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ISSUE 235

APRIL 2013

Oil find prompts Phoenix to add Caravans

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Experienced voices put business aviation into perspective Pages 10-13

Heli-Drive orders five Bells as Russia’s second distributor

Bell Helicopter president and ceo John Garrison (right) congratulates Ivan Yatsenko, general director and major shareholder at Heli-Drive, on his company’s appointment as an independent representative for Russia. See full story on page 9.

Ever since big discoveries were made in Kenya’s virgin oil fields last April there has been increasing attention on the east African country’s production potential. In response, Kenyan aircraft operator Phoenix Aviation has added three Caravan 208Bs to its fleet “to support ongoing growth and operational efficiencies”. The additional aircraft are intended to position Phoenix to take advantage of market opportunities, especially in relation to the oil and gas discoveries. Steve Parkinson, director of special operations, says: “The peaceful elections that recently took place in Kenya make it a prime candidate for local and international investment and the outlook for aviation in Kenya is very positive right now. “Through the purchase of these aircraft, we are ensuring that Phoenix Aviation is able to take advantage of the new opportunities as they arise and that we build on this strength to meet our strategic needs in the short to medium term.” Known as the workhorse of the Cessna family for its exceptional performance in and out of rugged airstrips, the Caravan was selected by Phoenix for its reliability and durability. The first of the new aircraft, 5Y-CBG, is online and the next two aircraft will be delivered by June of this year. The aircraft have undergone a major check at a Cessna service centre in Florida, which included new paint and interiors.

Jet-Link acquisition brings flexibility and a Swiss dimension to DC Aviation Business jet operator DC Aviation, based in Stuttgart, has acquired the Swiss boutique jet provider Jet-Link, located in Zurich. “We look forward to working closely with the JetLink team in the future. It has been very successful in holding its own on the Swiss market for over two decades now, and has earned an outstanding reputation with both charter customers and aircraft owners,” says Michael Kuhn, ceo of DC Aviation. “This expansion venture is in perfect harmony with the growth objectives of DC Aviation as well as the desire of the company to react to market requirements with the greatest possible flexibility.” Hanspeter Candrian, founder and ceo of Jet-Link, is delighted with the development: “With quality standards of the highest level, the two companies complement each other perfectly. Of course, a solid corporate strategy must also include a focus on further development. Together with DC Aviation, we can reach the goals we have set and perfectly project our core values of ‘Made in Germany’ and ‘Swiss Precision’ on our target markets,” he says.

Michael Kuhn, Helen and Hanspeter Candrian and Marc Ambrosius look forward to working together.

Marc Ambrosius, cfo of DC Aviation and member of the supervisory board of Jet-Link Holding since 2012, highlights in particular the broad international base of the DC Aviation brand. “In addition to its joint venture in Dubai, this acquisition has enabled DC Aviation to also establish itself in the important Zurich financial centre, and the company is now in a position to offer its international customers the additional option of a Swiss home base.”

As well as expanding its market position, DC Aviation says that the acquisition is designed to expand the company’s performance and service portfolio, and to provide an enlarged pool of experience, highly qualified employees, and extensive knowledge in all areas of business aviation. DC Aviation has more than 330 employees, and says it is the largest provider of business jets in Germany. Its fleet ranges from the Learjet 40, to medium-haul and long-haul jets such as the Gulfstream G450/G550, to its four vvip Airbus 319 CJs. It is wholly owned by ATON GmbH, a holding company that, along with various other companies, deals in raw materials, services, and related technologies. Jet-Link AG is a private Swiss airline company located close to the Zurich airport. It was founded in 1990 by Swissair pilot Candrian and his wife Helen. It started up initial operations under the name of HeliLink AG and provided helicopter flights for the rapidly growing business aviation market. In 1997, the increased demand for an expanded range of offerings led to the formation of Jet-Link AG.

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EUROPEAN BUSINESS AIR NEWS

Hewson steps up to promote Middle East fleet Gama Group has expanded its Middle East fleet with the addition of a Legacy 600 which is to be based at its newest operating base, Al Bateen Executive airport in Abu Dhabi, and appointed a commercial manager to increase its business throughout the region. Oliver Hewson joined Gama Aviation’s UAE-based team in 2009 to help establish an AOC operation and set up the regional charter sales division. Born and raised in the UAE, he has experience in business development and sales including a year in Saudi Arabia working for a multinational corporation. As commercial manager, Hewson will expand his current role which sees him supporting not only Gama’s charter and management clients, but other operators and aircraft owners using the company’s facilities in Sharjah. He will report directly to Gama’s general manager Richard Lineveldt. The Legacy 600 is expected to be a popular charter aircraft for Gama’s charter clients in the Middle East thanks to having two separate cabin zones that allow for increased privacy for up to 13 passengers as well as the largest baggage compartment in its class. It can fly non-stop from Abu Dhabi to destinations such as Geneva, Moscow, Mauritius and Bangkok.

Oliver Hewson will support Gama’s aircraft owner customers around the Middle East and north Africa.

Aerowest sees logic in choosing a second Citation Sovereign Hannover-based Aerowest is continuing the development of its wholly company-owned fleet, having recently phased out one of its two Piper PA-42 Cheyenne IIIs, by adding a second Citation Sovereign. The company has operated Sovereigns since 2011 and last year traded in its first example for a 2012 model. The latest arrival has exactly the same specification but benefits from wi-fi connectivity. The interior features DVD monitors, Airshow, hot galley and has nine leather seats. “The Sovereigns are mainly used for longer European sectors, but also destinations throughout Africa, North America and Eastern Europe,”

says sales and marketing contact Axel Klegien. For longer flights the Sovereign’s seats can be converted into four full-size beds. Other aircraft in the fleet comprise the remaining Cheyenne, two Cessna 425 Conquest Is, and two further Citations; an Encore+ and an XLS+. “Choosing Citation series aircraft for us was just a logical step,” says Klegien. “From our Encore+ the next step up was a Citation XLS+ and the Sovereign proved to be a great addition to our existing fleet.” Aerowest has been in operation since 1965 and offers executive charter, ambulance and cargo flights worldwide with multilingual flight attendants.

Growing deep water oil and gas client list boosts Nigerian AW139 fleet Ammr Shaladi believes the 300 will be in high demand.

‘Stylish’ Phenom 300 is a chic addition for Vibro-Air Dusseldorf-based Vibro-Air has taken delivery of the first factory-new Embraer Phenom 300 to join its company-owned fleet, with the appropriate registration D-CHIC. “Naturally an aircraft with such a classy registration has a stunning interior to match,” the company says. It has six wide ivory leather seats and a modern galley area as well as a state-of-the-art bathroom and a baggage compartment said to be the largest possible for this size of aircraft which is ideal for golf and skiing equipment. The arrival joins a Legacy 600 and a CJ3 and is fully available for charter. Vibro-Air anticipates this new aircraft will be very popular as there is only one other Phenom 300 operating in Germany, and will be in demand by the businesses and corporations in

the North Rhine Westphalia region. Ammr Shaladi, joint ceo, says: “This is such a great aircraft, we are very happy to welcome this new jet to our fleet. Vibro-Air is committed to doing good things, even better, at all times, this new aircraft underlines our commitment to this policy. We have had many enquiries for an aircraft of this specification and anticipate that it is going to be an extremely sought-after aircraft.” Founded in 1987 as part of Allkauf-Flugdienst, Vibro-Air is driven by chief executives Shaladi, Michael and Klaus Viehof. The company has a staff of 15 and is part of the Vibro holding company owned by the Viehof family business. Apart from the Phenom 300, it operates one Legacy 600 and a CJ3 for worldwide private chartering.

