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UAS boldly going where no one has gone before

Posted 19 September 2019 · Add Comment

UAS International Trip Support has been called the ‘emergency service’ for commercial and business aviation operators all over the world. Jay Ammar Husary, executive vice-president and one of the founding family, talks to Dave Calderwood.

Nearly 20 years since its launch, UAS International Trip Support is now a vast business spread around the world.
It was founded by four aviation enthusiasts in Dubai, who saw not just an opening for a global flight services company but a necessity, serving places that no one had gone before.
The company grew fast from 2000 to 2015, with headquarters in Houston, Johannesburg, Hong Kong and Dubai, and regional offices in the promising locations of Lagos, Nairobi, Beijing and New Delhi.
In addition, there’s a ground presence in 23 global locations and an international team of more than 50 nationalities speaking at least 42 languages and available 24/7. It means UAS can provide seamless, end-to-end trip support, executive travel and charter solutions to the world’s most challenging destinations.
In 2016, the biggest change in UAS’ history came with a partnership with Deer Jet, part of the Chinese conglomerate HNA Group. As well as accelerating growth of UAS, both companies are benefitting from each-other’s expertise.
Now UAS has such capability and global spread that it’s become the first point of call for many operators, in both commercial and business aviation, as Jay Ammar Husary explained.
“We’ve been called an ‘emergency service’ and a lot of our clients use us specifically for that service,” said Husary. “For a lot of those companies, we are in their manuals as the contingency contact number. If you have a diversion, whether it’s a weather diversion or a technical diversion, whatever, and you have 100 passengers on board, these people need hotels, need food, transportation... the operator contacts us.
“And we respond at very short notice. We have our own travel department, which can arrange hotels, airline tickets, concierge service, and part of the department provides risk mitigation as well – security and intelligence briefs.
“We saw a necessity in the market that was not being covered by individual companies. We said, why not cover all these services under one roof? Of course, we have a great management team that thinks on their feet all the time, and we have great staff who are very flexible and keen to go that extra mile.”
Husary was on his way to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) conference in Madrid immediately after we met at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE), pointing out that UAS covers both business and commercial aviation.
“We are one of the most unique trip support providers in the world for that reason,” he said. “So, not only do we deal with the Fortune 500 companies and royalty flights, we also deal with commercial, cargo, passenger, military and all other aspects of aviation.
“The difference between commercial and business aviation is big. At UAS we have two separate teams, one for business aviation, one for commercial aviation, because the requirements differ greatly in terms of regulations, in terms of arrangements, in terms of equipment, in terms of many other operational aspects as well. If you know how to do commercial aviation, it doesn’t mean you know how to do general aviation, so that’s why we have separate teams.
“But there is some overlap. When we hire people, they get specialised training on the segment they are going to work on, and general training on the other segment.
“There’s also some operational overlap. We may have a client with 747 or Antonov, or another aircraft on the ground (AOG) somewhere, and they need a spare part, so we charter a jet for them to move that spare part from one place to another so they can fit it and go on their way.
“It works the other way, too. Sometimes we have customers with business jets who are travelling with extra luggage – sometimes very extra luggage – so we charter a commercial aircraft to move the rest of the luggage from point A to point B.
“So, we are also in the charter business – that’s why we are called a one-stop-shop.”
Although Husary is reluctant to name airlines and business aviation operators UAS works with, for contractual and confidentiality reasons, one he can talk about is Deer Jet, as a co-owner of the business.
“The partnership with Deer Jet is going fantastically well. We’ve benefitted a lot from the synergies. For example, we support all their fleets and we do all their trip support, we take care of their flights globally, we also support Hainan Airlines as well, all part of HNA Group.”
As an example of how UAS works on the ground, Husary talks about the burgeoning market in Africa.
“We have a headquarters in Johannesburg and we have a supervisory network all across Africa, providing a lot of services. Suppose a customer wants to go to Cameroon... there’s only one handler there and the service quality is not necessarily the best, so we have our own UAS staff on the ground to take care of everything. It’s just like operating to Dubai. The UAE standards are applied everywhere across the network.
“We’re planning to invest more and more in Africa. We see a necessity because many of the major players are not focussed on that region.
“When we go to a place where the infrastructure is not great, we try to make it as good as possible. Believe or not, the minor things matter more than the major things, like having somebody meeting you at the airport when you arrive dressed in a suit with a UAS badge. The customer is already feeling comfortable that there’s someone from UAS taking care of their flight.
“This comfort factor plays a huge role in the entire operation. Of course, you face the lack of equipment here and there but we make it manageable.
“Part of what we provide is risk mitigation for a lot of our customers who are Fortune 500 companies. Let’s say a CEO of company X wants to go to somewhere. Their flight dept contacts us and we provide an intelligence brief with risk assessment, sometimes take it further and survey the hotel, survey everything from a security aspect. We give security tips not only based on official advice but also on our own assessment.”
This attention to detail is being recognised, not just in business coming the way of UAS, but also in industry awards. Just a few days after EBACE, UAS was given the ‘innovation in business aviation industry’ award at the 2019 annual Sapphire Pegasus Business Aviation Awards.
It’s the fourth such award for UAS. In 2018, the company won the title of service provider of the year, while co-owner/founder and executive president, Mohammed Husary, scooped the lifetime achievement award.
Antonia Lukacinova, founder of the Sapphire Pegasus Business Aviation Awards, said: “UAS was a popular winner, with industry peers voting online and industry judges praising the company for its commitment in rolling out innovative solutions for its clients.”
One of those solutions is an aviation technology suite called UAS evolution that’s designed specifically for business aviation needs and to make operations most time and cost-effective. Another is a venture with Honeywell to provide global connectivity to the business jet fleet of Hongkong Jet with UAS LinkEvolution. It provides flight services and communication combined with Honeywell GoDirect cabin services for passenger connectivity.
And, if that wasn’t enough, Omar Hosari, CEO of UAS, as well as co-owner/founder with his brother, was named one of the best 100 Arab CEOs in 2018.
UAS may now be jointly owned with Deer Jet, but the company values its dynamism. Its DNA, is firmly rooted in the family.

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