Charter firm floats frequent-flier club

 - May 12, 2009, 1:03 PM

German operator DC Aviation yesterday launched a frequent-flier program in part of an industry-wide scramble to offer better value for money in a still-weak executive charter sector. For an initial period running from June 1, 2009 to May 31, 2010, the new DC Aviation Loyalty Club will give customers a range of benefits, including flight prices on a sliding scale and guaranteed availability in the midsize jet segment. Depending on the flight region, positioning costs otherwise typical for on-demand charter companies will be waived.

At a press conference yesterday in Geneva, the company also announced that it has added a Dornier 328Jet to its fleet, which ranges from short-haul and long-range jets up to the size of the Airbus Corporate Jet. The former Dornier regional airliner was converted by Germany’s 328 Jet Support Services from a 32-seat configuration to a 12-seat VIP version.

“Our Dornier 328Jet, in the business version, is particularly suited to groups of business travelers who wish to travel flexibly and in privacy,” said Zsolt Somorjai, vice president of charter sales. “In addition, the technical equipment aboard every flight can be used productively for preparing meetings.”

Eight separate personal monitors, two large-screen displays, telephones and laptop connections allow work to continue undisturbed while in flight. With a range of almost 1,100 nm, the 328 is suited for destinations throughout Europe.

“With our VIP jets, the Dornier 328Jet and the Airbus A319CJ, we can provide charter flights which are also particularly attractive to major companies,” said Somorjai. “The VIP fittings make it possible to arrive relaxed at a business meeting.”

Thirty airplanes currently fly for DC Aviation, including, with seven aircraft, the largest Cessna Citation XLS fleet available in the European charter market. This year, DC Aviation will grow especially strongly in the VIP segment, with three Airbus A319 Corporate Jets for 19 or 23 passengers to be added to the stable. One A319 with exclusive VIP fittings for up to 48 persons is already available in executive charter.

In addition to aircraft management and charter, DC Aviation will offer a range of third-party maintenance services beginning in the fourth quarter of this year. These include line maintenance and base maintenance for the Challenger 604 and Global Express, as well as an aircraft-on-ground service 365 days per year.

The company is offering a comprehensive spare parts service for various aircraft models, as well; consultation during transfer of an aircraft from the manufacturer; inspection for final acceptance; and a range of cabin-fitting work.

Since 1999, DC Aviation has been certified as a repair station by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in accordance with Part 145 and since 2003 in accordance with Part M. From preflight checks to type inspections, the company is thus licensed to carry out all necessary overhaul work and maintenance of aircraft components (line and base maintenance).

With the EASA certification as a CAMO+ (continuing airworthiness management organization plus), the company is authorized to supervise maintenance and servicing in accordance with the manufacturer’s schedule and so to certify the airworthiness of the aircraft.

Headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, DC Aviation came into being in 2008 as the result of the merger of Cirrus Aviation and DaimlerChrysler Aviation. It has a young fleet that averages 3.1 years and in August 2008 it became the first German supplier of private jets to receive the international IATA operational safety audit certificate.