Executive aircraft operator PrivatAir is preparing for a full launch of its Select Membership block charter program later this year in the U.S. and expects to extend it to European customers early next year. The Swiss-based company has been quietly offering Select Membership to some clients in the U.S. over the past two years and has used the time to refine its pricing and service structure.
Beginning in January, PrivatAir will offer daily flights between Zurich and Newark Liberty International Airport, N.J., in partnership with Swiss International Airlines.
Computer-generated virtual cabin concepts for Boeing’s latest large bizliners are appearing with some regularity as the order book for the executive/VIP versions of the company’s 787 and 747-8 grow.
One of the most recent is a 787 interior from BMW Group DesignworksUSA, created for a fictitious Russian client in his mid-30s–a global traveler who would be spending a significant amount of time in the air.
PrivatAir has taken $10 million in deposits for its Select jet card, which enables customers to pre-buy blocks of flight hours. “There has been a strong drive on the Select card,” PrivatAir chief executive Greg Thomas said here on Monday. “We believe it’s the perfect product for Europe and we think the rest of this year will show some very interesting developments in that field.
In the 30 years since its founding, PrivatAir (Booth No. 740) has fine-tuned its skills in operating airliners for executive use. While the Swiss company is involved in the FBO business–setting them up or acquiring some–and is active in executive jet management, charter and brokering, its core business is operating a fleet of large jets, including three Boeing Business Jets, one BBJ2, one Boeing 757 and four Airbus Corporate Jetliners.
The business aviation outlook is improving, according to two international charter/management firms whose parent companies are both based in Geneva. PrivatAir announced last month that growth last year “was beyond all expectations,” helping to increase revenues by 20 percent. The first few months of this year “have shown a continuation of this trend,” it said.
Club Airways, a members-only scheduled business jet charter operation in Europe, has chosen PrivatPort to provide ground handling for its flights from Geneva International Airport. PrivatPort, which operates out of Geneva’s C3 executive terminal, is a new FBO joint venture between business aviation service group PrivatAir and handling company Swissport Geneva.
Signature Flight Support has signaled serious intent to expand its FBO chain outside North America by adding a managing director for Europe. The Orlando, Fla.-based group has hired David Best to fill the new role and has tasked him with expanding its network of business aircraft handling operations throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Mark King is the new president and CEO of International Aero Engines. King joined the company from Rolls-Royce, where he was executive v-p for airlines. He succeeded Steve Heath, who has returned to Pratt & Whitney as v-p of commercial engine programs and technical support.
TSA Transairco has refurbished its lobby and passenger/crew lounges at Geneva Airport. The Swiss FBO runs Geneva’s original general aviation terminal on the north side of the site, competing with TAG Aviation, PrivatAir and Jet Aviation, which occupy the executive terminal at the western end of the airport.