New clients in the west African sub-region have led Caverton Helicopters to order three more AW139 helicopters for its deep water oil and gas support missions. With a roster of six in its fleet already, Caverton is said to be the largest operator of the type in the region. Adeniyi Makanjuola, executive vice chairman, says: “This order represents another major milestone for Caverton as we broaden our client base and continue to increase our capacity in Africa. The choice of the AW139 is a testament to its unrivalled performance and capability in our operating environment and we remain confident that it will continue to deliver exceptional results for us.” Caverton Helicopters was appointed an AgustaWestland authorised service centre for the AW139 intermediate twin helicopter in July last year. Based in west Africa’s commercial hub Lagos, the service centre provides maintenance and repair services and an extensive spare parts inventory. Operating from facilities around the country and more recently in other parts of west Africa, Caverton Helicopters provides a range of

AgustaWestland’s Geoff Hoon and Adeniyi Makanjuola of Caverton shake on a successful partnership.

services including transportation, maintenance, SAR and related services to offshore oil companies and other sectors. It says it is the first wholly indigenous civil helicopter company to work in the oil and gas industry.

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4 APRIL 2013

EUROPEAN BUSINESS AIR NEWS

Jota partners with DAT to operate red-nosed King Air 300 Air charter and management company Jota Aviation has expanded its operating range after taking commercial control of a Super King Air 300 in partnership with Danish Air Transport (DAT). The newly forged partnership with DAT sees Jota Aviation take control of marketing, bookings and logistical requirements for the aircraft, while DAT will maintain ownership as well as providing flight crew and operational oversight. It will operate flights carrying up to eight passengers to include locations in Eastern

Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Commercial director Andy Green says: “Jota Aviation is delighted to announce its partnership with DAT and the addition of a King Air 300. I am certain that this link-up will be beneficial for both parties and I look forward to working alongside DAT. What’s more, I am extremely pleased that we will be able to expand our operating range, further strengthening Jota Aviation’s status as the charter and management specialists of choice for both passenger and freight requirements."

Jota Aviations red-nosed Beech 300 raised funds for Red Nose Day.

All profits made from the Super King Air 300 during the national charity event Red Nose Day on 15

March were donated to the Comic Relief good causes as part of a fundraising effort by Jota Group. Appropriately, the aircraft features a distinctive red nose section. Refurbished to a high spec in 2012, it will initially be based at Southend airport. It joins one of Jota Aviation's own King Airs at the site as well as further examples located at Newcastle and Liverpool airports. The fleet comprises a Beech 90 Cargoliner and four B90s with plans to add a Super King Air 200 by April, plus the 300 on ACMI lease. Green

says that the main advantages of this latter model is its speed and carrying capacity over distance. “Compare a 300 with some lighter jets, for example Mustangs, CJ1/2/2+, and you’ll see that you can carry more people, in a much larger cabin for less money, with only a slight increase in flight times.” First established to meet the needs of Jota’s growing professional racing team and the motor sport sector, the aviation operation has since grown to become a successful enterprise in its own right.

Bond bases Norwegian S-92 at Aberdeen Bond Offshore Helicopters has started operations with a new Sikorsky S-92 helicopter for the first time out of Aberdeen, delivering on a three-year contract with Premier Oil. The contract is to provide crew change flights for the independent exploration and production company. Services started in March and the contract has options to extend beyond its initial three-year course. Premier Oil has equity interests in nine producing fields as well as a number of current and future development projects in the UK North Sea. The aircraft was registered in Norway before being flown to the UK. It will be operated under an arrangement with Bond’s sister company Norsk Helikopterservice (NHS), and is one of 16 S-92s ordered by Bond’s parent company Avincis Group in 2011. Luke Farajallah, Bond Offshore Helicopters md, says: “This new contract with Premier builds on our strong existing relationship with them, and is more evidence of our dedication to finding the best fit for our customers. We hope to grow with Premier as its North Sea projects mature.” Richard Mintern, ceo, northern Europe and Asia Pacific, Avincis Group, adds: “Bond has been able to draw on the central resources of the Avincis Group, as well as its Norwegian sister company NHS, in order to provide the best solution for Premier. This is a great demonstration of the power of Bond being part of a global group such as Avincis.”

Rizon hosts launch of Qatar luxury brand network In addition to the AW189 helicopters required for the SAR contract, Bristow has also ordered six AW139s plus a number of options for additional aircraft. The contract for AW189s was signed at Heli-Expo by Mark Duncan, Bristow Group svp commercial, and Emilio Dalmasso, AgustaWestland’s svp commercial business. The contract increases the number of AW139s delivered to and on order by Bristow Group to 15.

Bristow wins ‘transformative’ contract to provide UK search and rescue Bristow Helicopters has won the contract to provide civilian search and rescue (SAR) services for all of the UK. The SAR services contract has a phased-in transition period beginning in April 2015 and continuing to July 2017 and a contract length of approximately ten years. Bristow will provide 11 Sikorsky S-92 and 11 AgustaWestland AW189 helicopters that will be located at ten bases across the country. Each SAR base will operate either two S-92s or two AW189s. In addition to the ten bases with 20 aircraft, there will be two fully SAR-equipped training aircraft that can be deployed to any base as needed. It is planned that some of the military personnel currently involved in UK SAR will join Bristow Helicopters to work under the contract. In early 2012, Bristow Helicopters was awarded a Gap SAR services contract commencing July 2013, using four S-92 helicopters based in Scot-

land at Stornoway and Sumburgh. The Gap contract is expected to run for about four years until transition occurs for these two bases to the new longer-term contract. Mike Imlach, Bristow Helicopters md, says: “Bristow Helicopters has a proven reputation for exceptional UK search and rescue services, having performed such services over 36 years with world-class operations that included unmatched flight safety performance, extensive aircrew training, first class maintenance facilities, supply-chain partners, and project procurement and contract management. Affiliates of Bristow Group Inc currently operate similar search and rescue services in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Dutch Antilles, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia and Trinidad.” Under the contract, Bristow Helicopters expects to earn approximately $2.5 billion in revenue. Jonathan Baliff, chief financial officer,

says: “We believe that these contract terms and conditions are transformative from an operational and financial standpoint for our company. The number of helicopters operated, combined with the revenue and earnings generated under this contract, will create both a larger and lower risk company going forward. “The total capital requirement for this project is expected to be approximately $1 billion, much of which is dedicated to the acquisition of 22 of the most technologically advanced SAR-equipped S-92 and AW189 helicopters ever built,” continues Baliff. “We believe that the financing plan based on our company’s capital strength was an important criterion for the selection of Bristow Helicopters to provide this life saving service which requires a high level of safety and on-time reliability, and at higher service levels and lower cost than previously anticipated by the UK government.”

More than 150 vip guests attended the Qatar launch of The Luxury Network, a private consortium of premium brands in prominent capitals across the world. Founding member Rizon Jet hosted Luxury D’Elegance Qatar, an invite-only business to consumer focused brand exposure event, showcasing 20 luxury companies from the Middle East. Rizon Jet ceo Captain Hassan AlMousawi says: “We are very proud that we have been given the opportunity to host the network’s most successful launch event. It has been a wonderful opportunity for Rizon Jet to work closely with noncompeting key luxury brands, creating a prestige event and developing a wider network and expanding our client base. “It is an ideal gateway to form new alliances and partnerships with brands that will complement our

products and growth.” Planned by the executives of the participating companies, the event featured luxury vehicles, jewellery, watches, fashion, property, travel, resorts, health, beauty, gifts and lifestyle services. St Regis Doha five-star catering butlers served fine food while a highlight of the evening was the Debaj Collection fashion show, showcasing a new line of abayas and turbans. Fares Ghattas of The Luxury Network Qatar says: “I firmly believe that we are creating the best circle of luxury companies here in Qatar and this is still growing. This will be an instrument for us to be unified as one. Each brand will have its fair share of exposure locally and internationally through business development, networking, B2B and B2C events, vip clientele database referrals and partnerships.”

Launching The Luxury Network in Qatar: Captain Hassan Al-Mousawi and Fares Ghattas.


