EBACE Convention News

FAI Celebrates Three Decades of Bizjet Ops

 - May 22, 2019, 2:55 AM
FAI Group Learjet 60

This year, the FAI Aviation Group (Booth B71) is celebrating 30 years of business jet operations. The company began as a private repatriation club in 1987 with two helicopters (an AS350 and BK117), but stepped up to business jets two years later by acquiring a Cessna 500 Citation. A pair of Falcon 20s followed in 1991.

Today, the company is Germany’s largest business jet operator, with 25 aircraft on its books that flew 13,500 hours in 2018. The fleet currently comprises seven Bombardier Global Expresses, five Challenger 604s, and 11 Learjet 60s; and a Beechcraft Premier 1A and a King Air 350. A Challenger 850 is also expected to join the fleet soon. The company owns 16 of the aircraft, with the remainder being managed on behalf of their owners and operated under the company’s air operator certificate (AOC).

Headquartered at Nuremberg Albrecht Dürer Airport, FAI (Flight Ambulance International) is best known for its global air ambulance operations, which account for 60 percent of the company’s business and to which a dedicated fleet of four Learjets and three Challengers is assigned. A Global Express is also available for long-range missions, the aircraft being easily adaptable to air ambulance missions.

The fleet accomplishes nearly 1,000 air-medical missions every year, with the focus on medium/long-range flights into what the company terms “difficult areas”. These began in 2004, with FAI flying special missions on behalf of a major non-governmental organization.

FAI has a large medical staff on strength or available on a freelance basis, and maintains six adult care teams on alert to respond to emergency missions, able to mobilize for an alert within three hours of receipt. Typically, though, the company gets between 12 and 24 hours notice of an evacuation mission.

Most missions usually involve the transfer of one patient, but FAI’s Learjet 60s can admit two stretchers in parallel. Ten medical kits are maintained by the company, with a range of medical equipment that is constantly refreshed as new systems become available. Older medical equipment is usually traded in or donated to deserving agencies. The company also maintains two quick-change incubators for infant transfer, one held in Nuremberg and the other in Dubai.

In addition to its air ambulance operations, FAI operates a successful management/charter business, with 95 percent of its charters being arranged through brokers. The company specializes in operations into places such as Africa due to its air ambulance experience. The expected Challenger 850 is a notable addition to the charter fleet, as its 14-seat luxury cabin offers similar levels of comfort to the Global Express but at a fraction of the cost of the long-range aircraft.

The company also offers a range of technical services, based on performing MRO work on its own fleet. An MRO hangar was opened at Nuremberg in May 2011 and another in 2014. An additional hangar was recently opened to provide accommodation for bizliner MRO work. One of the company’s recent projects is the complete refurbishment of a Global Express under Project Pearl. Designed by FAI, the refurbishment centers on the Collins Aerospace Venue cabin management system.

As part of its extensive portfolio of services, FAI is an accredited air training organization. The company has acquired Challenger 600 and Learjet 35 airframes that it intends to convert to provide evacuation training and a simulated medical crew training environment.