Spanish charter firm expands its bizjet fleet

 - October 18, 2006, 6:20 AM

Executive Airlines, Spain’s second largest executive charter operator, in the last few months has added three business jets
to its fleet, bringing its total to seven, four of which are owned. The company expects to add more next year.

Sales manager Philippe Bina told AIN that business almost doubled for the Barcelona-based operator in the first half of this year compared with the same period last year and that it intends to increase its fleet further in the first half of next year.

Bina said, “To improve our aircraft offering, we are examining the possibility of large-cabin aircraft from Falcon 2000s to the Global Express, and we are considering midsize jets such as the Citation Excel.”

The operator’s four owned jets are a Falcon 900EX, a Learjet 45, a Citation Bravo and a CJ1. It manages two more CJ1s and a Hawker 700. Executive also has a closed partnership agreement with Mayoral, the owner of a Falcon 200 and Falcon 100, both based in Málaga.

Spain is still a young business aviation market, with around 70 jets for corporate or private use, and the country accounts for only 3 percent of the European market. Although Executive Airlines is much smaller than Gestair, Spain’s market leader, the company has come far since it was established in 1999 as an air-taxi operation to support the CIRSA Group, a company specializing in casinos and the manufacture of slot machines.

Market Expansion

Bina said Executive Airlines is growing steadily and now operates from Barcelona–its headquarters and main base, where it claims to be the market leader–as well as from Madrid, Málaga and Palma de Mallorca.

According to Bina, in the first six months of this year the number of hours the company flew increased by 48 percent and revenue jumped 44 percent compared with the first half of last year. Charter prices did not change during this period, although the base price of the Falcon changed from dollars to euros.

Bina expects the level of activity for the international broker business to remain strong this year and next and predicts “strong growth” in the local business aviation market. “Spain’s generally good economic situation and greater buying power make high-quality service, privacy and getting closer to the destination more accessible, bringing more clients into the charter market every year,” he said. He believes security will continue to remain a major issue and attract even more clients to executive aviation.