Anemic Dollar Gives U.S. Charter Firms an Edge, Too

 - February 1, 2007, 10:09 AM

The continued weakness of the U.S. dollar and lower operating costs are allowing U.S. executive charter operators to take business from European rivals. According to Niklas Berg, CEO of online charter booking system Avinode, U.S. firms are currently able to bid competitively against European operators for long-haul flights beginning in Europe and therefore requiring a transatlantic positioning flight.

Since the Swedish company extended its service to the U.S. marketplace at October’s NBAA show, it has signed more than 25 U.S. charter operators and claims to be adding about two each week. Some of the latest U.S. operators to join are The Air Group, PrivatAir, Prime Jets, Firstflight Management and Priester Aviation. Some 450 companies are in the network.

“There is strong demand from our member network of European, Russian and Middle East brokers to get access to U.S. aircraft through Avinode,” said Berg. “About 30 percent of all requests are for international or U.S. trips where U.S. operators have a great opportunity to increase charter sales.” Avinode now claims to be generating more than 10,000 charter inquiries each month.