In July Qatar Executive (Booth 415) will add a second Bombardier Global 5000 Vision to its fleet. The corporate jet division of Qatar Airways will get the new aircraft just in time to meet the increased demand of the summer season. The operator received its first Global 5000 Vision in late 2013, having earlier bought two Global 5000s. The wholly-owned eight-aircraft fleet also includes three Challenger 605s and a Global XRS.
Charter and Fractional » Charter
News and issues concerning the aviation charter industry and markets, including company announcements, regulations, new developments and labor issues.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based charter operator Alpha Star Aviation Services (Booth 3824) has equipped its entire fleet with electronic flight bags (EFBs). The six VIP aircraft include three Airbuses (ACJ318, ACJ319 and ACJ320), one Gulfstream G550, one Hawker 900XP and one ATR 42. The company intends to have its pilots using EFBs–iPads connected to a Rockwell Collins system–during the entire flight in the short term. “Our crews were trained by Lufthansa and FlightSafety,” CEO Salem Al Muzaini added.
Executive charter operator DC Aviation (Booth 4859) has again passed the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) with a very positive assessment, the Stuttgart, Germany-based company announced this week. In February, five auditorsreviewed more than 1,000 standardsand processesat DC Aviation. The areas covered aviation lawand regulations, technology and safety and quality management and flight operations. Many new questions had to be answered as part of the audit, according to DC Aviation.
Prague-based ABS Jets (Booth 2538), a full service charter and management company, is celebrating its tenth anniversary at EBACE 2014. The company started with two jets and 20 employees and today has a dozen aircraft and more than 200 employees. Over the years the company has also added flight planning and ground handling, aircraft sales and consulting and maintenance to its portfolio.
U.S. charter, sales and management company Prime Jet is the latest member of AirClub, a corporate jet alliance launched in October 2012 to bring together a number of like-minded business aviation companies. Sharing the principles of offering the highest quality services with the highest levels of safety, AirClub members also operate a pooled charter service to maximize utilization across their combined fleet, and they have introduced an innovative and easy-to-use booking system.
Charter operator VistaJet, which has a fixed-wing fleet comprised of large-cabin Bombardier jets, has been testing short-distance point-to-point service with an AgustaWestland AW109 GrandNew over the past year. The helicopter is based in St. Moritz and has been used to fly customers on short hops to such places as Milan, Geneva, Munich and Monte Carlo, as well as for heli-skiing excursions in the Swiss Alps.
Swiss business aviation providers Vertis Aviation and ExecuJet have joined forces to offer the first Gulfstream G650 jet available for charter in Europe. The Swiss-registered aircraft is based at Zurich, and its long-range, high-speed capability is expected to be in high demand this summer.
London Executive Aviation (LEA) has become the latest European business aircraft operator to join a group after predictions in recent years that consolidation would be necessary for survival in an increasingly competitive marketplace. The company has signed a deal with Luxaviation, of Luxembourg, “cementing Luxaviation’s position as one of Europe’s largest business aviation groups,” according to LEA. The deal was completed on 7 May having been signed on 7 April.
Membership-based charter broker Wheels Up plans to start service in Europe in the first half of next year, company founder Kenny Dichter said today at EBACE 2014. He added that GAMA Aviation will operate the flights for European Wheels Up customers.
Wheels Up (Booth 2807) currently operates in three zones in the U.S., the Northeast, Southeast and Southwest. Besides Europe, targeted future expansion includes Northern California, Chicago and Dallas.
The recent takeover of France’s Unijet by Belgium’s Luxaviation is just one example of the ongoing consolidation in Europe’s executive charter operator industry. Meanwhile, in France, the Ségur group has gathered some well-known operators and is creating a partnership in Croatia. At the same time, AirClub, the global corporate jet alliance has begun reaping the benefits of joining forces from several companies all over the continent. Consolidation such as this is the way to go, according to EBAA CEO Fabio Gamba, who sees the industry as still too fragmented.