6 APRIL 2013

Two-month 605 delivery demand fails to faze Xclusive Xclusive Jet Charter reports signs of recovery in the business jet market. A Citation 550 that was mothballed in May 2011 has now been put back into operation, and has entered charter service alongside a Hawker 800XP from Southampton airport. The Citation had needed a new engine and, with the reduction in the charter market, the owners considered it not worth the financial outlay. This gave XJC time to wait for the right engine deal to come along, which it did in November last year. The company says it is used to acting for customers with very specific timescale requirements. One of its clients wanted to upgrade an existing Challenger 605 to a new model, with delivery required in just two months’ time. Steve Loveridge, md, reports that he received an email that read: “Please check this is all OK.” In the attachment was the proposal for the upgrade. “It came completely out of the blue,” he says. “Two months’ notice is a tough task but after intense negotiations and much pressure on the manufacturer we finally got the deal that the client wanted and the aircraft was delivered on schedule.” Loveridge continues: “We are lucky in that we have an excellent aircraft delivery team and we immediately put resources in place to get the show on the road. This was an aircraft destined for another client so the difficulty was going through the customer options that were specified to ensure compatibility with our operations.” XJC recently moved into new offices in the Signature facility at Southampton and operates eight aircraft providing bespoke management and charter services. “We celebrated 10 years in the business and have seen some pretty tough times. However, we have seen an increase in business over the last few months and are quite upbeat about the future. We are a small company by comparison and this is a model that we want to keep, as it is the only way that our clients can get a truthful, personal service,” he adds. The company has taken CAMO inhouse with the appointment of Mike Phillips, formally of TAG Farnborough. Loveridge explains: “Mike brings us much needed expertise in the aircraft maintenance side of our business and we are rapidly becoming a one-stop shop.”

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EUROPEAN BUSINESS AIR NEWS

Loxwood brings the latest Ecureuil to the UK Loxwood Holdings, a group of specialist companies that operate in strategic risk management and security, has become the first UK customer to buy the latest AS350 model, the B3e. “Having owned other new helicopters before, but never a Eurocopter product, I did a lot of personal research and benchmarking before contacting Eurocopter UK at Oxford,” says Christopher John Holland, ceo of Loxwood. “Since then I am delighted with the whole experience; the staff I have been involved with, the product, the

passion from their people here and back in France. And the full, locally available OEM support which is quite unique, compared to what I have faced in the past.” The AS350B3e first entered service in September 2011, and has a sevenseat configuration. “We are very proud to add Loxwood Holdings and the new AS350 to our Eurocopter family in the UK”, says Markus Steinke, md of Eurocopter UK Limited. “We are mindful that our customers have a wide choice of single helicopters these days, but we

are also aware that besides the pure product, the scope, quality and proximity of through-life support has become a more important issue than in the past for these customers – and with the capability of Britain’s civil helicopter hub here at Oxford we offer a comprehensive solution, unmatched by any other OEM,” Steinke says. The company also has a network of regional engineers and a fleet of 20 Eurocopter mobile units covering the country. Today, around 5,350 Ecureuils have been delivered in 130 countries to some 1,600 operators.

Eurocopter’s AS350B3e entered service in September 2011.

Long-range arrivals swell Bookajet managed fleet Bookajet, the jet management and charter business, has added a Global Express XRS, a Citation Excel, a Gulfstream IV and a Citation Sovereign to its managed fleet in recent weeks. The XRS and Excel will be both on the AOC and on the UK register. Bookajet is based at Farnborough, but currently has operations in Italy, Russia, Netherlands and France as well. One option which the company offers its charter customers is a membership card, dubbed the JetBlack card. This offers fixed prices on any aircraft in the fleet, a dedicated account manager, 24-hour support and guaranteed availability, and a 15 per cent discount on round trips. “For example, a typical two-hour light jet flight from London to Nice would normally cost more than €11,000, but JetBlack card holders would pay just €10,000,” the company says. “Likewise, taking the same trip but with a medium jet (seven or eight passengers), JetBlack card holders would typically save €1,500 off the standard price. And because you only pay for the hours you are actually flying, you’ll spend less, however you use your time.”

Cello expands its fleet with RJ85 addition

ABS Jets is calling on Zuzana Vaclavova’s language skills and government experience.

Vaclavova appointed to lead the marketing push for ABS Prague-based ABS Jets has appointed Zuzana Vaclavova to the role of marketing manager and spokeswoman. In her new position, Vaclavova will be responsible for the company’s presence at air shows and exhibitions, among other marketing activities. She says: “I look forward to this opportunity and the chance to meet and work with many of our international colleagues and partners. I am sure my new role will be challenging and I welcome the opportunity to help ABS Jets continue to have a strong presence at exhibitions and with our aviation partners and clients.” Vaclavova joined ABS Jets in 2012

and has been involved in many aspects of the company in preparation for her new role in the marketing department. Prior to joining ABS Jets she travelled extensively throughout Europe, Canada and the US gaining qualifications and perfecting her language skills. She gained international experience working in the foreign affairs department of the office of the President of the Czech Republic and the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Washington, DC. During the organisation of a number of press seminars concerning the EU, Vaclavova gained valuable experience working with high level speakers and journalists.

Expanding vip charter operator Cello Aviation is diversifying into the ACMI sector of the airline business. Operating all over Europe, Birmingham-based Cello saw bookings double during 2012 and will keep vip charter at the core of its business. However, in partnership with Chevron Technical Services in Manchester, an Avro RJ85 with extended range tanks will be added to Cello’s AOC. The company will manage all aspects of operation including the flight deck and cabin crew as well as on-board catering. “This type of aircraft is ideal and has provided the basis for the success of our business,” says ceo Nim Baines. “It will be used for ad hoc charter work as well as supporting other airlines with extra capacity as needed.” Equipped with 82 all-leather seats, the aircraft is capable of reaching most European destinations and can operate into and out of airports where runways are short and angles of approach and take off steep. “We work with Cello and know the high standards to which they operate and this was a key factor in our decision to place our aircraft with them,” says Len Morris, owner of Chevron Technical Services.

Cello took on two new staff last year and recruited four extra cabin crew. Baines believes that the growth of the airline is to do with filling a gap in the market with its original aircraft: “Our BAe 146 can carry more passengers than most vip aircraft that are typically in the 10-19 seat categories. This enables us to carry parties such as football teams, major music performers and their technicians as well as heavy equipment. However, the technical specification of the aircraft means that it can fly into and out of airports that are out of bounds to many aircraft of this size.” Attention to detail in choosing local suppliers is a policy that Baines believes provides a competitive advantage. “In selecting our caterer we deliberately avoided traditional suppliers of aircraft food. We selected a boutique caterer just a few miles from our base that specialises in providing food using wherever possible fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Gourmet Foods has many years’ experience catering for special events where the customer needs that bit extra.” Meanwhile, Birmingham-based company Slaters designed and supplied cabin crew uniforms.

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Cello’s Nim Baines, top, joins forces with Chevron Technical Services director Julie Griffiths and Len Morris.


Whatever it Takes Imagine maintenance reports automatically sent from your Falcon by satellite link. It exists today – we call it FalconBroadcast. Here’s one story. On a recent Falcon 7X flight from Chicago to Paris-Le Bourget, FalconBroadcast detected a service warning from the Crew Alert System and relayed it to the aircraft ground crew. Within minutes, Jim Perrey, the Maintenance Manager, was able to view the message on his Smartphone, access incident report details and inform the Falcon Technical Center of the failure. When the captain opened the aircraft door at Le Bourget Airport, a Dassault technician was there to greet him with the required spare. A few hours later, the aircraft was back in the air, on schedule. The customer was understandably elated. “There is no doubt that FalconBroadcast technology gives us a huge advantage,” he said. “It’s an invaluable asset, especially when time is a critical factor.”

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8 APRIL 2013

EUROPEAN BUSINESS AIR NEWS

CTC aims to woo private jet owners with its commercial airline standards CTC Aviation, the airline training and pilot resource company, is expanding its elite operations service for private jet owners, with the launch of a dedicated operation under the name CTC Private Jet. Leading this initiative, md Captain Steve Billett says: “CTC has been running private jets under management since 2007, and is now formally launching the service under its own name and with a new menu of services. “We currently operate a Gulfstream G-550 which we have just taken delivery of, a Falcon 2000EX and two Hawker 900XPs. There are a lot of AOC operators out there, but we made the decision to offer a bespoke and personal service. I can’t say we would never have an AOC, but our clients want exclusivity and private access.” Billett believes that the parent company’s expertise in commercial pilot training is highly valued by its private aircraft owning clients. “We have four pilots that we ourselves trained, and they are used to our view of operating to airline standards,” he adds. CTC is looking for only modest expansion: “The optimum size is difficult to define, but the plan would mean adding six more clients in the coming six months.” The company says that the number of medium and large sized business aircraft delivered to the UK

CTC Group’s Rob Clarke believes airline safety standards should be applied in private aviation.

