2019 February Luncheon with Speaker Russi Batiwala

February 4, 2019
  • February 28, 2019
    12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Speaker: Russi Batiwala, CEO of Chapman Freeborn

Topic: The Air Cargo Charter Market: Past, Present and Future

An overview from the start of air chartering as we know it to “The Berlin Airlift” to today and what’s next. There will also be a short film on air dropping in Africa.


Please note - we will not be able to take credit card payments at the door. 


Growing up in an aviation family, it was clear from a young age that a regular nine-to-five office job was never on the cards for Russi, and he was naturally drawn to pursue the activity he loved.

Arriving in Germany at the age of 21, he began his career working for a number of commercial airlines before an intriguing job advertisement in a newspaper caught his attention with its headline ‘Aviation company needs a pair of hands to help’.

The year was 1987, and just a few days after spotting the ad Russi had joined Chapman Freeborn, paving the way for a successful career which has spanned three decades – and has taken him all the way from being a trainee charter broker to the head of a global aviation company.

In Russi’s early years with Chapman Freeborn, the charter business was focused on automotive cargo.

Recalling a transportation strike in Spain at the end of the 1980’s, he said: “This was the first challenging situation in my career. We stayed in the office 24 hours a day for several weeks arranging charter flights. My father was a pilot for a cargo airline appointed by Chapman Freeborn to operate a Boeing B-707 charter to Valencia. “

The formula for success

Russi continued to develop his career with Chapman Freeborn and he has been a key driver in the company’s growth.

He took over the management of Chapman Freeborn Germany in 1990, followed by the group’s worldwide cargo product in 2000. During his 30 years with the company he has been involved in setting up a number of key global charter operations – including subsidiary businesses in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America.

Since his appointment as CEO of the Chapman Freeborn Group in 2009, Russi has been instrumental in developing a strategy for the company’s global expansion.

In addition to the group’s core aircraft charter and leasing activities, Russi has overseen the strengthening of the company’s portfolio of subsidiary businesses which include hand-carry specialist Chapman Freeborn OBC, animal transport company Intradco Global, and flight operations provider Wings 24.

The group was further enhanced earlier this year with the acquisition of a majority shareholding in Magma Aviation – a specialist air cargo company operationally managing B747-400F aircraft.

He describes himself as someone who is constantly moving, always looking for the next opportunity and developing new ideas. He added: “Diversity and innovation are crucial to the survival of a business – standing still has certainly never been an option.”  

Today, Russi is still actively involved in the day-to-day business of the group and remains passionate about the industry and its people. Since 2015 he has also served on the TIACA board of directors and helps the association to promote the interests of the air cargo sector as a whole.

Event Price:

Members: $55.00

Non-members: $70.00

All attendees must register before February 22, 2019 at 7:00PM. Please note - we will not be able to take credit card payments at the door. 


Venue Phone: 1-718-659-0200

Venue Website:

144-02 135th Ave., Jamaica, New York, 11436, United States


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