Batliwala moves from CEO to chair of Chapman Freeborn

By Rachelle Harry

Russi Batliwala, chair, Chapman Freeborn

Global aircraft charter specialist Chapman Freeborn, part of the Avia Solutions Group has appointed Russi Batliwala as its chair.

The move comes as the company welcomes back Eric Erbacher to take up Batliwala’s former role of chief executive.

“The appointments come at an exciting time for the business, which was acquired by Avia Solutions Group, in October 2019,” the company said in a statement.  

Batliwala began working at Chapman Freeborn 33 years ago, initially as a trainee aviation broker. In 2009 he became the chief executive and since then, has “overseen an exciting period of growth and expansion”.

Erbacher’s previous role was director charter services and ACMI at Cargolux Airlines. Prior to this, he spent three years working at Chapman Freeborn as regional director Asia.

He also worked at the Lufthansa Group for more than 20 years earlier in his career.

“Erbacher returns with a remit to continue the company’s growth strategy,” the company added.

Batliwala said: “It has been an incredible journey since I first arrived at this company in 1987 and transitioning from chief executive to chair allows me to now have a different perspective on the business, and provides an opportunity to add value in a new way.

“I will no longer be involved in day-to-day operations, which has been my focus for the last 33 years, moving to representing the group at a board high level, working on further acquisitions. We are at a very exciting time in our history because we have new owners who want to invest in the growth of the business. Already, one year on, as part of the Avia Solutions Group, it has proved to be a perfect fit for us.”

“With my transition now to chair and Erbacher joining as chief executive we are even more strongly positioned to grow further”.

Erbacher said: “I am excited to be back at Chapman Freeborn in order to support the group and increase our global footprint further.

“Our group has worked hard and relentlessly to build beneficial relationships with all parts of the supply chain, in order to help our clients with creative and tailored solutions.

“We will continue to differentiate ourselves further and focus on the end result of our services – the ultimate customer experience.

“This is of course a challenging time for the aviation industry, especially because of the Covid-19 situation, but we believe we have the confidence, capability and backing required at Chapman Freeborn to continue providing our clients a best-in-class service.”

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