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ISSUE 234

MARCH 2013

NetJets launches card for same day returns

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Marshall group acquires Phenom expert FlairJet

FUEL FEATURE Pages 7- 11

ME & MY AIRCRAFT

Marshall Aerospace’s Steve Jones (right) and FlairJet founder David Fletcher celebrate Marshall’s acquisition of the Oxfordbased Phenom operator. FlairJet will initially operate alongside Marshall Executive Aviation, which has a Citation XLS, Bravo and Challenger 300 charter fleet, but the two will consolidate under one AOC in due course. See full story on page 2.

Andersen takes hold of the reins at Uni-Fly Stepping in to the role of managing director at Danish aviation company Uni-Fly is Jørgen E Andersen, following the resignation of the company’s owner. Bjarne Petersen was in charge at Uni-Fly from its inception 43 years ago and his son Frank is taking up the post of technical director. “I have co-operated quite a lot with Uni-Fly over the years so I know the company well,” Andersen explains. “The company has a very good reputation in the industry and huge expertise when it comes to special helicopter operations, so there is, without doubt, huge potential in further developing the company in these areas, in Denmark and surrounding countries.” During a long career in aviation, Andersen has worked for the Danish Air Force, as an airport manager

New md Andersen already knows Uni-Fly well.

and helped develop a helicopter company in Greenland. Most recently he spent 13 years at Air Greenland where he was responsible for daily traffic, including collective bargaining and day-to-day operation and

The MOST Points.

management of the company. In 2010, Uni-Fly widened its business scope to include aircraft maintenance for external customers and, in 2011, was appointed an authorised Piper service centre.

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NetJets Europe has launched a Private Jet Card product for prospective customers wishing to carry out return flights within the same calendar day, using its Citation Bravo aircraft. The Return Flight Card will be available to customers on light cabin aircraft and will benefit those flying on routes starting and ending in the same city. Starting at €116,000 for 25 hours of flight time over a 24-month period, the new product will enable customers to fly a same day return journey – consisting of two or more flight legs. Marine Eugene, sales director, says: “We know there is a strong demand in the market for same day return flights, so we decided to create this competitively priced product in response to customer feedback. As the leader in the industry we are committed to keeping our proposition flexible and costefficient; this is why it makes sense to trial this card.” Customers who make regular return trips from cities such as Paris, London, Geneva and Munich can benefit from a 15 per cent reduction in price in comparison to NetJets Europe’s 25-hour Private Jet Card. “The new card is likely to suit customers in the finance and insurance industries as well as real estate, construction and manufacturing. It is not limited to these customers of course, but our flight analysis has shown that the majority of return journeys carried out over a 24-hour period are conducted by customers operating in these industries,” adds Eugene.

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“Our maintenance facility for external customers is a relatively new addition to the company that we have built up over the last couple of years. “Both business areas, helicopter operation and maintenance, are managed by some of the best people in the industry in this country, so the potential and the development possibilities are enormous,” Andersen says. “In total, I have lived approximately half of my life in Greenland, and over the last few years I did think a lot about returning to Denmark. So the job at Uni-Fly definitely was an opportunity to return home,” he concludes. Uni-Fly co-operates with companies such as Energinet, Dong, Vattenfall, Siemens, Vestas and Falck concerning a variety of helicopter operation tasks.

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2 MARCH 2013

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EUROPEAN BUSINESS AIR NEWS

Marshall values operational experience of acquired Phenom expert FlairJet Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group has acquired the share capital of FlairJet, the Oxford-based aircraft management and charter company. FlairJet has become part of the group’s newly formed aviation services business unit and will continue to be led by md and founder David Fletcher. It will operate alongside Cambridge airport-based Marshall Executive Aviation, but its Phenom 100 aircraft will remain based at Oxford. Initially both company names are to be retained, although they will be brought together under one AOC and Fletcher also takes on the role of md at MEA. “FlairJet has great people and experience with aircraft management, and its efficiency is higher than MEA in terms of aircraft optimisation,” says Steve Jones, md aviation

