The London-based Baltic Air Carrier Association (BACA), which claims to be “the largest and longest standing [since 1949] organization focused on the air charter brokerage industry in the world,” has endorsed Argus’ Certified Charter Broker Program. “The air charter brokerage business is largely unregulated,” so users have to do their own due diligence, BACA noted.
Charter and Fractional » Charter
News and issues concerning the aviation charter industry and markets, including company announcements, regulations, new developments and labor issues.
WestAir Charter is rolling out a new “price pledge” guarantee on Friday for all of its charter quotes. The charter firm–a division of Western Aircraft that operates PC-12s in the western U.S., Canada and Mexico–said its “price pledge” states “it will never bill clients for more than they were originally quoted,” with exceptions only for itinerary changes and impromptu overnights. “This means there is no guesswork for our clients,” said director of flight operations Jeff Matlock.
For new customers who might enjoy the benefits of flying from quieter airports, with fewer security hassles and on a more convenient schedule, the charter market can appear somewhat incomprehensible, especially when using smaller aircraft. William Herp, CEO of Concord, Mass.-based charter operator Linear Air, has what he sees as a solution to help bring lower-cost charter flying to a much larger audience: a nationwide charter market called the Linear Connect Digital Marketplace.
An air charter company contacted AIN to warn about a customer who scammed $220,000 worth of charter flights through fraudulent credit-card payments. According to this company, which does not want to be named, the customer booked a trip from California to Utah and then to Arizona, claiming to be traveling with a well known rap performer.
India’s Invision Air has abandoned plans to build a wholly owned fleet of Embraer Phenoms, switching its business model to one based largely on aircraft management and a plan to provide flights connecting smaller cities within the state of Maharashta.
Fresh Jets formally launched its online live empty-leg platform in March, offering a new way for charter users to be introduced to charter operators. Instead of just listing inventory that may or may not exist, Fresh Jets is a software system that charter operators and corporate travel departments can use to take advantage of empty legs.
India’s Baron Aviation has launched a jet card program to encourage the country’s growing ranks of wealthy individuals to fly in a fleet of aircraft operated by an alliance of selected operators. The company’s fleet of eight aircraft consists of two Challenger 604s, a Global Express, a Falcon 2000, a Hawker 750 and three helicopters (an Airbus AS355N TwinStar and a Bell 412 and 407).
Data research firm WingX’s business aviation monitor, released quarterly to EBAA members, is showing a contrasting picture in Europe, with a slight 1.6 percent, unevenly spread growth in flights in the first quarter. Several major Western markets enjoyed noticeable growth in charter and private flights, including France, Belgium and Germany. The upward trend was even stronger in Greece and Poland. The statistics also include Russia, with 1.7-percent growth compared to the first quarter of 2013.
Saudia Private Aviation (SPA) has embarked on a second five-year plan this year to improve service and concentrate on new lines of business. It expects to be a leading player as the number of Middle East-based private aircraft grows to around 800 aircraft in 2020, CEO Faisal Kayal said.
In a Saudi press interview earlier this year, Kayal said SPA would focus on four areas: private aircraft leasing; management and operation; ground services and logistics; and maintenance. He added that it was putting the “final touches” to its new five-year plan.
Iraq Gate, the first business jet operator based in Iraq, is celebrating its first anniversary. Operating five aircraft–one Bombardier CRJ-200, three Hawker 800XPs and one Beechcraft King Air B200–for charter services, it also offers flight planning and ground handling. Abu Ghazaleh is the CEO and general manager of the holding company, Jordan-based International Wings Group.