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during 2007-2011 was 70 per cent higher than the previous five-year period. It believes this growth is driven by an increasing number of ultra-high net worth individuals living and working in the UK, and estimates that Russian and US citizens alone, for example, spent more than £1.3 billion on prime property in London last year. This means that there are now around 295 medium to large sized business jets in the country and collectively they are worth around £4 billion. CTC says its research also revealed that last year there were some 392 daily business flights in the UK, five per cent higher than in 2009. “The UK – and London in particular – continues to attract some of the wealthiest and most successful ultra-high net worth individuals in the world, and many of these people and their organisations have purchased, or are considering investing in their own aircraft,” says Billett. “We have been successfully running a fleet of four jets for a private client since 2007 and feel the experience we have from this, plus that of annually working with over 50 global airlines, means that we are well equipped to not only expand into the growing private jet market, but also to offer unique standards of safety and service that are without equal in the private jet world.” Regardless of where clients or their aircraft are based, CTC’s specialist operations team will monitor and control all aspects of a client’s journey. The maintenance schedules go above and beyond legal airworthiness requirements, and operating partners are regularly audited. Rob Clarke, chief executive of the CTC Group, adds: “We work for a number of major global airlines including British Airways, easyJet, flydubai, Jetstar, Dragonair, Monarch Airlines and Qatar Airways and felt that the vast experience we have gained here could be applied to the private jet market. Private jets should be operating to the same high safety standards as those of a modern airline, where risk is minimised and crew training of the highest quality ensures that these goals are achieved.” CTC Aviation had sales of £27.9 million in 2012, and trains around 2,000 aircrew for more than 50 global airlines each year.

Ian Moore of VistaJet (right) and Derek Freeman of Bon Soirée shake hands on their partnership.

VistaJet rewards specialist caterer for round-the-clock attention VistaJet has chosen specialist caterer Bon Soirée to provide the food for all its flights departing from airports in the London region. Chief commercial officer of VistaJet Ian Moore says: “The reason for us working with Bon Soirée is not only its extremely high standard of food and attention to detail but also because of the service that founder Derek and his team provide no matter which time of day or night it might be. This is the key that makes it our ideal partner in London and a very successful provider in this fast moving and unforeseeable business.” The agreement also means that Bon Soirée will provide cabin crew training on how to prepare and present the dishes. Owner and founder of Bon Soirée, Derek Freeman says of the partnership: “It is hugely exciting to be given the challenge to supply food of the highest standards possible for VistaJet’s passengers and it is a challenge for my chefs.”

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Healthier, Asian and Russian foods on the rise Bon Soirée has noticed that air charter passengers are becoming ever more health conscious, especially on American and Japanese flights. Requests for low sodium, low fat, and low carb diets as well as meals that consist of only organic produce, are on the increase, it says. The caterer is increasingly asked

for ‘super food’ dishes and to provide for specific diets, so its chefs now come up with imaginative ways of using, for example, nuts, seeds and berries. Freeman comments: “When discussing menus with flight attendants on US flights, we are quite often told their clients are ‘flexitarians’, which means they practice meat free days.” More clients are ordering food from named London restaurants. Sushi from Sumosan or Nobo is popular, while food from Moti Mahal and a variety of other Indian, Chinese and Middle Eastern establishments is regularly requested. “We have a client who has provided us with an Ottolenghi (a renowned Jewish chef ) cookery book that they regularly order from,” says Freeman. Catering requests for Russian flights increased in 2012, with these customers spending, on average, more per head on catering than the other western European or American flights.

San Marino widens the options for PC12 owner A PC12 used for private transport by an undisclosed Swiss owner, and operated by Fly 7, has been added to the San Marino aircraft register. “It will also be authorised for training towards the type rating in our FTO (ATO) as our CAMO follows the EASA regulation on this aircraft,” says accountable manager for Fly 7, Yves Roch. “And this PC12 is in our flying club, Seven Aviation, along with two Swiss-registered aircraft.” The owner never flies alone, but he does hold an FAA licence and the San Marino CAA recognises FAA and JAA licences, so he can be the captain on board. Also, says Fly 7, a Swiss company can be registered as the owner which helps the local VAT process. “The San Marino people were efficient, fast and friendly… and that could be reason enough to register an aircraft there,” adds Roch. “I don’t see any reason to change all the fleet [to San Marino registration] as we have very good relationship with FOCA, but this question will clearly come for the new coming aircraft. Who knows? As San Marino wants to become commercial in 2015 it could be an opportunity for an AOC mono turbine IFR. We have currently applied for an AOC VFR in Switzerland but I am not sure that FOCA will take the risk to issue an AOC IFR within EASA like the Finnish CAA did.” Speaking about the new registration, president of the San Marino Aircraft Registry David Colindres says: “This is great news that we have a major Swiss corporation registered with us. Since the launch of the San Marino registry at MEBA we have entered into discussions with many aircraft owners and this registration is a sure sign that they can see the benefits of registering their aircraft with us.”


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Heli-Drive orders five Bells as Russia’s second distributor Bell Helicopter has signalled the importance of the burgeoning Russian market by appointing Heli-Drive as an authorised independent sales representative for north west Russia. The two companies also announced purchase agreements for five aircraft, two Bell 429s and three Bell 407GXs. All five will be operated by Heli-Drive, two on behalf of private owners and three within its own fleet. “Russia is one of the fastest growing markets in the world and a key priority for Bell Helicopter,� says Danny Maldonado, evp sales and marketing. “Because of Russia’s significance, we believe it is important to have locally-based representatives who can work directly with our customers in the market in which they fly. “We selected Heli-Drive based on its professional approach and state-of-the-art

facility. It provides a worldclass experience and a strategic location in St Petersburg, near Pulkovo International airport, enables easy access for our customers.� The new helicopters are expected to be delivered during 2013, and will be flown for a combination of corporate/vip and EMS missions in the St Petersburg region of Russia. “Bell Helicopter’s products are ideally suited to Russia’s harsh operating conditions,� says Ivan Yatsenko, general director and major shareholder at Heli-Drive. “As a leader in north west Russia, our capabilities will enable Bell Helicopter to compete more aggressively in our growing market.� Heli-Drive was founded in 2011 and has since established itself as a sales, service and training centre for vertical lift in Russia. Expansion of its facility, to be

completed in late 2013, will include a multi-functional complex with a large showroom floor and private helicopter hangars. Heli-Drive joins Moscow’s Jet Transfer in providing independent representation for Bell Helicopter in Russia. “This is definitely a step forward for all of us,� says md of Jet Transfer Alexander Evdokimov, “as we are now truly professional partners. Previously we had just agreed to cooperate with Heli-Drive, but now it has gained official status. The north west is very important to us, and we are pleased that Heli-Drive will now advance Bell helicopters in that region.� The presence of two dealers in one country is unusual for Bell Helicopter, but it made an exception for Russia in response to the rapid growth of the local helicopter market over most of the country.

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Signing the contract is PrivatAir’s Victor Grove and SPA md Wajdi Abdullah Al-Idrissi. Behind them are SPA general manager commercial affairs Faisal Bin Abdulaziz Al-saddik and Thomas Vrancken.