services at Marshall. “MEA has hard assets, and the backing of a £1b group and history.” FlairJet brings a solid relationship with Embraer to the mix. As launch operator for the Phenom 100 and 300, the company pioneered Phenom operations in Europe and has managed the acceptance and delivery of a total of 22 Embraer business jets to date. Commenting on the acquisition Fletcher says: “We are excited to be joining one of the most respected and largest privately owned aviation groups in Europe. FlairJet has strong entrepreneurial spirit and customer service values and I believe this to be the perfect platform to support FlairJet’s ambitious plans for growth.” The combined operation has set itself a target of having a ten aircraft fleet within a year.

Dusseldorf fleet is poised for cooperation German Private Jet Group is expecting to add two Citation family jets to its management fleet during this spring. The company offers ad-hoc charter, membership cards and, now, fractional ownership. “We received our AOC in December 2011 and at present we do have Citation jets on this,” says chief commercial officer Stefanie Schneider. “During last summer we also operated a Citation 525B, which was temporarily loaned to us by another operator.” The fractional ownership programme is organised within the company. It offers a group membership to owners, in terms of management or fractional ownership, and to clients in the form of annual membership to profit from special offers or in an hourly programme. “And finally, we also offer group membership to other operators in three different categories which include sales cooperation, centralised purchasing, operations cooperation and other services.

An unprecedented 20,000km ocean-to-ocean charity flight from the coast of Russia to South Africa in an Antonov An-2 biplane, supported by the ExecuJet Aviation Group, reached the end of its journey in Lanseria in February. The aircraft, donated by Russian airline UTair and known as ‘Anoushka’, or ‘Little Annie’, will be based full-time in Africa to carry out charitable projects. Crew Tracey Curtis-Taylor, co-pilot Sergey Dmitrenko and captain Sergey Bykov are pictured with ExecuJet handling staff at Lanseria International airport at the end of their journey from Cape Kamenniy, Russia, across snow-bound Europe, past Gibraltar, over the Sahara Desert and down. Previously used for cargo operations in Russia, the An-2 will take on an entirely new role under the ‘Just Love’ banner. It will be based at Lanseria and carry out charitable work supporting humanitarian causes in southern Africa.

ExecuJet Europe puts the UK at the centre of global operations In a bid to capitalise on the infrastructure it has been implementing over the last year, ExecuJet Europe is relocating most of its Zurich accounting and IT teams to Cambridge airport. The company transferred its aircraft operations department to Cambridge in 2012 and has also relocated its global operations centre to the airport. Among other developments at ExecuJet is the addition of a range of aircraft to its European managed fleet including a BBJ based in Kiev, a Gulfstream G550 based in Luton and a Dassault Falcon 7X based in Moscow. Other aircraft due to join the fleet soon include several Gulfstream G550s and G650s, an additional Dassault Falcon 7X and a Bombardier Global Express. Meanwhile, Gerrit Basson has been appointed managing director of

ExecuJet Europe. He takes this role in addition to his responsibilities as group ceo, succeeding Cedric Migeon. Basson says: “I am delighted to be leading ExecuJet Europe as economic confidence in the region continues to recover. Cedric has done a superb job for the past four years and has been a great asset. After instituting various important changes, this is a natural point for Cedric to develop his career further outside the group and we wish him continued success.” Of the company’s increased presence in the UK, Basson adds: “Transferring the additional functions of accounting and IT to Cambridge makes strategic sense now that our global operations centre is based there. We have been very pleased with our UK operations, which have performed excellently over the past 12 months.”

Basson: leading ExecuJet in Europe.


