Aero-Dienst increases fleet despite new rule hassles

 - May 6, 2009, 6:33 AM

German business aviation services group Aero-Dienst has increased the size of its fleet to 12 aircraft with the recent addition of a new Bombardier Learjet 45. The Nuremberg-based company splits its business about 50:50 between maintenance and flight operations, and about half of its flying is for emergency medical operations.

According to managing director Martin Bauer, Aero-Dienst has not been as deeply exposed to the impact of the economic crisis because it has never done much business in the Russian and eastern European market which have seen explosive growth followed by dramatic downturns. Bauer said it was a conscious decision not to expand into these emerging markets due to concerns about how stable the customer base would prove to be.

Bauer told EBACE Convention News that struggle for business aircraft operators to survive the recession is being made harder by headaches and costs associated with new security requirements in Europe, as well as new rules on flight duty and rest times and the new emissions trading scheme (ETS). He argued that all of these measures are imposing unjustified cost and are grossly out of proportion with the scale and scope of most bizav operations.

For instance, he said new security requirements that require Aero-Dienst to provide around-the-clock security screening at its base are equivalent to having to do a C-check maintenance process on an aircraft after every 100 flight hours. He claimed that it takes four weeks to train an employee to handle the required security procedures and that this is equivalent to the training required to operate an advanced business aircraft like Dassault Falcon 7X.

Similarly, Bauer said the new flight duty time rules that came into force last year make it necessary to provide a replacement crew for pilots who have flown for an hour in the morning and then have all day to rest in a hotel or FBO before flying the return leg of a trip 15 hours later. And he said that while Aero-Dienst is likely to be exempt from the need to buy credits for carbon dioxide emissions under the ETS (because a high proportion of its flights are for emergency medical purposes), it will likely need to have a member of staff dedicated to calculating the number of hours flown simply to provide the statistical basis for this exemption.

In Bauer’s view the additional costs resulting from these legal and administrative burdens could make business aviation unaffordable for some people. However, on balance, he believes that the need for business aviation will always be present and he expects a recovery in demand to follow the end of the current recession.

“Our quality and reliability are notably paying off,” said Bauer, “especially in these turbulent economic periods. Our customers appreciate our dependability as a supplier and partner in business aviation while our positive and long-standing customer relations provide a strong basis for our dealings.”

Aero-Dienst’s maintenance portfolio includes authorized service center status for the Learjet family, as well as for the Hawker Beechcraft 700 and 800 series jets, the Beechcraft King Air twin turboprops, and the Dassault Falcon 2000, 900 and 7X. It also provides warranty-level support for the Honeywell TFE family of engines and for the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW300 series.

The new Learjet 45 can seat eight passengers and is approved for steep-approach operations into London City Airport. The Aero-Dienst fleet also includes a several more Learjets–a second Model 45, a 60 and a 35, as well as two 31s; a Cessna Citation CJ3; two Dornier 328Jets; and a pair of King Air 350s.

Here at EBACE (Booth No. 775), Aero-Dienst is jointly exhibiting with its Viennese partner Gate V. The company is also active in supporting aircraft sales with technical advice as well as managing aircraft.