Unijet rejuvenates fleet, opens U.S. broker office

 - July 9, 2008, 9:19 AM

Despite the current economic downturn, French charter operator Leadair Unijet is rejuvenating its fleet. The Le Bourget-based company is also dropping “Leadair” to make its name simpler. Additionally, Unijet recently opened a broker office in New York and now offers flights to U.S. customers traveling to a major European airline hub and wanting to continue their trip with a business jet. The Unijet USA subsidiary is part of a continued effort toward international diversification, company officials told

The current fleet–a Dassault Falcon 900EX, Falcon 900B, Falcon 50 and three Falcon 10s–will be significantly renewed by next year. For starters, a Falcon 900EX will replace the Falcon 900B in July. “In our long-haul sector, we are also thinking of adding a Falcon 50,” Unijet CEO Dannys Famin said. The company plans to phase out its Falcon 10s and replace them with two Cessna Citation CJ2s. Deliveries of those twinjets are pegged for June and November next year.

Buying a turboprop aircraft as a backup is “a possibility,” according to Famin. Another advantage of having a turboprop is that “this kind of airplane does not have to comply with the 10:30 p.m. curfew at Le Bourget,” he added.

“Our strategy is to make our long-haul sector even stronger,” Famin told AIN. This is directly related to the company’s efforts to attract customers from more countries, since “this reduces the company’s risk exposure when a downturn happens somewhere.” Famin believes business aviation will slowly but steadily grow in Europe as its image finally improves.