MARCH 2013 3

EUROPEAN BUSINESS AIR NEWS

EA Aerospace voices optimism about relaunched Eclipse air taxi project Turkish company EA Aerospace is making its first moves towards establishing an air taxi network across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, provided by a fleet of Eclipse jets. “I have held the view for many years now that the Eclipse is the perfect aircraft for the air taxi market,” says Ekim Alptekin, president and Eclipse shareholder. Despite the collapse of Eclipse Aviation in 2008, an event that halted his plans to launch air taxi company Myjet Aviation, Alptekin is determined to make the Eclipse a serious player. “We had orders for 120 Eclipse 500s but only one was delivered before the

manufacturer went bankrupt,” explains Alptekin. “Although I lost a lot of money, I never lost faith in the product. I decided to become a shareholder and board member in the new company so I could help bring the product back to market and establish a global support network for the aircraft.” Initial concept flights for the air taxi service are taking place with Alptekin’s Eclipse 500 and a Total Eclipse, an upgraded version of the 500. Production is now under way for the Eclipse 550, based on the 500 with modifications such as enhanced microprocessors in the avionics

DEA orders low reflectivity DA42 UK-based operator Diamond Executive Aviation has purchased a third DA42 MPP aircraft, due to be operational in February. “The new MPP is a low conspicuity version painted in low reflectivity paint, with low infra red signature design and special over the wing silencers to reduce noise and heat signatures further,” says ceo Peter Bondar.

Caravan pilot Liezel Lotts also works in the Flightlink operations department.

Flightlink kits out 560 for Tanzanian medevac duties

Flightlink’s 560 with AeroSled stretcher.

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cabin and the largest baggage compartment in its class, we have no doubt that the Phenom 300 will be one of the most popular aircraft among our business and leisure clients.” Captains Stefan Pedersen and Ian Austin flew the Phenom 300 on its delivery flight between Brazil and London. Captain Pedersen says: “We flew the aircraft back over a three-day period, routing via the Caribbean, the US and Keflavik. Thanks to the fast cruising speed and low cabin altitude, it is one of the smoothest, most comfortable and best looking jets around.”

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London Executive Aviation has expanded its fleet with the addition of its first Embraer Phenom 300. The aircraft, which can seat up to seven passengers and will be based at Luton airport, is the only Phenom 300 currently available for charter in the UK and brings the total number of aircraft in the LEA fleet to 29. Patrick Margetson-Rushmore, chief executive, says: “The Phenom 300 has been widely lauded since entering the market in 2009 and it now adds further quality and diversity to our ever expanding fleet. “With its spacious, comfortable

Business aviation in FAI rent-a-jet directors Volker Lemke, Andrea Dippacher, Nico Lange and Martin Mühlmeyer now reckon to have the largest Learjet fleet in Europe.

an

Phenom 300 joins the roster at London Executive

IN OUR NEXT ISSUE

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Inc to install wiring for LifePort’s air ambulance kit. It is also fitted with TCAS II, EGPWS and enhanced Mode S transponders. The Citation’s interior is engineered to meet the requirements of any medical mission including an advanced life support base unit, manual load system and AeroSled stretcher. Flightlink has bases in Dar Es Salaam and Arusha and is planning to further extend its reach by bringing in an Excel or Sovereign in the next 12 months.

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Looking to develop comprehensive aeromedical services for Tanzania and beyond, charter operator Flightlink has introduced a retrofitted Citation 560 to provide vip and medevac charter. Fitted with an air ambulance kit, the Citation provides 24-hour emergency medevac and repatriation services to those living, working or travelling in Tanzania and neighbouring countries. Since its introduction last month, the aircraft has already flown missions to Bulgaria, India and Kenya. Flightlink also expects demand from corporate and vip customers: “It is a solid, reliable private jet that can fly anywhere, a mid-sized jet that can go at the cost of light jet travel,” says chairman Munawer Dhirani. “With a high performance speed of 850kph, it is spacious and can accommodate up to eight passengers with ease.” Citation Service Centre in Wichita retrofitted the jet with AdViz glass cockpit and teamed up with LifePort

