Testimony to the vigor of its PlaneSense Pilatus PC-12 fractional ownership and Atlas Aircraft Center maintenance programs, Alpha Flying officially opened its new $14 million, 84,000-sq-ft headquarters last month at Pease International Tradeport in Portsmouth, N.H. State Governor John Lynch was among the dignitaries and customers who attended the event on June 5.
Alpha Flying and sister company Atlas Aircraft Center are holding a grand opening celebration this afternoon for their new aviation complex at Pease International Tradeport in Portsmouth, N.H. Due to space constraints, Alpha Flying moved in 2000 from Nashua (N.H.) Airport to Manchester (N.H.) Airport, taking with it the PlaneSense fractional aircraft program under its management.
PlaneSense, the Manchester, N.H.-based fractional ownership provider launched in 1996 by parent company Alpha Flying, continues to expand. According to Alpha Flying president George Antoniadis, PlaneSense added two more Pilatus PC-12s to its fleet in the past year and a third is scheduled to arrive this month, bringing the fleet total to 11.
Industry Veteran Heads Up Grob’s U.S. Ops Claude Chidiac, who held senior positions with Bombardier and started as a consultant for Grob Aerospace in November last year, is now acting president of Grob’s U.S. operations.
PlaneSense is the world’s largest operator of PC-12s and, according to its president and CEO, George Antoniadis, it intends to hold the same ranking among SPn operators. The company thought long and hard about how to develop its fleet to build on the success achieved by the Swiss-built turboprop single.
Grob Aerospace is facing the possibility of a further delay to the certification of its new SPn light jet. During the first week of this month, the German manufacturer will be re-evaluating the status of the flight-test program to decide whether to push back the target of completing type certification by the end of next year’s second quarter.
The PlaneSense fractional ownership program has ordered 25 Grob SPns, with deliveries for what is to be the program’s biggest deal to date to begin toward the end of next year. The aircraft will be configured for six-seat executive use, with a large galley at the front of the cabin and an enclosed lavatory to the rear.
In a business world where a niche market may be the key to success, PlaneSense has apparently found both niche and success, operating a fractional ownership fleet composed solely of PC-12 turboprop singles and serving the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.
PlaneSense, the Pilatus PC-12 regional fractional ownership program of Manchester, N.H.-based Alpha Flying, celebrated its 10th anniversary last month. The company, thought to have more than 100 shareowners, currently operates 20 PC-12s and has more on order. The company was formed to address the “shorter-distance, regional needs” of its shareowners.
While the major fractionals–with the exception of CitationShares–experienced flat or negative growth, smaller providers have really climbed strongly. Over the past year, the 16 minor players that AvData tracks have–at the expense of the major fractionals–increased their combined market share (measured by shares sold) from 3.6 percent to 5.6 percent, mostly due to gains at Fairfield, N.J.-based Avantair and Manchester, N.H.-based PlaneSense.
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