management- aircraft management and sales- or as innovative as the Charter Ally program- in-house safety gurus or airport management- TAG never seems to move tepidly.

The move into a full-time fuel desk with TAGFuel may be the latest innovation that benefits TAG’s customers- but given TAG’s history- it won’t be the last.

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