PrivatAir helps SPA crew deliver excellent service for elite clients An agreement announced at the Abu Dhabi Air Expo will see PrivatAir deliver training services to Jeddah-headquartered Saudia Private Aviation (SPA). In a move intended to achieve the excellence expected by SPA’s elite customers, PrivatAir will train existing cabin crew and provide coaching in specific areas of on-board service. The first group of SPA’s 20 cabin crew are scheduled to begin their vvip service training with PrivatAir early this month in Jeddah. SPA’s company director general Khalid Abdullah Almolhem is clear in his goals: “It is our prime objective to continually improve our services so that we always remain ahead with our competitors and exceed our clients’ expectations, to win their absolute loyalty. Following the tradition of Saudi Arabian Airlines, we are determined to build on our commitments by training our staff and

crew to the apex of excellence.� PrivatAir’s training department PrivatTraining is specialised in providing courses tailored to suit the exacting needs of private aviation passengers as well as the individual culture of the client organisation. Victor Grove, svp selection, training and customer service, is excited about this chance to extend the company's market reach: “Following on from the Royal Flight of Oman, we now have an opportunity to demonstrate our level of service in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.� SPA was founded in 2009 as an independent unit of Saudi Arabian Airlines and delivers luxury flight services to top tier clientele of Saudi Arabian Airlines. PrivatAir is an international business aviation group with headquarters in Geneva and operating bases in Frankfurt, Geneva and Brazzaville, Congo.

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10 APRIL 2013

EUROPEAN BUSINESS AIR NEWS

Companies and individuals have used aircraft for their own business purposes virtually ever since the aeroplane came into existence, but business aviation only truly evolved in the 1960s and 70s. This means that the oldest and wisest heads in the industry can draw on experiences which cover most of the important developments, as well as a whole rollercoaster of political and economic conditions. In this issue, we have asked for a few words of experience from key people in the cockpit, in ground operations and in air charter management.

Experienced voices put business aviation into perspective Rocco Cellucci 1990: Flight dispatcher at Aliadriatica Today: Accountable manager at AirOne Executive

Rocco Cellucci spent much of his career in commercial aviation, but jumped at the chance to return to business aviation. “I started in this business in the last century,” he says. “Twenty-three years have passed since my first posting and I must say that I have had the privilege of assisting in major changes in our industry. Just to mention one; who would have thought back in the 90s of the existence of commercial carriers such as Ryanair or easyJet, or in the case of

business aviation, the birth of a major factional ownership company such as NetJets? I have seen expansion, recession, consolidation, but in the end more and more people are flying for leisure or business reasons. “The bottom line is that the world is getting to be a smaller place and our industry is a major actor in the process of opening and integrating worldwide markets.” Cellucci started as a flight dispatcher for Aliadriatica Airlines in 1990. This airline was one of the first privately owned airlines founded after the deregulation of the Italian domestic market. In less than three years a tight-knit team was able to develop Aliadriatica, a small

Rocco Cellucci believes an open mind is vital.

regional/executive carrier, to fully fledged domestic carrier AirOne. In AirOne he occupied different

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positions, including OCC manager, charter sales network, business development manager, and project manager for the implementation of the company fuel policy. He was able to acquire keen knowledge of the Italian commercial and business aviation markets and made good contacts with major corporate and leisure accounts. Finally in 2008, when the merger between AirOne and Alitalia was decided, Cellucci took the decision to return fully to the business aviation sector and to apply his commercial heritage to this sector. “Even if the last two years have been very challenging in terms of market trends, I do strongly believe that there are still strong growth potentials to come in the near future. “Fundamental to this is a strong ethos of co-operation between operators and legislators focused on the will to enhance future growth trends. At the same time, operators must focus on cost efficiency, service enhancement and so on to meet clients’ high standard requirements and price expectations.” He believes that the key difference between commercial and business aviation is the need to anticipate every tiny requirement that the customer may have, and go to great lengths to provide for these. “On one flight we discovered that the passenger had the habit of preparing his Vodka Martini himself. We prepared all the tools necessary: shakerpreferred brands of liquor and lemon peels cut in five different ways. We were not sure which would be the preferred one. In the end the passenger was the happiest ever because, even as a frequent flyer, never had he found anybody that went to this detail. We were lucky because he liked the straight simple peel. “It’s a simple story but it points out the fact that in business aviation every flight is unique. Aircraft are all quite similar, but the difference is understanding your clients’ needs and making sure that they are satisfied,” he says. This attitude will have contributed towards his proudest achievement to date; flying over 700 block hours totally chartered on the Falcon 2000LX during 2011.

There are more slot restrictions, but it has become more efficient to obtain landing permits The aspect of his career which has been most enjoyable has been startups. “In this I have had the opportunity to cooperate with people focused on the final objective and also to learn to think with an open mind to accomplish my duties. Last but not least, I have had the joy of transmitting my knowledge to younger and willing co-workers. To these people my advice has always been to be open to new ways of approaching issues. Never be compliant and speak up if not in agreement.”

Capt Warren Redfern www.ebace.aero

Today: Challenger 605 captain at Rizon Jet

Extensive experience as captain of a wide variety of aircraft over the years has led Rizon Jet’s Warren Redfern to


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EUROPEAN BUSINESS AIR NEWS

Captain Warren Redfern has counted ex-presidents and prime ministers among his passengers.

fully appreciate the ‘family feel’ of business aviation which, he says, is not a job – it’s an adventure! Redfern started in business aviation in Calgary, Canada, with SunWest International Aviation Services and still remembers his first turboprop rating, the Fairchild Metro, like it was yesterday. “I loved flying that airplane,” he says. “I received my first jet rating on the Learjet 35, also known as the ‘Ferrari of the skies’, due to its compact size and speed. Now I am enjoying the privilege of flying every model of Challenger. “Most of my career I have been a captain on every aircraft I’ve flown. With my extensive experience and knowledge of the varied aircraft types, I have had the pleasure to mentor colleagues new to business aviation, helping them become proficient and knowledgeable in the industry and aircraft types, a role I very much enjoy.” He advises newcomers to business aviation that it is completely different from scheduled commercial aviation. “You need to be very flexible in our business as our flying is rarely scheduled. While commercial aircraft converted to a business aircraft may have larger crews, the majority of business aircraft are limited to three: a captain, co-captain/first officer and a flight attendant. With a small crew teamwork and communication is critical, relying on each other for safety, efficiency and professionalism. I love the family feel

this brings to my life. “There is the benefit of often flying with many of the same clients on a regular or repeated basis. This means getting to know their personal preferences and requirements, and being able to anticipate and surpass their expectations on the next flight. Confidentiality is undeniably the most important factor for our passengers, and must be highly respected at all times. This builds trust, comfort and confidence, which is definitely an enjoyable aspect of business aviation.

You can’t help but smile when you hear the words ‘cleared for take-off, have a nice flight’ “These details all make business aviation a great business to be in. I’ve been in it for over two decades and I still love it. Every day is a new challenge and learning experience no matter where you are flying or who you are flying with. “Business aviation in itself is a non-standard business, catering to the varying preferences and destinations of the individual owners and clients. The varied confidential career and character building experiences will remain incredible memories for me. While my diverse worldwide experiences are not

particularly unusual for this unique industry, my most unusual passengers have been Falcon hunting birds. “In 2000 I had the honour of flying ex-US President George H Bush, his wife Barbara and ex-Prime Minister of the UK, John Major. In 2001, I also had the honour of flying ex-US President Bill Clinton. The kindness and graciousness shown by such influential figures will always remain as memorable pages in my aviation history book. “A significant milestone for every aviator, flying my 10,000th hour, is still one of my greatest achievements. I am thankful to my family, friends and colleagues, whose patience and support have guided me along the way. “When you first learn to fly you are taught the basic skills of hand flying (stick and rudder). You should always be working on improving those skills no matter what airplane you fly. Flying most modern airplanes today is all about systems management. Most commercial and business aircraft are computers that fly, with automation being very dominant in these aircraft. Like anything else it can fail and you have to be able to revert back to your skills of stick and rudder, which is why hand flying is still important to practice. “We are unique professionals that get to travel and experience the world, something most people don’t have the opportunity to do. Flying isn’t just a job – it’s an adventure, one that I enjoy very much. You can’t help but smile when you hear the words ‘cleared for take-off, have a nice flight’.”

