by Simon Capstick-Dale

Flying high

Only the best for the travel elite

Only the best for the travel elite
Photo 48.jpg
As hundreds of thousands of travellers make their way through the world's airports every day, en route to business, family and fair destinations, a handful of the world’s elite pass gently through international arrival halls unobserved and with nary a hair out of place.

Unbeknownst to many, there is a major demand for exclusive airport VIP services on the part of the world’s most affluent. And as South Africa enjoys an unprecedented influx of superstars and billionaires discovering our scintillating shores, the business of catering to these elite is also booming locally.

Forsyth Black, senior vice president of Menzies Aviation for Africa, the Middle East and India, says that over the past five years, the handling company has seen huge demand for its VIP services, with many celebrities and moguls making use of the service as they stepped onto the tarmac in South Africa this past year. 

“There is a significant market for VIP services in South Africa, and over the years our offering has grown exponentially and is now available at six South African airports – OR Tambo, Cape Town, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth and George,” says Black. 

“But of course it’s no longer only a service for the stars and captains of industry – lesser heeled travellers have started to make use of the service, to save them the hassle and stress of getting through a busy airport.”

A traveller who makes use of the service will enjoy a pickup from the plane while her baggage is transferred from the plane and delivered to the limousine waiting on the other side of immigration, while she herself will be whisked through without having to join lengthy immigration queues. Hotel accommodation and transfers can also be taken care of by the VIP crew.

“Our Meet and Greet Services assist with all the hassle associated with arriving at an international destination, including transfers, baggage collection, immigration assistance, and check-in, plus limousine services, any required land arrangements and even security services and VIP protection,” says Black.

For the inauguration of President Jacob Zuma in 2009, for instance, Menzies VIP services managed the handling of 22 heads of state. It also regularly handles sports, movie and music stars.

“As South Africa increasingly becomes a must-visit destination, performance venue and movie location, the demand for VIP services have increased dramatically, and we expect this demand to grow even more in coming years,” says Black.
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Issue 63


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