TAG takes delivery of first Swiss Nextant The first Nextant 400XT purchased by a Swiss customer (see EBAN February) is going to be operated by TAG Aviation. “It is an ideal aircraft for many customers in Europe,” says TAG Aviation ceo Robert Wells. “The aircraft delivers excellent value and very attractive cabin comfort, speed and range. As an operator, we also appreciate the improvements that the Nextant represents, which are expected to enhance dispatch reliability and lower maintenance costs.” “We are proud to have the Nextant 400XT chosen by TAG Aviation as the latest addition to its fleet,” says Jay Heublein, Nextant vp sales and marketing. “For over three decades TAG Aviation has been a global leader in the business aircraft industry and its recognises the importance of value, comfort, speed and range to its clients. It is an honour to be affiliated with the brand and the quality of service its delivers.”

Larger facilities and fleet boost FAI’s appeal German operator FAI rent-a-jet has begun the year with optimism, reporting increased revenue, an expanding fleet and growing infrastructure. The company’s first Falcon 7X and a third Global Express have joined the charter fleet and will be operated under management for the owner. These follow a fifth Learjet 60 that was added in December and bring the inventory to 22, of which 15 are FAI-owned. By the end of 2013, the company expects to have expanded its FBO facilities at Nuremberg International airport with another 3,000 sq m hangar, in a bid to make the company more attractive for aircraft owners looking for professional turnkey management including in-house maintenance. Revenues for 2012 revealed an increase in operational performance of 10 per cent against 2011 and, for 2013, FAI is expecting to see an increase in revenues in the region of €70m. The company has line stations in Afghanistan, Sudan, Ivory Coast and Senegal.

systems, auto throttles and synthetic vision, with delivery expected toward the end of this year. “Two aircraft will be based in Ankara and three in Istanbul and will serve the markets in and around Turkey, where there is huge demand for affordable, flexible transportation – the Eclipse ticks all the boxes,” says Alptekin. Despite there being only around 25 Eclipse 500s in use around Europe, and the need to reinvigorate its reputation, Alptekin is optimistic about the likelihood of success: “We are going to finally prove the air taxi concept with the Eclipse.”

For further information, please contact Biggin Hill Executive Handling: call:

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CLOSE TO THE HEART OF LONDON


4 MARCH 2013

EUROPEAN BUSINESS AIR NEWS

S-92 equipped with night vision goggles for UK SAR service

Publisher and editor: .......... David Wright Sub editor: ........................ Kate Woods Designer: .............................. Chris Carr Advertising manager: .......... Mark Ranger Subscriptions: ................ Janet Edwards Administrator: ...................... Hilary Tyler

European Business Air News, 134 South Street, Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, CM23 3BQ England. Telephone: +44 1279 714505 Fax: +44 1279 714519 email: david@ebanmagazine.com www.ebanmagazine.com European Business Air News (USPS 009091) is published eleven times each year, monthly except January, by Stansted News Limited, 134 South Street, Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire CM23 3BQ, England. Periodicals postage paid at Rahway, N.J. Postmaster: Send address changes to Stansted News Limited c/o Mercury Airfreight International Ltd., 365 Blair Road, Avenel, New Jersey 07001. Company registered in England no. 2224522. Printed by Stones. ISSN number: 0959-1311. EBAN is available by postal subscription for eleven issues. Simply send your credit card details and authority for UK£40 within Europe (UK£70 outside Europe) to our subscriptions department, or call +44 (0)1279 714505. EBAN is sent without charge to qualifying business aviation professionals. Please visit the EBAN web site to apply. The opinions expressed by authors and contributors to European Business Air News are not necessarily those of the editors or publisher. Articles appearing in European Business Air News may not be reproduced in whole or part without the express permission of the publisher. European Business Air News is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or artwork.

Handing over a Bell 429 to officials from Nigeria Police Air Wing are Bell Helicopter regional sales manager Arnie Easterly and Africair Inc vp Robert Prentice.

