UAS International Trip Support: 2024 Service Leader of the Year

April 9, 2024
With a focus on individualized service, company officials ensure ground handling requirements are best suited for each customer.

Ground support is a necessity, no matter the aircraft. While commercial airlines may perform ground services in-house or work with a third-party provider, organizing similar services may be complicated for an aircraft operator in the general or business aviation sector.

To bridge the gap between operators and ground service providers, UAS International Trip Support works as a conduit between parties and ensures the necessary ground support is provided.

“UAS’s specialty is basically to customize or tailor the services offered by the ground handlers to the aircraft operators. We try to narrow it down, customize it, package it better, provide boots on the ground like white glove services or supervisors,” says Abdul Charafeddin, executive vice president – Americas, at UAS. “We try to make sure we liaise with all the stakeholders on the ground. That involves, not only the ground handler, but sometimes airports and fuel and catering – and a lot of other services come with it.”

With this goal, UAS has expanded across the globe since being founded in 2000. They now have continental headquarters in Houston, Johannesburg, Hong Kong and Dubai, regional offices in Beijing, Lagos and Nairobi and ground presences in 31 locations worldwide.

“We have spent the past several years investing in our global footprint and refining our white gloves service standard that we guarantee our clients all over the global through our global network,” says Mohammed Husary, co-founder and executive president at UAS.  “When it comes to ground presence in trip support solution provision, we are unrivalled globally and have plans to continue to invest in more pivotal travel and economic hubs to best support our growing international clientele.”

For their focus on service and their ability to assist customers across the globe, UAS International Trip Support has been named the Ground Support Worldwide 2024 Service Leader of the Year.

Services Offered

UAS officials note their ability to provide A-Z ground support service solutions – including ground handling, fueling, catering, flight planning, flight watch, weather services and crew services. Recently, the company also began providing risk mitigation and security, aviation taxation and emissions regulatory solutions.

“We are a facilitator and coordinator and we work between and liaise between the end user, which is the aircraft operators and the one who provides services, which is the ground handlers and the FBOs,” Charafeddin says. “We understand the aircraft operators’ needs and also we understand the FBOs or the handlers and how they provide the services.”

At times, organizing these service can be complicated because operators may have specific needs or preferences, explains Charafeddin.

“We have built a portfolio for every client to know what they want and how they want it. We try to put a package together to deliver the service to the aircraft operators,” he says, noting UAS expedites and packages services for clients in a clear way.

UAS customers vary from business jets, private charters, commercial, VIP and government, which all have different requirements. UAS categorizes service providers at a given airport to better understand each entity's capabilities and determine who can best serve an operator’s specific needs.

“Based on the criteria of the flight itself and the passengers or the nature of the flight, there are different services,” Charafeddin explains, noting UAS factors services available, ground support equipment, prices, liability insurance and other factors when categorizing ground service providers.

The lead time to secure services depends on the location. Sometimes, only a few hours are required and other times 1-3 business days may be needed.

Having a presence at many airports allows UAS to standardize its operations and provide consistent service.

“We’re trying to make sure we’re everywhere,” Charafeddin says. “We have developed and built up our network to ensure they work according to our standards that we put in place. We have criteria that we ask of all our vendors.”

UAS offers its White Glove Service standard to assist with evolving client needs. The five-star concierge style service level is in addition to traditional supervision’s role of navigating complexities and handling unforeseen issues of the operation on the ground.

“Having UAS on the ground, we make sure we mitigate any problems that might happen or try to expedite all the services,” explains Charafeddin.

“Some clients, they don’t want to deal with any problems or just want something in and out easily,” he continues. “And of course there's a lot of services behind that.”

With White Glove Service, Charafeddin explains communication is streamlined between all the stakeholders and eliminates any hiccups that may occur.

UAS also has a level of service for VIP customers, which is handled by UAS staff, exclusively.

“Those clients specifically like to have extra services, like risk assessment or intelligence reports about the situation on the ground, security services,” Charafeddin says.  “VIP service is more customized to the client’s specifications. And we send different supervisors to different clients.”

UAS International Trip Support has also cultivated key partnerships to expand the availability of tis services. In 2023, UAS entered a strategic partnership with flight support solutions provider Flystar to expand in the Balkans. UAS also partnered with private charter operator Alpha Star, which operates domestic and international scheduled and charter services.

“Partners like Alpha Star or Flystar, this is some of the affiliations or partnerships we develop. That, of course, helps us to grow our footprint, or our network, and to manage expansion in that region,” Charafeddin says.

Knowing how important reliable partners are in keeping service level standards up, UAS launched its Outstanding Suppliers Awards. Launched in 2015, this program allows UAS to celebrate and reward its top-performing industry partners on every continent it serves. The award program was also designed to reinforce UAS’s stringent global quality assurance processes through its supply chain.

“We find a lot of vendors, they want to participate. They want to become recognized by UAS and this is something we give back to those vendors,” Charafeddin says. “We recognize their achievements, their support and service, their excellence.

“It’s a way to say thank you. And also to encourage and promote this industry. The vendor is not invisible. We recognize you, we see and we see what you’re doing.”

Future Growth

Although UAS International Trip Support has grown quickly, there are still goals that company officials would like to achieve.

To help with this, UAS joined the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) last year. With IBAC membership, UAS officials hope to share the company’s experiences to strengthen the industry as a whole.

“IBAC is a great organization. UAS, with our experience in this industry, for more than 25 years, we’ve been contributing to the end users,” Charafeddin says. “Joining that organization will give us a platform to educate or to give some of what we know how to service and support the community.”

Charafeddin also notes that UAS International Trip Support wants to maintain its leadership in the industry.

“We want to expand on our global presence as well as our service portfolio, as well as expand our customer base,” he says. “It all works hand in hand.”

Propelling this growth is technology. While UAS doesn’t want to replace the human touch of its tailored services, there are ways to automate processes to enhance the passenger experience.

“We can make the process for our users much easier,” Charafeddin says. “So I think the future is technology.”

About the Author

Josh Smith | Editor