O P E R AT I O N S N E W S . . . Air BP now on tap at Barajas

Legacy 650 simulator qualified to level D

Air BP has launched into-plane services for all general and business aviation traffic at Madrid-Barajas airport, through its partnership with Spanish aviation fuel supplier, SCLA. Facilities include a fixed operations base, 24-hour service, dedicated Air BP staff and equipment, along with an increased operations area compared with its previous location. The general aviation terminal at Barajas is due to open at the end of April and will feature vip facilities including lounges, meeting rooms and dedicated parking.

FlightSafety International’s full flight simulator for the Embraer Legacy 650 has been qualified to Level D by EASA. Located in St Louis, Missouri, it is equipped with the VITAL X visual system, paving the way for training during the second quarter of 2013.

Inflite is approved for pets Inflite The Jet Centre at Stansted airport has been given approval to handle the transport of pets travelling to the UK under the Pet Travel Scheme. The team at Inflite have been trained to carry out passport checks and scan animal microchips.

Dassault Falcon has made its FalconBroadcast airborne health monitoring service available on all Falcon 2000 and 900 models equipped with the EASy cockpit. “This service has been available for our Falcon 7X customers since mid-2012 and the response has been universally positive,” said Jacques Chauvet, svp of worldwide customer service. “Dispatch rates increase and in the event of an AOG, aircraft downtime is decreased.” Any crucial data generated by the Central Maintenance Computer is instantly transmitted to Dassault (either by satellite or VHF radio communications link), where it is automatically acquired, processed and enriched. An email alert is then sent to the operator’s ground personnel.

Russian helicopters gain service centre in South Africa

Peter Hartmann 1983: Dispatcher at Jet Aviation Today: CEO of Premium Jet AG

Many executives in business aviation started out as a humble dispatcher, but for Peter Hartmann joining Jet Aviation at Zurich in 1983 was the first step to becoming the ceo of his own business. Adventures along the way have included having to stem a fuel leak onboard one flight with chewing gum. Other incidents that stick in his mind include successfully getting permission to land on Galapagos with a business jet, and avoiding a positioning flight out of overcrowded Hong Kong Kai Tak by claiming to be continuously charging the aircraft batteries for a week. Hartmann says his greatest achievements are the build-up of ExecuJet’s European fleet between 2001 and 2009 from 20 to over 65 aircraft, opening up two additional AOCs and the Moscow office, and then successfully opening up Premium Jet.

FalconBroadcast arrives in more EASy models

Russian Helicopters, part of state defence holding Oboronprom and a leading global designer and manufacturer of helicopters, and Denel Aviation of South Africa have opened a maintenance, repair and overhaul centre in Johannesburg for Russian-built helicopters. Today there are about 600 Russian-built helicopters in Africa, mainly from the Mi-8/17 series and Ka-32s.

Yes, chef! Cairns heads London team Alison Price On Air has appointed Jamie Cairns (pictured) to the role of head chef to lead a seven-strong team. A qualified chef for over 23 years, he was previously head chef at Rhubarb’s main kitchen in London, and brings experience of restaurant management and event catering.

Weston airport aims to attract business Weston airport in Dublin has been sold to Galway-based civil engineering group Brian Conneely & Co Associates. It will now be rebranded as Dublin Weston airport and will concentrate on providing an alternative for the 8,000 business jet movements per year at Dublin’s main airport.

continued on next page

A new partnership...

We are pleased to announce that Tim Leacock Aircraft Sales is now the UK Independent Authorised Sales Representative for Gulfstream Aerospace. See Gulfstream’s full model range at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, Geneva, May 21-23.

Telephone +44 (0) 1258 818181 tim@timleacockaircraft.com timleacockaircraft.com


12 APRIL 2013

EUROPEAN BUSINESS AIR NEWS

continued from preceding page

CHARTER BROKER NEWS... Mulgimov takes the reins at ACS Moscow Air Charter Service has appointed Azat Mulgimov to the role of general director in the company’s Moscow office. He has spent the last five years as commercial director at Russian cargo charter airline Aviacon Zitotrans.

Air Partner operates comet flight Air Partner has successfully operated a comet watching flight for 54 amateur astronomers. The group worked with Air Berlin to charter a Boeing 737-700 from Cologne/Bonn. Air Partner worked closely with Bonn-based Eclipse Travel, a leading travel agency for astronomy-related flights, on this project. The flight zig-zagged through North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony, following the PanStarrs comet.

Emma Wilkinson brings more operational experience to the BACA council.

New council member for air charter association Emma Wilkinson, director at The Charter Company, has been selected to join the Baltic Air Charter Association council. She began her aviation career in 1997 with Gold Air International, before managing teams of charter sales executives and promoting general aviation at London City Airport and then Execujet Aviation, where she was charter manager for

Europe, and joining The Charter Company in 2011. “I very much look forward to promoting BACA, assisting its members and giving something back to an industry that I feel very passionately about,” says Wilkinson.

FlyMeNow drivers speed organ transplants Two staff from FlyMeNow have qualified as ‘blue light drivers’ after intensive training from emergency response personnel. The company is involved in transporting organs for transplant and providing air ambulances at short notice. To meet emergency medical needs effectively the company has recently expanded its services and can now offer a road transport service to doctors and surgeons who often need to rush to another hospital to retrieve a donor organ. The company has introduced two uniquely blue light equipped vehicles, a BMW 7 series sedan and Range Rover 4x4, which can operate independently or in conjunction with its chartered aircraft and helicopter services. Commercial director Andrew Whitney and quality care commissioner Colin Milne say the week-long driver training was tough: “Five days of theory and hard practical driving, and being assessed by ex-emergency services instructors, means you have to concentrate every minute. It was really challenging and the instructors only pass you if you tick all the boxes. You have to combine speed with safety. There’s no point in rushing around on our lifesaving missions if we’re going to cause an accident ourselves,” says Whitney.

HighProfile expands team French business air charter broker HighProfile has appointed Valentine Gravelle as a sales executive, who brings experience of organising travel for a diversified clientele including celebrities, businessmen, world renowned athletes and industrialists from emerging markets.

Every problem has a simple solution

He feels that business aviation has changed from a ‘can do’ environment to an (almost) over-regulated business, and advises youngsters starting out in business aviation to “learn the basics and don’t trust computers in everything. A clear brain and knowledge lets one use aids such as a computer to the fullest extent and the best advantage.” This clear head has been vital to Hartmann on a number of occasions, among them landing in a private 727 on Midway (then still military), and suffering three bird strikes on landing, and one on take-off leading to a last-minute abort and engine repairs. Another bird strike on the second take-off did no damage so the rescue aircraft from Hawaii turned back and the owner asked for champagne on passing 2,000 feet. Temporarily closing off that fuel leak after landing in Saipan, required the whole crew to chew gum which was then held tight until reaching the next maintenance station for a permanent fix. One landing on Fiji took place in such hard rain that the runway was only visible by the bright lights of the ‘running rabbit’, and without enough fuel to divert because the alternate had the same weather forecast. “We got soaking wet to the bones just by opening the door underneath the tail,” says Hartmann. Stumbling over the foot of a bodyguard and tumbling towards a minister required a level head when he found himself looking down the barrel of the other bodyguard���s gun. The clear head was less in evidence when breaking a toe trying to save a paper strip flight plan from being ripped apart, “because I would have had to do the whole thing again, and this was time consuming in those, admittedly early, days.”

Eric Kriner Today: Postholder ground operations at ProAir Aviation

Eric Kriner’s flying career continues, as he still holds an ATP and IFR licence, but now he is bringing his communication skills to the fore in a vital ground role for ProAir Aviation. He has been with the company for five years and now runs flight planning, overflight and landing permissions as well as crew planning with his co-workers on a 24/7 basis. In addition to ProAir’s fleet of ten aircraft, ProAir ground ops handle all operational matters for other operators and aircraft as well. Kriner is “a 100 per cent aviation guy”. He holds an American commercial seaplane licence and has worked as a flight instructor in the US and Germany. He flew floatplanes in Alaska in the mid-90s. Being an

Eric Kriner has a seaplane licence and flew floatplanes in Alaska.

instructor in the flying club at Ramstein airbase had its special challenges: “A traffic pattern with F-16 Tomahawk fighter and Piper PA28 is special for pilots and controller alike.” His first job in ground operations started in 1998 with a different German operator, and he enjoys the fact that no working day compares with the other.

