Daher-Socata announced yesterday at the Paris Air Show that the French DGAC has awarded Rennes, France-based charter operator VolDirect the go-ahead to conduct single-engine IFR (SEIFR) commercial flights in its TBM 850. This is the first time an air charter company has been approved to carry passengers on SEIFR commercial flights in Europe.
Charter and Fractional » Charter
News and issues concerning the aviation charter industry and markets, including company announcements, regulations, new developments and labor issues.
Elkhart, Ind.-based charter operator Travel Management is installing Aircell’s Gogo Biz high-speed Internet service across its entire fleet of 70 Hawker 400XPs and 800XPs. It expects installations of the system to be completed by October. The company began introducing Gogo Biz aboard its 800XPs last year.
Comlux has taken delivery of the first Airbus ACJ321, which makes the aircraft charter firm the first company to have every single-aisle Airbus corporate jet variant–the ACJ318, ACJ319, ACJ320 and ACJ321–in its fleet. The ACJ321 is being outfitted with a VIP cabin by Comlux America in Indianapolis and is scheduled to be completed next year. Comlux was an early Airbus Corporate Jetliner customer and was the first to operate the Airbus ACJ318. Its fleet now includes five Airbus ACJs.
Online air charter broker PrivateFly is expanding its French operation. It hired two operations assistants–Julien Molinet, who previously worked in communications at Air France, and Davide Paladino, who has a private banking and aviation background–to help PrivateFly operations controller Mehdi Dialmy, who heads the company’s French division. The company also appointed Astrid Arminjon as digital marketing executive, a role that includes reaching out to new customers in France and boosting content development for PrivateFly’s French website.
The executive charter sector appears not to be making a promising start in the Northern Hemisphere summer season, according to the latest demand projections from online charter portal Avinode. As of June 5, the company’s forward-looking demand index showed anticipated aircraft bookings for the next 30 days generally down compared with the May 5 index.
Surf Air, a charter operator offering all-you-can-fly trips between select California cities for a monthly fee, received its FAA operating certificate and plans to begin flying on June 12. Surf Air is flying Pilatus PC-12 single-engine turboprops with two pilots, and the first cities served will be Los Angeles and San Francisco, using airports in Burbank and San Carlos.
Charter/management firm Solairus Aviation is headquartered in the heart of downtown Petaluma, Calif., and not at an airport because employees prefer local amenities such as restaurants and shops to the relative remoteness of most airport general aviation facilities. Pilots who are visiting headquarters for training especially enjoy what downtown Petaluma has to offer, according to Solairus founder Dan Drohan.
Al Bateen Executive Airport has been named the preferred hub in the Middle East for German air ambulance and VIP charter jet operator FAI rent-a-jet (d/b/a Flight-Ambulance-Int’l). As part of the arrangement, two dedicated air ambulance jets–a Challenger 604 and Learjet 60–will be permanently based at Al Bateen and served by German aeromedical teams. FAI selected Al Bateen Executive Airport as its Middle Eastern hub because of its “ability to best serve increasing client demand from the region, the Far East and Asia.”
According to charter broker Air Partner, Conklin & de Decker released research during EBACE 2013 indicating that the use of charter jet cards is on the rise in Europe. The report assesses the jet card products offered by NetJets Europe (Booth 7011) and Air Partner across six key criteria: accessible service areas; notice period; aircraft choice; pricing; flexibility; and quality assurance, service and safety.
Doha, Qatar-based charter operator Rizon Jet has announced that it has received FAA Part 129 certification for foreign air carriers, thus permitting unrestricted commercial operations into and within the U.S. Rizon Jet CEO Hassan Al-Mousawi noted that applying for the certification was a response to “an increasing customer demand for transatlantic flights.” Rizon Jet has additional operating bases in the Middle East and the UK.