PlaneSense and Atlas Aircraft ensconced in new Portsmouth HQ

 - July 7, 2008, 8:11 AM

Testimony to the vigor of its PlaneSense Pilatus PC-12 fractional ownership and Atlas Aircraft Center maintenance programs, Alpha Flying officially opened its new $14 million, 84,000-sq-ft headquarters last month at Pease International Tradeport in Portsmouth, N.H. State Governor John Lynch was among the dignitaries and customers who attended the event on June 5. The 44,000-sq-ft office and support facility has been designed for “greenness” and makes fullest use of natural light. The 40,000-sq-ft hangar has thermally insulated doors that open only as high as needed to allow an aircraft to pass, full under-floor radiant heating and fluorescent lighting. Wi-Fi on the ramp as well as throughout the buildings makes for more productive use of time for passengers and support staff.

Alpha Flying CEO George Antoniadis graduated from Harvard Business School in 1989, and the PlaneSense program that he subsequently founded has grown steadily into the largest PC-12 fleet in the world since acquiring its first in 1995. The next aircraft to be delivered will be the company’s 35th (and the 13th NG variant). Five PC-12s serve as the company-owned core fleet; the remaining 30 belong to “slightly under 300” share owners, according to v-p of sales Pat Reed. Another 19 PC-12s are to be delivered to PlaneSense by 2010. The frax program’s 140 pilots (who account for almost half the 270-strong company workforce) operated 21,000 flights last year, and hours flown so far this year are up 11 percent over the same period last year.

Thus far the PlaneSense program has been built solely on the back of the big Swiss turboprop single, but that changed with the company’s fleet launch order for 25 copies of the Grob SPn, which Antoniadis describes as “the PC-12 of jets, providing the largest cabin and shortest balanced field length in its class.” Deliveries of the approximately $8 million, six-passenger jet to Alpha Flying are slated to begin next year. A one-eighth share in a PC-12 currently sells for $540,000, but share costs for the Grob jets have yet to be announced.