The barriers to entry are a lot, lot harder these days Kriner particularly remembers one special medical flight. “A young boy had hurt his leg badly and needed to be flown from northern Germany to the south. The closest departure airport was a military airport. First the landing request was denied because on that specific day they had a change of the commander with a big celebration. But once they heard the background of the flight there was no further discussion, the aircraft was allowed to land and the injured child was flown to hospital back home. “Business aviation from the ground operations perspective has changed. On one hand there are more airport and slot restrictions than ever, but on the other hand it has become easier and more efficient to obtain overflight and landing permits. “The key to a smooth operation is a proper communication flow and state-of-the-art technical equipment to be able to respond to internal and external customers needs at any place and any time.”

Marwan Khalek 1983: Set up an air taxi business with a Beech Baron Today: Group ceo of resulting international operator Gama Aviation.

To actually make a commercial success of a business aviation enterprise is difficult, and involves

setting aside any love of flying in favour of hard-headed business, says Marwan Khalek. “We started with a Beech Baron in the air taxi world, one of a few small operators. Most of the market in those years was moving jockeys around and sponsors for horse races. Then in 1984, at the tail end of the recession, there was a big operator and Beechcraft dealer called Eagle Aircraft Services which was based at Leavesden, that went out of business. That created an opportunity for us to get into the King Air market, which was very different.” In those days operators were much smaller and there were not as many of them, and Khalek thinks it would now be much more difficult to start up a charter business in this way. “It might be possible to do it, but is it a viable business – no. The barriers to entry are a lot, lot harder these days and consume a lot more resources. You can do anything if you plough a lot more money into it, but for somebody to put a business plan together that is sustainable, starting the way that we did – I think that would be very, very difficult.” Reflecting on the current economic crisis, Khalek has a longterm perspective: “Until the early/mid 2000s I would have described this sector of the industry as one that had very tough times or less tough times. I would never have described it as one that would have had ‘good’ times. The period 20042007 was the only real boom time. I think the market has entered into the downturn which has been more savage than previous times, but the industry as a whole has come into it with more fat on it. “That is why business failures are happening three or four years down the line, because the recession is prolonged and the fat has been burnt off. In our case, I am pleased to say that we have a diversified business and we are not as heavily dependent on charter. As a result we have been able to weather it a lot better. “Until about 1988/89 we were predominately what the industry calls an air taxi operator and our emphasis was on buying or leasing aircraft that we sold on the air charter market. That is a very tough business model and one that is very capital expensive with high risks, and the problem is you have a very high fixed cost base. So your ability to cut back in a recession is very limited and makes it much harder. “Fifteen years in, we thought that there must be a better way, and decided consciously to take the business in a couple of directions. One is to get into maintenance, and one is to get into aircraft management and start providing a wider scope of services. “We felt that to get to the next level

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APRIL 2013 13

EUROPEAN BUSINESS AIR NEWS

we needed to get some inward investment into the business, so we took on a private equity investor with a 33 per cent interest in late 2007 that we used to fund the next phase of our growth and development. And really that was to take a core business model that was reasonably diversified which was working successfully in the UK and, first of all build on it and expand it further in the UK and Europe, but also to roll it out and replicate in other parts of the world. “The timing of launching into that – perhaps literally six months or so before Lehmans – was not great, but I don’t regret it at all. If you have been in the business as long as we have, and as long as we would like to be, then there are going to be ups and downs. “We are in the Middle East and we are opening up in Hong Kong and China. We are keeping a very close watching brief on Africa and it is certainly a market we will go into at some stage because we aspire to be a truly total global company and business aviation service provider, but at the moment I think, like everything else, we don’t have unlimited resources and the resources we have are best deployed elsewhere.”

Never be compliant and speak up if not in agreement So does Khalek still fly himself? “Not that you might want to come along with me! Once I started the business I progressed to becoming a commercial pilot and I did fly for a period of time on both the Baron and the King Air. I gave up what I would call serious line flying probably in

NasJet adds Excel in Jeddah

Marwan Khalek took the decision to focus on building a business instead of flying himself.

early 90s. It was getting to the stage where I needed to focus on either flying or on running a business.” In fact, it is the business aspect of business aviation which has provided the personal highlights of his career: “Starting a business, and the rollercoaster ride that you have in the first ten years of running a business, was very exciting. I started the business at age 23 and there was a great spirit in the industry. There was a lot of fun associated with it. It is still enjoyable but it is a different type of enjoyment. There is a lot more responsibility that you feel on your shoulders. “There are lots of people within in this industry that I have a great deal of

respect for, what they have done and what they have achieved and the values they have brought into their business, and to be honest they are too numerous to mention. “At some stage people have to make the transition, from it being a hobby that they want to do to being a serious business. I think one of the lessons I have learned is that there were too many of us pilots, aviators and people who like the business that didn’t make that transition, and what I think that taught me is that I needed to make that transition. Giving up the line flying was perhaps part of that. “I was lucky to be in a business that I liked and I wasn’t doing it

because of the pleasure flying was giving me day to day. It was the pleasure that any business gives you. You have to make that transition. I have seen a many people who sadly have not made that transition and are not here to tell that tale in business terms.” But it is not all hard-headed business; the Beech Baron has returned. “We’ve actually bought it back recently. We sold it mid-90s and it was brought to my attention that it was for sale so we bought it back and we are about to start the restoration project on it. That is a bit of sentiment – what the hell. You’ve got to have a bit of that!” ■

Demand in the Middle East for short range private jets is increasing among business and leisure users looking to fly from city to city, says NasJet. The company has increased its capacity to meet this need by signing a management agreement for an eightseat Citation Excel, based between ‘charter hotspots’ Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. As part of a growing fleet, with 65 managed/flight support aircraft, the aircraft will be offered “at a competitive charter rate” to clients requiring an efficient method of flying short range trips, typically between regional city pairs. “The Excel has the roomiest cabin in its class with stand-up head room and plenty of luggage space. In many cases this aircraft competes directly with business-class commercial airline fares, if the aircraft is fully occupied and the passengers want the flexibility to return the same day,” says charter sales director Khalil Rachidi. “The owner of this aircraft selected NasJet for the depth of international and regional aircraft management experience, which spans 13 years. Most importantly, NasJet was able to demonstrate significant economy-ofscale cost saving benefits on operational items including fuel, insurance, maintenance and crew training,” adds aircraft management director Yosef Hafiz. NasJet is able to provide immediate back-up support services, if at any time the owner’s aircraft is either busy flying or in maintenance.

Twenty-five colourful years in maintenance leaves founder with a taste for more Danish aviation company Air Service Vamdrup ApS turned 25 years old in April. “Time flies, as we say,” says Bent Iversen. In 1988, he founded Air Service Vamdrup ApS having originally trained as an aircraft mechanic in the former Aircraft Service Centre in Vamdrup, where he helped maintain a De Havilland Dove which was used for skydiving. Off duty, he used to parachute from the aircraft himself. In 1988, he decided to establish his own company, and the first customer was the Dove. The company developed steadily forward and gained more customers, including Danish Air Transport with its first Skyvan. “They quickly became a major customer for us, and for several years we had mechanics stationed around the world as well as a small workshop in Copenhagen Airport, Kastrup, to support them,” explains Torben Biehl Jensen, who is the current day-to-day workshop manager at Air Service Vamdrup. “Some 10 years ago, Danish Air Transport decided to establish its own maintenance facility, so at that time we restructured the company and made room for a lot of new customers,” he explains. “Over the years, we have worked a whole lot in the hangars in Vamdrup, but we have also had many exciting experiences all over the world. Since we have an authorisation to carry out line maintenance, we have often packed our tools and spare parts to travel out to help our customers. We have

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visited so many places. Burma, Dubai, Finland, Germany, Portugal, France and Africa to mention a few,” says Iversen. He and Jensen particularly remember one exotic task that took place in the Sahara. “Related to the Paris-Dakar race, a Skyvan had landed in the desert with a team of doctors. Since the ground had been too soft during landing, the nose gear had bent backwards, so we had to do a lot of structural work directly onsite in the desert. For about three weeks we shuttled back and forth from the city to the

desert every day. It was pretty special,” they explain. Jensen has been with Air Service Vamdrup almost for as long as Iversen himself. He was employed in 1989 as the company's first mechanic apprentice, and completed his training in 1992. Today, Iversen still spends his everyday life in the hangars in Vamdrup, employing 25 staff members. “We have had some wonderful, colourful years with many experiences all over the world, and I am not at all ready to stop yet.”

