Justin Bowman, CEO of Air Charter Service, is celebrating twenty years at the leading aircraft charter company, which he originally joined when he was a student renting a room in the company chairman’s family home.
Air Charter Service was founded by Chairman Chris Leach in 1990 and, Chris says: “During the early years, times were sometimes tough, so we decided to rent a room and advertise for a student lodger in order to pay the mortgage. By chance, the first one to walk in the door was Justin, who happened to be a real plane spotter and obsessed with aircraft. So, as his university industrial placement year in 1993-1994 he helped me out in my basement office – his encyclopaedic knowledge of aircraft was invaluable in the arranging of charters and leases.
“The following year, after completing his university course in July 1995, Justin joined ACS on a permanent basis. He soon became one of Europe’s most respected charter brokers, building up a large contingent of loyal clients. Bowman reflects: “From the moment I saw my first charter take off from Ostend Airport, I knew that there was nothing else I wanted to do but work with chartering aeroplanes. And the last twenty years haven’t failed to deliver some memorable experiences.
“One of things that sticks out in my mind the most from my career was very early on. Following the Rwandan genocide in 1994, I was sent down to Africa on an AN-124 to flight manage the French government’s humanitarian effort. For a 22 year old to see the devastation and with $120,000 in cash to pay for fuel and handling in my bag, it was a daunting experience, but one that certainly shaped the way I looked at the job that we do.”
Over the years Justin has overseen the growth of ACS from the basement of Chris Leach’s family home, to the global company that it is today, now arranging more than 9,000 charters a year worth almost half a billion dollars from its worldwide offices.