Chris Leach, founder and chairman of global charter company Air Charter Service, has been welcomed into TIACA’s Hall of Fame, which celebrates leading air cargo professionals who have made a difference to the industry.
Leach, who has worked in the cargo aviation industry for over 40 years, will be formally inducted into TIACA’s Hall of Fame in a gala ceremony at the 2018 Air Cargo Forum, which takes place from 16-18 October in Toronto.
“I can think of no one more deserving of this accolade than Chris, who started Air Charter Service from humble beginnings almost 30 years ago, only to watch it develop into the impressive multinational company it is today,” says Vladimir Zubkov, TIACA secretary general.
“We look forward to welcoming him to our Hall of Fame next month, where he will join a long list of air cargo dignitaries who have played a key role in the progress of the airfreight business globally.”
Chris’ history in aviation goes back to his childhood – he was born at London Stansted Airport, where his father worked as a pilot, before he himself moved into aviation in the 1970s at the start of his career, involved in charter flights for Saturn Airways.
He then went on to work for Transamerica Airlines, where he co-ordinated aircraft in the 1980s during the great famine in Sudan, transporting personnel and aid.
He founded Air Charter Service in 1990 in the basement of his home in Kingston, and soon landed a number of key contracts, including a deal with the United Nations following Somalia’s civil war that saw life-saving relief brought to the country.
Over the years, Air Charter Service has gone from strength-to-strength, and today operates 22 offices spanning the globe, providing all types of aircrafts for almost 15,000 full charters annually.
Much of Chris’s work has involved helping those less fortunate, including transporting aid to victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, as well as the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan and 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
“Chris is truly a man of character, from his strong work ethic and passion for aviation, to his compassion for others, and he is a truly well-deserved winner,” comments Sebastiaan Scholte, chairman of TIACA.
Other past winners of the Hall of Fame have included James ‘Jim’ Jackson, a driving force behind the standardisation of Aircraft Unit Load Devices (ULD), and Peter Masefield, the former managing director of British European Airways and chairman of the British Airports Authority and London Transport.
“It is a great privilege and honour to be inducted into TIACA’s Hall of Fame for my life’s work, and to join such cargo luminaries and friends as Ram Menen, Christopher Foyle and Chris Chapman,” said Chris Leach.
“I started ACS in 1990 in my basement to simply pay the bills and to support my young family, but here we are 28 years later.
“I’d like to thank the entire ACS family, which is now almost 500 people, for their hard work and belief in what we do. And I’d like to thank you, my peers and TIACA, very much for this recognition – I’ve just been doing my day job.”