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14 APRIL 2013

EUROPEAN BUSINESS AIR NEWS

AIRCRAFT NEWS... Phenom 300 sets three records Embraer has set three speed records for the light weight class when a Phenom 300 flew from Melbourne, Florida, to Long Beach, California, with only one fuel stop. The complete transcontin-ental time was six hours and 38 minutes at an average ground speed of 330 knots, a course of 1,987 nm.

Bombardier extends 605 warranty Bombardier is to extend the warranty of its Challenger 605 from the current three years or 3,000 hours to five years or 5,000 hours. The new warranty will be standard on all aircraft delivered after April 1 and includes systems and components coverage and APU. Primary structure will remain at ten years or 10,000 hours, while engine remains unchanged at five years or 2,500 hours.

CJ3 production passes 400 Cessna has rolled out the 400th production CJ3 light business jet since its introduction to service nine years ago. The event was marked with a rollout celebration and a photo opportunity for Cessna employees from the CJ3 assembly line.

Nextant Aerospace, maker of the Nextant 400XT, has appointed Peter Walker (pictured) as vp of sales for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. Based in Dubai, he will work with current and prospective customers, plus oversee the development of the international dealer network in that region. Walker is a qualified aerobatic pilot and represented South Africa in the 1997 Advanced World Aerobatic Championships.

46 business aviation airports Major business aviation airports* 1. Barcelona 2. Valencia 3. Malaga 4. Madrid Barajas 5. Palma de Mallorca

Five blades approved for MU-2B

Cessna has rolled out the first production New Citation Sovereign, just five months after announcing the model at the NBAA show. It will have a range of 3,000 nm and features improved cabin cooling, Garmin G5000 avionics with auto throttles, a new cabin management system and winglets. Type certification is expected in the third quarter.

Latest Bell 412 has more power Bell Helicopter has introduced the 412EPI, with the BasiX Pro fully integrated glass flight deck proven on the Bell 429. The new model has PT6T-9 Twin Pac engines delivering 15 per cent more horsepower and improving hot and high performance by as much as 1,410 pounds of payload capacity.

EUROPE MIDDLE EAST RUSSIA AFRICA

Leading fixed-wing charter operators** 1. Gestair Private Jets 2. Executive Airlines 3. TAS Aviacion 4. Flightline S.L. 5. Aeronova

Leading helicopter charter operators**

Owner of BG Helicopters Josep Bigas flies over the Montserrat mountain near Barcelona.

Spain continues to offer a tough climate for business aviation Numbers of business aircraft on the Spanish register has continued to decline since our last review of the country in 2011 – from 711 to 681, and the number of business air charter operators also dipped, from 106 to 92. Fortunes have varied: Back in 2011 we reported that Sur Aviation was heading towards its AOC with two Mustangs, and this was achieved by March the following year. Now the company has a charter fleet of three Mustangs and a Citation CJ2. On the other hand, Eclipse air taxi operation Jet Ready had found trading conditions too onerous and ceased trading by the same time. The top three business charter operators by fleet size remain the same being Gestair, Executive Airlines and TAS Aviacion. As a country, Spain remains stubbornly in economic recession, but this does not mean that there are no opportunities for air charter work. David Macdonald, Air Partner’s director for private jets, reports that the country has many Spanish and expatriate business people living on the mainland and Balearics, so flights emanating from Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, Palma have been a long-term feature of his business. “We also see a lot of inbound leisure and business traffic from northern Europe, the Middle East and Russia, as clients from these areas travel in for the summer,” he adds. Over the past year Air Partner says it has found that the Spanish market has remained relatively static. “We have regularly used Spanish business jet operators for over 20 years and we have always found them to be highly

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1. Inaer Helicopteros 2. Faasa Aviation 3. CoyotAir 4. Sky Helicopteros 5. Hispanica de Aviacion ** ranked by number of aircraft for charter

22

business aircraft maintenance organisations

Leading maintenance companies*** 1. Corjet Maintenance 2. Cessna Citation Valencia Service Center 3. Rosique Aircraft 4. Intercopters 5. Flightline S.L

Leading TRTO training companies*** 1. Inaer 2. Flightline S.L. 3. Zorex Air Transport 4. Aeronova 5. Calima Instruccion *** ranked by number of aircraft types covered

Aeroflota del Noroeste at La Coruña airport reports that its training hours have remained stable during the past year, and that it is now planning to provide international training.

professional – in terms of carrying out short haul and also long long range (transatlantic to North or South America or Caribbean) private jet charters for our clients with a high level of service,” says Macdonald. “Madrid, Barcelona and Seville in particular have been key business destinations for our clients from northern Europe and the USA for many years now. A typical business client travelling to Spain would take anything from a light jet up to a large cabin Challenger or Falcon, depending on how many people are in the party. Leisure travel to Spain by business jet has always been strong; although there was a dip after the 2008 crisis, we are now seeing a slow gradual return of the high net worth leisure traveller chartering for holidays to Malaga, Palma and Ibiza. Ibiza in particular has risen in popularity as an upmarket destination.” Hugues Tourvieille de Labrouhe, general manager of French-based Tea Aviation, says that the most popular

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BCN VLC AGP MAD PMI

92 business charter operators

Falcon 2000S and LXS earn EASA certification The Falcon 2000S and 2000LXS have both received EASA certification, and first deliveries of the former are expected in the second quarter of 2013. The 4,000 nm 2000LXS combines the short field performance of the 2000S with the longer range capabilities of the 2000LX, which it will have replaced by the end of 2013.

LEBL LEVC LEMG LEMD LEPA

* ranked by the number of handler, charter, maintenance, sales and training organisations based at each.

MT-Propeller has received the STC approval for its five-blade scimitar composite propeller on the MU-2B series. Benefits include almost vibration free propeller operations, enhanced take-off distance and climb performance, as well as significant inside and outside noise reductions.

First enhanced Sovereign rolls out

Nextant brings aerobatic pilot on board

Business aviation in Spain by the numbers

SPAIN REGIONAL REVIEW

The 2013/14 Handbook of Business Aviation, Europe, Russia, Middle East and Africa Edition, is published in May, and gives details of many more Spain charter operators. It also lists business aviation facilities and services including airports, FBOs and maintenance centres. The details can be accessed online through a search of aircraft operated or the airport bases. For more information please visit www.handbook.aero

681 business aircraft on EC the Spanish register Data extracted etc etc.

Data extracted from the Handbook of Business Aviation, and the EBAN reader roster.

BG Helicopters offers tailored vip trips.

destinations in Spain are Madrid, Palma and Barcelona, and that clients are not happy with the closure of Torrejon. “It is like Le Bourget closed and we must go to Roissy or Orly!” he complains. Salvador Artigas, manager of Mach Barcelona and BG Helicopters vip service representative, has a positive story to tell. BG Helicopters gained its AOC in recent months and has started passenger operations. It has a King Air B90 and a Eurocopter AS350B. “Aerial work has also grown sensibly as some of our competitors have closed down. We have also created MACH Barcelona, our own travel agency for selling our own tailored vip trips by helicopter,” says Artigas. “Luckily for us, Barcelona is a main hub of businesses, so we have taken a good position for receiving and giving vip services to some of the top businessmen who stay in Barcelona.” The company plans to keep growing in terms of passenger numbers, and to open new bases in Salou-Costa Daurada, Adeje in Tenerife and is now considering a couple more within Spain. ■


EUROPEAN BUSINESS AIR NEWS

APRIL 2013 15

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European Business Air News April 2013