Africa’s first 429s to aid Nigerian law enforcement and disaster relief Bell Helicopter has made deliveries of its 429 aircraft to the African continent for the first time. The Nigeria Police Air Wing has received one which will be used for general law enforcement and surveillance, while another delivered to the Nigeria Emergency Management Agency will provide disaster relief and fly humanitarian support missions. “Our Nigerian customers are thrilled to be the first Bell 429 operators in Africa. The Bell 429 is the

most technologically advanced and capable light twin helicopter in the marketplace and will serve them well for many years to come,” says Robert Prentice, vp for aircraft sales at Africair Inc, Bell Helicopter independent representative in Africa. “They are particularly impressed with Bell Helicopter’s reputation for exceptional product support.” NPAW is a long-standing Bell Helicopter customer, having operated several models including

the 47, 206, 427 and 412. Both organisations formally accepted their aircraft at Piney Flats, Tennessee, at Bell Helicopter’s customising facility. A large cabin and state-ofthe-art avionics are said to have been instrumental in the agencies’ choice of aircraft, coupled with a smooth and fast ride, and Bell Helicopter’s EASA-approved maintenance programme will offer an attractive level of post-delivery support and service.

DragonFly casts its net for more aircraft DragonFly staff are delighted that operations manager Tracy Evans is about to return to work after a kidney transplant carried out in January. The welcome success of the operation was especially poignant in that Evans, despite being in need of a transplant herself, has despatched and managed a considerable number of organ transplant flights, and so was able to directly help many others to receive life-saving transplants while waiting for one herself. Meanwhile ceo Howard Palser reports that DragonFly itself is also in good health, and has benefited from strong growth in the turboprop sector of the charter market. Last year was a record year for the company both in terms of turnover and charter hours flown, and saw total charter hours flown pass the 5,000 hours mark since

Tracy Evans is about to resume her role as operations manager.

the company was formed in 2004. DragonFly has been restructured as a limited liability company in place of its former structure as a limited

liability partnership in order to facilitate future expansion, and it secured a line of finance to fund its growth. It is now pursuing a policy of development of its core turboprop services that broadly encompasses corporate clients, high net wealth individuals, celebrities and sporting personalities and organ transplant support, as well as seeking to acquire additional types of aircraft. The company owns two Beech King Air turboprops which are operated on a genuine multi-crew basis under the AOC of Executive Aviation Services. Until recently DragonFly managed and operated a third King Air 200 but this has recently been sold by its celebrity owner and the company is actively seeking a replacement aircraft to satisfy

demand for the company’s services. Palser is delighted to have his operations team back up to strength: “Although few were aware of the fact, Tracy, although only in her 20s, has suffered from chronic kidney disease which was progressive and which for sometime required her to carry out self-dialysis in the office three times each day. Despite this, Tracy performed her duties without ever complaining or indeed anyone becoming aware of her problem. “Despite the absence of such a key individual, DragonFly has been able to maintain its full 24/7 charter response and I would like to express my thanks to the other members of the team for their assistance in enabling the company to continue to provide a seamless service to our clients.”

The first of four Sikorsky S-92 helicopters that will service the UK Gap SAR (search and rescue) contract later this year is currently stationed at Inverness as part of a training programme, while the second was air freighted into Prestwick and ferried to Aberdeen shortly after. “For the first time in European civil aviation, a large multi-engine helicopter will be able to be flown under night-vision goggle technology,” says Gap SAR project manager Ian Middleton. “The Department for Transport and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency contracted Bristow to provide SAR helicopters that can operate in northern Scotland in all weather conditions, day and night. Our helicopters are entering a completely new theatre of operations using this technology.” The latest-generation image intensifier tubes used in NVG are difficult to obtain and required an export license agreement with the US State Department. Also onboard is an L3 Wescam MX-15iHD FLIR/TV camera turret that provides infrared search capability and a high-definition video camera in a fully stabilised and moveable turret beneath the nose. Other SAR-related features on the S-92 include: Honeywell Skyforce Observer 2000 mapping system in the rear crew mission station; multiple communications systems including high frequency, VHF AM/FM radio, UHF radio, satellite communications, satellite tracking of the helicopter, marine vessel transponder, secure communications capabilities and wireless intercoms; multiple casualtystretcher arrangement in the cabin; and dual Goodrich rescue hoist installation. The contract start is scheduled for June, with the transition of the Sumburgh base from the present contractor to Bristow. The transition of the second base, Stornoway, will take place in July. Two S-92s will be stationed at each base. In January, the Financial Times reported that the contest to run the UK’s SAR helicopter services for at least 10 years has been reduced to a race between two operators, Bond Offshore Helicopters and Bristow, after the government announced that CHC would not be asked to submit final tenders.

