Case:
Arranging a trip on the fly to a restricted military airport in India


For our principals, the so-called work/life balance is different than many people. They work a lot, some would say constantly. They have a profound sense of purpose and truly enjoy what they do, so the distinctions between “business and pleasure” are seldom black and white.

The incredible productivity of our principals depends not only on good planning or isolated stretches of downtime, but also on an ability to combine days on end of hectic business activity with the capacity to smell the roses along the way. As this case illustrates, good international EP facilitates all of this.

The challenge

Arrange a private trip to a restricted Indian military airport within 12 hours.

The day before our principal was scheduled to fly into Delhi for an intense round of meetings, a strong wish took hold: wouldn’t it be great to see the Taj Mahal for the first time? The chance of visiting this, one of the wonders of the world, seemed just too good to pass up.

With some massaging, the team could free up most of a day, two days hence, from meetings. The rest seemed simple: they were travelling on the corporate jet, and their US based travel team believed it would be no problem to fly from Delhi to Agra, where the Taj is located, and back in the same day. They called AS Solution to arrange for extra EP agents in Agra to be on the ground the day after next.

When AS Solution’s Indian managers pointed out that the Agra Airport was also a military facility with restricted access for private aircraft – and did not issue landing permits for foreign-registered aircraft at all – the client’s team remained confident that they would sort it out. After spending a day trying to do so, they called us back: Could AS Solution find a way that the principal and his entourage could fly in and out of Agra Airport – tomorrow? We had 24 hours to arrange everything, and a window of 12 hours to secure landing permits or cancel the trip.

The solution

Work the network as it’s never been worked before.

India is known for many things, from astounding cultural heritage to intense religious devotion and marvelous cuisine. Among international business people, it also has something of a reputation for time-consuming bureaucracy and travel logistics that are variously described as “difficult” to “harrowing”. This trip would prove to demonstrate the best and worst of all of the above.

As getting a foreign plane into Agra was out of the question, our first order of business was to charter an India-registered Gulfstream. That was the easy part. The more difficult task was getting a landing permit into Agra, a process that even in the best circumstances takes at least seven working days. By that point, we had less than 12 hours. Using their networks in the aviation industry and government, AS Solution’s Indian team was able to get a landing permit for the plane and its passengers on time – and without any funny business – and make the trip possible.

The result

A “miracle” behind the scenes and a great day for the client.

The principal’s group flew from Delhi to Agra the next morning and had an amazing day experiencing some of the best that India has to offer. In addition to extra security in Agra, we also arranged several types of ground transportation, an expert guide and a gourmet lunch. Everything went off without a hitch.

To this day, many within our Indian network, even those who helped us do it, still consider it miraculous that we managed to get the necessary flight permits. We know we can’t make miracles happen every day, but we are convinced that the networks we maintain worldwide make them just a little more likely.