Since it was founded in 1973, Chapman Freeborn Airchartering has grown to be a global leader for cargo and passenger charter services. The company has locations throughout Europe and worldwide and has been established in Belgium since 1997. To mark 20 years of success in the Benelux market, CargoHub Magazine spoke with Chris Vandenplas, Regional Manager, and Wannes Elias, Cargo Charter Broker.
Local market knowledge, global coverage
Chapman Freeborn’s Ostend office opened in 1997 and initially served as an operational unit to support the wider group’s international cargo charter projects. However, the team quickly branched out and developed its own local client portfolio and became one of the leading aircraft charter brokers in the Benelux region.
Chris Vandenplas says: “We originally opened in Ostend in 1997 as this was a main charter airport at that time, with many Boeing 707, Douglas DC-8 and Ilyushin IL-76 operators having a base here. We quickly found we were covering more than just the local market though – and our services were in increasingly high-demand regionally. In terms of geography, we’re strategically
well located with several airline hubs within a radius of 200 miles. We’re able to assist our global offices with transhipment bookings, scheduled and charter combinations and operational assistance which all adds value for our clients.”
He adds: “Apart from Ostend, we operate the majority of our charter flights out of nearby airports like Amsterdam, Liège, Luxembourg and Vatry. Thanks to the cargo-friendly environment and
helpful civil aviation authorities, we are small but carry real weight in the worldwide charter business.”
Nothing is too large, too small or too difficult
Chapman Freeborn specialises in the charter and lease of aircraft for a wide-ranging client base – including freight forwarders, multinational corporations, governments, humanitarian agencies
and a host of industries around the globe. From moving a 100-ton piece of energy equipment to South America to delivering hundreds of tons of time-critical cargo for the many freight forwarders it works with worldwide, the company’s activities are diverse.
“Apart from the one-off charters with unusual commodities, a significant percentage of the cargo we deliver is outsize machinery or energy-related equipment. However, in this business, when the phone rings you never quite know what the request is going to be” says Wannes Elias.
Earlier this year, for example, Chapman Freeborn delivered a ship engine from Liège to Cesária Évora Airport in Cape Verde using a chartered Antonov AN-26 aircraft. The replacement engine
was for a 100 year-old Dutch-built vessel named Oosterschelde, which had been left stranded at sea off Cape Verde after a critical engine failure. The delivery of the new engine was a relief for the crew and passengers, who had been unable to move the ship for five days.
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