VVB expands facilities with new Elstree base Renovation is in under way at London’s Elstree aerodrome on a helicopter FBO, 12,000 sq ft hangar site and training and charter facilities for VVB Aviation. The aerodrome is under new management and offers a 10-minute flight time to London Heliport and easy access to the M1 and M25. VVB Aviation carried out more than 2,000 flight hours during 2012, making a move from its London Southend airport base a necessity. Work on the project was a little delayed with the snow in January, however, managing pilot Ian Lunt reports that things are getting back on track. “We are all keen to push the project forward as quickly as possible and, as the aviation company is a sister company of a large UK construction/infrastructure organisation, we have the men, skills and tools available to develop the site by

ourselves, negating the need for expensive third-party work, so we hope to be able to offer an excellent yet cost-effective operation for the start of the summer season.” Lunt adds: “We are keen to hear from any helicopter owners who consider our Elstree operation a viable option to other aerodrome sites around the M25, and we are actively seeking initial enquiries for helicopter hangarage, as we believe our price structure will better any that is currently on offer around the London area.” With refurbishment due for completion soon, VVB has already been actively marketing the site and developing initial enquiries from a wide scope of operations including Sikorsky 76 and AW139 operators. The company offers flight training, hangarage, private and corporate charter and daily parking.

VVB Aviation is planning facilities at Elstree similar to those it has at Southend.


MARCH 2013 5

EUROPEAN BUSINESS AIR NEWS

Titan marks 25th year with management buyout This spring, London Stansted-based vip charter company Titan Airways will be celebrating its 25th anniversary by becoming a wholly independent company following a management buyout. Managing director and founder Gene Willson has acquired the business outright from 3i that has been a minority shareholder and private equity backer for the past 20 years. Willson aims to further expand the airline as an industry leader in the vip, corporate travel, sub-charter and aircraft leasing sectors. “We are extremely pleased to achieve this milestone in such a significant year – our 25th birthday,” says Willson. “3i has been a very supportive partner but completing the purchase of its shares provides us with full control of our long-term development plans for the airline. The additional shareholding also gives us the flexibility for further business opportunities.” Established in 1998, Titan Airways says it has an enviable record of profitability, growing by an average £300,000 year on year. In the last 12 years, despite the challenges seen in the aviation sector, profits have grown from £1.8m in 2004 to £7.6 million in 2012. Founded 25 years ago as a twoman operation with a single Cessna 404 Titan, the company now has 250 staff and a fleet of 12 aircraft, ranging from a six-seat Citation CJ2+ to a 265-seat Boeing 767-300. The next addition will be an Airbus A320-233 which will begin revenue service from May 1. It marks the first step in Titan’s long-term strategy which aims to introduce more

Founder Gene Willson is taking control at Titan.

