London Gatwick-based Air Partner played a leading role in a major logistics operation when Land Rover chose Marrakech, Morocco, to present its new, fourth-generation Range Rover to some 7,000 dealers from 53 countries. The operation was carried out in conjunction with the UK car manufacturer and marketing agency P&MM.
Air Partner wet-leased two Airbus A319s from Adria Airways of Slovenia to make 126 dedicated charter flights over 60 flying days covering a period between September and mid-December last year. Air Partner has not advertised its involvement until now.
Paul Argyle, Air Partner’s director of commercial jets, said that organizations want more than just charter flights these days, “so [Land Rover] branded the whole experience…they did a great job of making the charters special.” With that in mind, the leased A319s were decked out in Land Rover liveries and had Land Rover branding in the interiors. Even the menus and napkins were branded. In addition, dealers were well looked after with Land Rover branded check-ins, private lounge and catering at departure hubs, which included Moscow and the dedicated business aviation airport at Farnborough. Argyle singled out TAG Farnborough Airport for particular praise due to its being discreet and able to give the trips a special feel, “rather than [having guests] being lost in a big airport terminal.
To some extent the biggest challenge came at Marrakech’s Menara Airport. “It is a challenging airport for such a big program, especially when you set the standard at the European end,” said Argyle. Everything went “very well,” however.
Dealers came in as country groups on scheduled airlines to major hubs such as London Heathrow and Frankfurt before their onward flights to Marrakech, where they stayed for a couple of days at the Four Seasons Hotel and drove the vehicles, including organized “wadi-bashing” trips in the nearby Saharan Desert sand dunes. Drivers were able to experience everything from the sand dunes of Essaouira to the steep climbs and descents of the Atlas Mountains.
Air Partner had a dedicated flight operations team working on flight plans, slots, permits and so on, 24/7, and on the flights, which averaged three hours.