U.S fractional aircraft company PlaneSense is excited to be the launch customer for the Pilatus PC-24 twinjet, PlaneSense president George Antoniadis told AIN at EBACE 2017. “The very first PC-24, MSN 101, will arrive on our property later in the fourth quarter,” he said. “The fuselage of the airplane is largely complete and already painted in PlaneSense livery.”
Meanwhile, the Portsmouth, New Hamphire-based operator has made preparations for the introduction of the Pilatus jet. “Since last year, we’ve been operating Nextant 400XTis to get our feet wet with jet operations,” he said. PlaneSense currently has three 400XTis, and a fourth is set to be delivered soon. The company has an initial order for six PC-24s, but plans to place an add-on “significant order” as soon as Pilatus reopens the order book next year.
The Nextant light jets have also allowed PlaneSense to begin selling shares in the PC-24. “We’ve already launched PC-24 share sales, and these customers are currently flying aboard the 400XTis until we take deliveries of PC-24s,” Antoniadis said. “The 400XTis will remain as a core airplane in our fleet until we get a critical mass of PC-24s, but we would consider keeping the Nextant airplanes depending on customer acceptance.”
He said PlaneSense has seen “great enthusiasm” for the PC-24, with a mix of both business and leisure customers. Share buyers have included both existing PC-12 clients, who are keeping the turboprop and adding a jet share, and new customers.
With the addition of jets, PlaneSense has widened its service area from the U.S. East Coast to Colorado. In March, it also added Cuba and Bermuda to its international service area. Service to Cuba can be accomplished using the company’s PC-12 turboprop singles flying from South Florida, but it uses only its 400XTi twinjets for flights between the U.S. and Bermuda due to the overwater distance.
Antoniadis told AIN that PlaneSense plans to “use the PC-24s to their fullest capabilities.” He praised the twinjet for its short-field and hot-and-high airport performance capabilities, as well as its large aft cargo door.
“We can’t wait to introduce this versatile jet,” he concluded. “We were selected as the PC-24 launch customer as result of our longstanding relationship with Pilatus. We took our first PC-12 in 1995.”