Prague-based ABS Jets (Booth 2538), a full service charter and management company, is celebrating its tenth anniversary at EBACE 2014. The company started with two jets and 20 employees and today has a dozen aircraft and more than 200 employees. Over the years the company has also added flight planning and ground handling, aircraft sales and consulting and maintenance to its portfolio.
Charter and Fractional » Charter
News and issues concerning the aviation charter industry and markets, including company announcements, regulations, new developments and labor issues.
U.S. charter, sales and management company Prime Jet is the latest member of AirClub, a corporate jet alliance launched in October 2012 to bring together a number of like-minded business aviation companies. Sharing the principles of offering the highest quality services with the highest levels of safety, AirClub members also operate a pooled charter service to maximize utilization across their combined fleet, and they have introduced an innovative and easy-to-use booking system.
Charter operator VistaJet, which has a fixed-wing fleet comprised of large-cabin Bombardier jets, has been testing short-distance point-to-point service with an AgustaWestland AW109 GrandNew over the past year. The helicopter is based in St. Moritz and has been used to fly customers on short hops to such places as Milan, Geneva, Munich and Monte Carlo, as well as for heli-skiing excursions in the Swiss Alps.
Swiss business aviation providers Vertis Aviation and ExecuJet have joined forces to offer the first Gulfstream G650 jet available for charter in Europe. The Swiss-registered aircraft is based at Zurich, and its long-range, high-speed capability is expected to be in high demand this summer.
London Executive Aviation (LEA) has become the latest European business aircraft operator to join a group after predictions in recent years that consolidation would be necessary for survival in an increasingly competitive marketplace. The company has signed a deal with Luxaviation, of Luxembourg, “cementing Luxaviation’s position as one of Europe’s largest business aviation groups,” according to LEA. The deal was completed on 7 May having been signed on 7 April.
Membership-based charter broker Wheels Up plans to start service in Europe in the first half of next year, company founder Kenny Dichter said today at EBACE 2014. He added that GAMA Aviation will operate the flights for European Wheels Up customers.
Wheels Up (Booth 2807) currently operates in three zones in the U.S., the Northeast, Southeast and Southwest. Besides Europe, targeted future expansion includes Northern California, Chicago and Dallas.
The recent takeover of France’s Unijet by Belgium’s Luxaviation is just one example of the ongoing consolidation in Europe’s executive charter operator industry. Meanwhile, in France, the Ségur group has gathered some well-known operators and is creating a partnership in Croatia. At the same time, AirClub, the global corporate jet alliance has begun reaping the benefits of joining forces from several companies all over the continent. Consolidation such as this is the way to go, according to EBAA CEO Fabio Gamba, who sees the industry as still too fragmented.
If you’re planning to fly to London in a corporate jet (anything up to the size of a ACJ320 or BBJ2) you have several options when it comes to airports–Biggin Hill, Luton, even Oxford or Cambridge. However, there is little doubt that TAG Farnborough Airport is on top of the pile for shear panache. Stylish architecturally, gleaming and modern, yet it is at the same time Britain’s oldest airfield (1905), which can boast a hard-to-beat place in the history of aviation.
For many companies, the private charter and management sector has not been an easy place to earn a living over the past six years. But this largely accurate generalization conceals the fact that some firms have remained successful even during the lean years, in some cases benefiting from the market consolidation that followed the financial crisis of 2008.
Indian helicopter operators have asked the country’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to revoke a new requirement making pilots personally responsible for conducting security checks on passengers. Ahead of India’s long election campaign, which ends this month and involves extensive use of chartered helicopters by politicians, the DGCA sent out a directive that obliges pilots to personally search passengers for guns and other illegal items.