EBACE Convention News

Lyon Bron’s Efforts To Attract Bizav Paying Off

 - May 21, 2013, 5:15 AM
Wijet, operating four Cessna Citation Mustangs, is one of the new executive charter operators with a base at Lyon Bron Airport. (Photo: Thierry Dubois)

Lyon Bron Airport in southeast France (Booth 664), some 70 miles southwest of Geneva, enjoyed 7.5-percent growth in business aviation traffic during the first three months of this year. This came on the heels of 7.5-percent growth for the whole of last year–to 6,359 aircraft movements–ranking Lyon Bron the third busiest French airport for business aviation. The growing roster of new operators at the field and planned construction are giving the local officials cause for continued optimism.

“We are aiming for 8,200 aircraft movements in 2016,” said Didier Pianelli, Lyon Bron’s newly appointed (March 18) general manager. Last year, Bron was one of few European airports experiencing growth. Airport executives attribute it to the Lyon region’s dynamic economy and the steady activity of Bron-based operators. Business aviation accounts for some 150 jobs at the airport.

The airport launched a deliberate initiative to stimulate business aviation traffic, and it appears to be paying off. In October, for example, former manager Eric Dumas organized an event where he and his team invited potential business aviation users–local entrepreneurs and company executives–to see the airport.

It is also undergoing expansion. Two new 43,000-sq-ft hangars are slated to be built at Bron over the next couple of years. One will have capacity for two Boeing BBJ3s, Pianelli explained, while the second hangar will be occupied by BCA, a maintenance firm (in the Jet Services group) that specializes in Beechcraft and Cessna aircraft.

In addition, one new parking stand large enough for a BBJ3 and a new taxiway are planned. “Geneva has little parking space, and we are the alternative with 17 outdoor parking slots for transient traffic,” Pianelli said.

Hangar doors are currently a thorn in Pianelli’s side. At present only one of five doors for hangar H8, completed in 2010, is working. The other four are immobilized in the closed position “for safety reasons,” thus complicating operations for the business aircraft parked inside. AIN understands that the airport’s liability for this inconvenience is still being researched.

Lyon Bron has three new operators. If Paris Le Bourget-based Cessna Citation Mustang operator Wijet chooses Bron as its third base, its Lyon customers would no longer have to pay positioning fees. Launched in 2009, Wijet opened its second base at Bordeaux Mérignac Airport in March. It operates four Mustangs, two of which are fully owned, and plans to add two more by year-end. Wijet charges customers a flat hourly rate of €2,200 ($2,900).

Formed in Lyon, JetCorp earned its air operator certificate (AOC) in July. It operates two Beech King Air C90s, and its founders hope to add a Citation Mustang to the fleet.

Bankrupt THS has been resurrected under the Aerojet Corporate brand, with four Falcon 50s and 100s. In March, however, one of the Falcon 50s was grounded in the Dominican Republic for its alleged part in a major drug bust. THS did not respond to AIN’s attempts (by phone and e-mail) to find out more information about the incident.