Omni’s new services include executive charter and handling

 - October 4, 2006, 12:09 PM

Portuguese air transport and maintenance group Omni is seeking to raise its stature as a business aviation services group by revitalizing its executive charter and handling operations. The company has declared its ambition to be active in the wider European business aviation market and to establish a leadership position in France.

The main conduit for this growth is  Aero Services, a Paris-based aircraft charter/management firm and FBO that Omni acquired last year. The company has a new management team in place and is preparing to add a new Learjet 45 to its fleet in December. (The Learjet 45 will be the first in France.)

Meanwhile, Lisbon-based Omni has just entered a new agreement with Groundforce, the handling arm of newly privatized airline TAP Air Portugal. Under the terms of the deal, Omni will be Groundforce’s business aviation handling partner. In addition to the Aero Services FBO at Paris Le Bourget Airport, its Omniservisair subsidiary already provides executive handling at Cascais Airport, near Lisbon.

Charter Plans

An Aero Services spokesman told AIN that the company chose the Learjet because “Dassault has nothing to offer us” [by way of a replacement for its Falcon 10s and 20s]. He suggested that the company could order more Learjet 45s and that Aero Services has ambitions of joining Bombardier’s Skyjet International fixed-rate charter program as an operating partner. The company also wants to become a factory-authorized Learjet service center, but, according to Bombardier, no agreement has been reached on either proposal.

Aero Services, which was previously owned by French media group Vivendi, already operates four Falcon 10s, two Falcon 20s, five Falcon 50s and a Falcon 900EX, as well as a 29-seat Airbus Corporate Jetliner, two A319s (operated for Air France and Air Burkina/Air Ivoire, respectively) and a pair of Beech King Air 200 twin turboprops.

The new Aero Services management team is led by Omni founder José Miguel da Costa, a former TAP Air Portugal pilot. The company’s new managing director is Gonçalo Botelho, from Unisys Transport Consulting Management. Marc Gaffajoli has joined as CFO and Laurence Ducerf as marketing and sales director. Along with the rest of the Omni group, Aero Services has launched a new “Safety Quality Service” branding and quality assurance program.

Omni has invested in a refurbishment of the Aero Services FBO at Le Bourget. The FBO now features a new meeting room and a crew lounge. The company is reorganizing its handling division under former marketing manager Jean Rabourdin.

Other Omni group subsidiaries include the Aeromec maintenance operation at Cascais Airport. The operation supports fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, including the Cessna Citation I and II; Learjet 31; Beech 1900D and King Airs; Aero Commander 690; Eurocopter AS 350; and Bell 206 JetRanger, LongRanger, 212, 222 and 430.

The firm’s air transport operations include operating scheduled flights for the PGA Portugalia regional airline, as well as offshore oil industry support in Brazil, East Timor, Mozambique and Yemen. Its Brazilian subsidiary, Omni Taxi Aéreo, flies a Bell 212, a pair of Sikorsky S-76s and two newly delivered EC 135s, which are operated for oil company Petrobras and based in the northeastern city of Natal.

Omni’s charter/management fleet also consists of one Learjet 31, two Saab 2000 twin turboprops, two Beech 1900Ds, two King Air 200s, one Piper Seneca II, two Cessna 152s and one 172 and three Bell 222s, one 430 and one 206.

Last year the group generated revenues of nearly $18 million. It is also involved in emergency medical flights through its Emergencia Médica Internacional division and runs a flight school in Portugal.