EBACE Convention News

Gestair’s 100 pilots keep very, very busy

 - November 30, 2006, 8:08 AM

Gestair makes a fair claim to being Spain’s leading business aviation group, with about 60 percent of the national executive charter market. It also claims to be the third-ranking operator for the whole of Europe in terms of the number of aircraft operated and passengers carried. Last year its 25-strong fleet logged an all-time high of 8,550 hours flown and 15,552 passengers carried, breaking its 2004 record of 7,509 flying hours and 14,021 passengers flown.

In 1977, Jesus Macarron entered Spain’s embryonic business aviation field, founding Gestiones Aereas (“managing the skies,” in Spanish), known as Gestair and beginning operations with a Cessna 340. Isabel Macarron, who works directly with her father, Gestair’s president, in the business aircraft management company fielding international relations, aircraft sales and FBO development, told EBACE Convention News that last year the operator expanded its fleet with the addition of a Gulfstream 200, a Hawker 800XP and a Falcon 900C.

Grupo Gestair employs 420 people, including 100 pilots, and manages 25 business jets, among other aircraft types. According to Isabel Macarron, who runs Jetplan, Gestair’s new aircraft sales, acquisitions and consultancy division, around 60 percent of its flights are international. The role of the new division is to help customers decide on the most appropriate way for them to use business aircraft and to provide technical and legal support for acquisitions, leasing, charter and management.

The group also operates 40 additional aircraft split among its pilot training schools in Spain and Portugal, fire-fighting work (eight), freighter hauling (three DC-8s) and passenger transport (five Boeing 757s which it operates on several routes under an agreement with flag carrier Iberia, including the Madrid-Barcelona shuttle). It plans to soon add two B737s and two Airbus A340s for domestic and international routes.

Gestair has seven operating bases: at Madrid’s Torrejon Airport, at Barcelona in the northeast, Palma on the Mediterranean island of Majorca, and in the north Burgos, Pamplona, La Coruna and Santiago de Compostela. An unsettled situation at Torrejon is preventing Gestair from investing in better facilities. [Torrejon, which is a military base near Madrid, has been used increasingly by business aviation while Barajas, the city’s main gateway, has been undergoing construction. However, there is disagreement over the terms under which these operators might return to Barajas, largely driven by the demands of scheduled airlines for more capacity there.–Ed.] “While we are waiting for the situation to improve we have refreshed our FBO, which our clients appreciate,” Macarron said.