LEAD1 Association Hosts Air Charter Webinar

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Industry experts discuss challenges and solutions surrounding air charter in college sports

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The feedback we received from the webinar clearly indicates that safe, reliable, cost-effective air charter is a growing problem for our institutions, with a strong demand for regional or national solutions to this problem.”

The LEAD1 Association, which represents the athletic directors, programs, and student-athletes of the 129 member schools of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), hosted a webinar on July 20 highlighting the challenges faced by university athletic programs in arranging air charter travel for their teams and discussing the future of air charter in college sports. The webinar was well received with 184 registrants and 143 active attendees representing 77 of the LEAD1 institutions. Paciolan was LEAD1’s technology partner in producing the webinar.

The webinar panelists included:

  • Moderator: Tom McMillen, President & CEO of the LEAD1 Association.
  • Robert Criqui, President, Administration, National Basketball Association (NBA). Mr. Criqui has been an NBA executive for 34 years. He discussed his experience in starting and supervising the NBA air charter program.
  • Kevin Pauga, Assistant AD/Administration, Michigan State. Mr. Pauga is the Chair of LEAD1 Air Charter Task Force and will he discussed the results of the LEAD1 survey.
  • John Anthony, President and CEO, Anthony Travel. Mr. Anthony has been a travel executive for 28 years as a leading U.S.-based travel partner for more than 75 university athletic departments. He discussed the state of the college air charger market.
  • Greg Raif, Founder and CEO, Private Jet Services (PJS). Mr. Raif has 20 years of experience as an air transportation executive leader with the largest corporate aviation consultancy in North America with air charter contracts with professional sports and universities. He discussed the challenges and opportunities in the air charter college marketplace.

In their presentations, the panelists discussed how the air charter market is tightening---major carriers are leaving the charter market, there is less availability of equipment and capable crew, and the costs are escalating. Safety remains a paramount concern. College football teams will be impacted by the crisis of 20 NFL teams recently losing their air charter carrier. College basketball teams have been plagued by shrinking options for several years and the problem is worsening.

“Air charter is a major expense for college athletic programs that is increasingly becoming more costly and difficult to access,” stated McMillen from LEAD1. “The feedback we received from the webinar clearly indicates that safe, reliable, cost-effective air charter is a growing problem for our institutions and there is strong demand for regional or national solutions to this problem”

Of the attendees who participated in live polling during the webinar, 93 percent self-identified as either extremely concerned, very concerned or concerned about the long-term availability to secure, safe and reliable air charter. The participants indicated that they were interested in regional or national solutions for their air charter needs, with about half describing themselves as extremely or very interested and an additional 43 percent relating that they would be interested.

To replay the webinar or view it for the first time, go to: https://paciolan.webex.com/paciolan/lsr.php?RCID=672b3a8fc154b351b75c4cee1bff5248

About LEAD1: The LEAD1 Association represents the athletic directors, the programs, and the student-athletes of the 129 universities which comprise the NCAA Division 1 FBS. Key to the LEAD1 mission are influencing how the rules of college sports are enacted and implemented, advocating for the future of college athletics and providing various services to the members. The mission statement of LEAD1 is, “Supporting the athletic directors of America’s leading intercollegiate programs in preparing today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders.”

For more information about LEAD1 Association, please contact Jonathan Yates, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, at 301-807-2523, or jonathan@lead1a.com

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Jonathan Yates
LEAD1 Association
+1 (301) 807-2523
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