International trip support group United Aviation Services (UAS) is significantly boosting its ability to serve clients in the Americas with the opening next month of a new headquarters for the region in Houston, Texas. Like its world headquarters in Dubai, the new UAS facility will operate 24/7 and it is set to have more than 50 staff by the end of this year.
According to Jay Husary, UAS’s senior director of operations and sales, the Houston office will give its service a more local feel for its established client base in North America. The new office is to be managed by experienced international flight-planning executive Ryan Frankhouser, who was formerly with Arinc Direct and who will report directly to Husary.
At the same, UAS says the facility’s closer proximity to Latin America should improve the customer experience in that region. The company already employs Spanish and Portuguese speakers and has experience supporting operators throughout Latin America. It will be establishing more local liaison offices in the region.
Husary told AIN that UAS has a strong track record in supporting trips in parts of the world where lack of infrastructure and the absence of an established service culture can make operations challenging, such as in the Commonwealth of Independent States, Africa and parts of the Middle East. The company, which was founded in 2000, has made significant investments in recruiting and training staff based in 37 locations around the world. It has 37 different nationalities among its 350 personnel and between them they speak 40 languages.
One of the most recent additions to its network is at Bishkek in Kyrgystan. It took more than a year of preparation to establish this operation, but Husary insisted, “We won’t start a project with a UAS tag on it without ensuring that we can do things to the same standard.”
“We ensure that our people have a good understanding of all the regulations and procedures, and we also have worked hard to develop good relationships with [aviation] authorities,” he explained. “In every country people have their own interpretation of what customer service is, but we train them all to understand what the people they are serving will expect.” UAS conducts regular audits to ensure that service is being delivered to a consistently high standard at all its locations.
In UAS’s experience to date, operating conditions vary significantly between Latin American countries depending largely on how flexible the local authorities are in their attitude to business aircraft operators. Husary highlighted Venezuela as one of the region’s more challenging countries, partly because the authorities there are prone to issuing multiple changes to Notams at short notice. In Mexico, the enforcement of customs and immigration rules can be inconvenient.
“With the U.S. economy recovering and sustained economic growth across Latin America, especially Brazil and Mexico, customers are flying more and we are seeing an increased demand for our services,” commented Husary. “While the level of services we provide from Dubai is outstanding, we believe this new office will greatly improve the customer service and quality we can provide through local coordination to our clients in this region.”
UAS (Stand 1001) provides the following services from its offices in Dubai and Houston: flight planning and weather services; ground handling; short-notice overflight and landing permits; pre-arranged fuel, airport and ground assistance for crew and passengers; hotel accommodation; ground transportation; concierge services and catering arrangements.