modern, economical and environmentally friendly aircraft to the fleet. Alastair Kiernan, commercial director, explains: “All the aircraft in the A320 family, which comprises the A318, A319, A320 and A321, are economical to operate, with lower fuel burn and lower carbon emissions. Plus, many of the components and systems are interchangeable so maintenance costs can be reduced even when operating more than one type of aircraft. In addition, all the aircraft in the A320

line are equipped with the same cabin/flight deck management system, so crew are able to switch between aircraft types and savings can be made with regard to training.” Titan anticipates strong demand for the new aircraft from other airlines for wet/damp lease and airline sub charter. In addition, it will be available for ad-hoc charter and tour operator charter work. The aircraft will be delivered fully refitted with 168 all-leather seats offering a minimum 31 inch seat

pitch. Half of the aircraft will be configured with variable geometry seats which can be converted at the touch of a button from six seats abreast to four seats abreast with a drop down central table. Kiernan comments: “We have the same variable geometry seats on our Boeing 757 aircraft and the versatility of seating configurations has been a real hit with customers. The aircraft will also be equipped with drop-down inflight entertainment screens at approximately three row intervals.”

FairJets’ CL300 make over is complete German charter operator FairJets has taken delivery of a fully refurbished Challenger 300 that also underwent a 96-month maintenance inspection by Flying Colours Corp in Peterborough, Ontario, and sister company JetCorp Tech at St Louis, Missouri. Maintenance work on the aircraft, now back in the fleet and available for charter, began in September last year and included new exterior paint and interior refurbishment. This project marks the second aircraft that Flying Colours Corp has worked on for FairJets and the two companies are currently exploring a number of future projects. FairJets md Dr Dirk Bruse says: “We are pleased to have taken delivery of the Challenger 300. Flying Colours Corp has completed a first class job, on time and on budget and we will continue to work with it to support the needs of our growing fleet.” Founded in 2008 by Dr Dirk Bruse and Joachim Krüger, FairJets continues to grow steadily, with 13 managed aircraft in its portfolio, the latest addition being a Global Express. Based at the heart of the German Mittelstand in Paderborn, FairJets plans to offer worldwide maintenance services from April 2013, alongside its current offerings of aircraft management, consulting services, charter flights and flight planning services.

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EUROPEAN BUSINESS AIR NEWS

Fuel review

MARCH 2013 7

Annual tenders, shopping around and planning are key to cutting fuel costs

After the cost of the aircraft itself, fuel is likely to be the single largest expense of any business aviation operator. So using every opportunity to buy at a cheaper price, or to use less, is vitally important at a time when the industry is under stress. Unfortunately it is also a highly complex marketplace, with different suppliers, agents, regulations, taxation and availability in different countries around Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In this feature we asked operators and providers to give us the benefit of their experiences. There is one European business jet operator that has gone to greater lengths than any other to minimise its fuel bill, and which expects to be able to share its success with other operators across the continent in the future. PrivatAir set up a specialist fuel reselling operation of its own in 2011, under the name PrivatJetFuel. This buys the great majority of the fuel for the company’s own charter operations, but that is not the reason for its development; it is intended to be a profitable service delivering lower fuel prices to third-party operators as well. Effectively buying fuel on behalf of a great many business aircraft operators will provide it with the negotiating strength to make sure of the best deals. PrivatAir previously used a variety of fuel card providers: “In fact, we still do,” says vp business aviation Christian Hatje, “as we want to take advantage of all possible opportunities to achieve the best price. But more and more often we find that we use PrivatJetFuel.” PrivatJetFuel is fully owned by PrivatAir, but operates in conjunction with Jet Fleet International which provided the software to make the customer interface and booking system work. JFI for its part channels its fuel enquiries through PrivateJetFuel, but also offers its clients insurance packages. The role of fuel reseller is not one that Hatje has taken on lightly, but he feels well qualified: “As an operator we understand that low prices, transparency and simple administration are very important,” he says. “There is no entrance fee for operators wanting to buy fuel

through us, and no monthly charges. It is a non-exclusive arrangement, so operators are free to take advantage of cheaper deals whenever they find them. It is important that they can still shop around.” Users of the PrivatJetFuel service can log in to the web site, select an airport and see different suppliers and their prices, adjusted according to the size of the uplift. The gallon price and all fees are combined to provide a simple price comparison. Hatje says that there are now more than 1,200 aircraft using the system, mostly in North America. “It is an easier market to enter in the US,” he says, “as there is only one set of tax regulations to deal with.” He expects to be offering European operators access to the system soon: “We are not quite at the level we would like to be on competitiveness, and it is more complicated. For example, there are 30 different suppliers in Turkey alone.” The idea of combining buying power and sharing administration for the benefit of PrivatAir and its charter operating peers is not new. The company was the initial driving force behind the AirClub grouping (as featured on EBAN’s front cover last

