Hagondale, operating as Titan Airways, was founded by Gene Willson in 1988 as a subsidiary of an aircraft broking company. Willson then led a management buyout of the company in 1992 with the help of venture capitalists 3i. Finance director Simon Perkins attributes the company’s profit growth since then to a management decision to consolidate its financial position in 1998-99. Titan did not introduce any new aircraft that year, and saved on the staff and training costs associated with new purchases. It also allowed management to maximise fleet usage and improve efficiency. All these factors helped drive profits up by 83% pa, from £705,000 in 1996 to £4.3m in 1999, with turnover in the same period rising by just 24% pa to £16.5m. The Stansted-based company extracts maximimum usage from expensive craft by offering both charter and contract flights. Recent charters have included flying football clubs to Champions League games and transporting spare parts for Ford and Volvo. The principal customer for contract freight flights is Royal Mail, and most flights take place at night to free up aircraft for more profitable daytime charters.
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