Air Charter Service, a UK-based aircraft charter broker with 16 offices worldwide, contracted nearly 7,500 charter flights during its fiscal year ending January 31–a 14-percent increase over its 2012 fiscal year. “We have seen constant year-on-year growth for several years, but this is one of the largest single jumps in charter numbers that we’ve ever had,” said managing director Ruan Courtney. “On average, we book a charter every 70 minutes and that’s because most charter contracts consist of more than one flight sector.
Charter and Fractional
News and issues concerning the aviation charter and fractional-ownership industries and markets, including company announcements, regulations, new developments and labor issues.
The top scheduled destinations for Flexjet owners over this Valentine’s Day holiday weekend include Aspen; New York City; Palm Beach, Fla.; the Caribbean; and Mexico, including Cabo and Puerto Vallarta, according to the fractional provider’s analysis of hundreds of customer flight plans. It said travelers are evenly split into two categories this year: those who are looking for a getaway to the snow and others who prefer to bask in the sun. Nearly two-thirds of Flexjet’s holiday travelers are booked on a super-midsize Challenger 300 or large-cabin Challenger 604, it noted.
Abu Dhabi-based Falcon Aviation Services signed a firm purchase agreement for two Bombardier Q400 turboprop twins, to be used as 78-seat shuttles. The aircraft are worth $61 million at list prices. Based at Al Bateen Executive Airport, Falcon Aviation Services operates a charter fleet of business jets, as well as a fleet of helicopters serving the offshore oil and gas industry. The company also conducts search and rescue, aircraft management and maintenance, repair and overhaul.
Continuing an expansion plan it launched in 2011, Luxembourg-based Luxaviation has acquired Paris Le Bourget-based Unijet. Among the expected benefits for Luxaviation, access to the continent’s premier business aviation airport and fleet growth rank first.
Wheels Up has raised an additional $10 million in equity capital in response to what founder and CEO Kenny Dichter describes as strong demand from investors wanting a stake in the new private aviation membership program. Initially, the New York-based company had aimed to raise around $55 million by the end of last year.
Projected demand for private charter flights over the next 30 days is down significantly from where it stood at the start of January, according to the latest data from online charter portal Avinode. The company’s demand index for February 2 shows lower air charter demand levels on both sides of the Atlantic for the light, midsize and large-cabin jet categories surveyed each month by Avinode for AIN.
Jet card company Sentient Jet said that 2013 was its best year since 2008. The company sold more than 32,000 hours last year, the equivalent of some 1,300 twenty-five-hour jet cards, and expanded its revenue to more than $150 million. “We could not be more pleased with our 2013 performance, which included our best summer since 2008 and best holiday flying season since 2007,” noted Sentient Jet president Andrew Collins. Sentient also said its top-five busiest airports last year were (in this order): Teterboro, N.J.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Aspen; Las Vegas; and San Francisco.
Flexjet saw a 60-percent surge in new fractional aircraft sales and a 57-percent jump in jet card sales last month year-over-year, the company announced yesterday. For the entire year, Flexjet’s fractional share sales rose 10 percent, while jet card sales climbed 29 percent over 2012. After 18 years under Bombardier Aerospace’s wing, Flexjet was acquired last month by Directional Aviation Capital.
A no-reserve auction held on Friday in a warehouse just a mile from Avantair’s former Clearwater (Fla.) Airport headquarters raised a “couple of million” dollars for the estate of the bankrupt fractional aircraft company, according to auctioneer Starman Bros. Auctions. Citing rules under bankruptcy laws, auctioneer president Steve Starman told AIN that he couldn’t provide a more detailed account of the funds raised.
Luxaviation’s Belgian subsidiary Abelag acquired Paris Le Bourget Airport-based business aviation operator Unijet, the companies announced today. With the acquisition of Unijet, the Luxembourg-based parent company now has 350 employees and operates more than 60 business aircraft.