Christian Hatje will now offer the PrivatJetFuel service in Europe.

month). Hatje believes that collaborating groups of operators can benefit from economies of scale, while still staying close to their individual customers in a way that is more difficult for operators with global aspirations. “Soon AirClub will have a public web site where customers can confirm prices and availability for charter services and make a direct booking there and then.” PrivatJetFuel does not rule out entering the fuel hedging business at some point in the future, but for the time being is concentrating on building up its purchased volumes. “Eventually the big fuel companies

To surcharge or not, that is the question With fuel prices fluctuating daily and varying from location to location, providing an accurate charter quote may seem a challenge. But how much does the actual cost of fuel on the day actually impact charter profitability? For many of our respondents, quotes tend to be sought fairly close to the trip and, as fuel prices are unlikely to vary wildly, the operator will absorb any increase. For quotations made further in advance, however, some operators protect themselves against fuel price increases with a surcharge written into their terms. At Fly Comlux, Christophe Lapierre says: “Fuel prices are updated on a monthly basis, and most bookings are made less than one month prior to performing the flight. We do not factor the fuel price for each quotation, the process is too complex to be integrated with our current quotation software.” Gama Aviation and ABS Jets both report that they guarantee the charter price quoted, while

Bernhard Fragner of GlobeAir says: “We would absorb the gap caused by the fuel price increase, however, on a weekly update cycle we expect not to run very often into this issue.” Amira Air GmbH also finds it rarely needs to add a surcharge for increased fuel prices as price developments are taken into account when providing a quote and trips are not booked that far in advance. At AirGO Flugservice Daniela Flierl says that hourly rates reflect the actual fuel price which is adjusted according to changes. “For short-term contracts we give a fixed price while for long-term contracts we adjust the hourly rate according to fuel price changes of more than five per cent,” she says. “During 2012 we managed to avoid raising the price due to negotiations of fuel contracts. Occasionally for flights to airports with extremely high fuel prices and the need to take a lot of fuel we make an adjustment.” Once Twinjet has agreed a price

with the customer, it does not add a surcharge. Ops director Philip Moore says: “We tailor our quotes to each specific customer and, although the fuel price does get updated in air ops’ generic price, we tender for fuel quotes per trip and choose the most favourable one on the day.” DragonFly generally assumes a certain fuel cost per hour in quoting charter prices but will consider adding a supplement where the destination airport is notorious for expensive fuel. “On occasions when charters are booked to take place several months ahead, the company contractually reserves the right to review quotes prior to flight in case fuel or FBO prices have materially increased,” says Howard Palser. Rizon Group Holdings Qatar agrees on a rate prior to departure, so avoiding late fuel rate fluctuations. Chris Eden says: “Charter rates will be adjusted for large fuel price differentials but this generally only ever occurs in remote destinations and is therefore easily captured.”

will be coming to us,” predicts Hatje. Some operators choose fuel suppliers after a tendering process. At Fly Comlux, post-holder ground ops Daniele Travaglia says: “We have a pool of fuel suppliers selected each year based on the fuel tender. We are aware that a single fuel supplier cannot be competitive worldwide and that is why we select them region by region, airport by airport. “During our tender we establish credit rates for more than 300 airports, securing a good deal for the upcoming 12 months. Despite this, we still use fuel card schemes for non-contracted locations, US destinations and backup solutions. We make sure that our passengers will not be affected for any refuelling problem at departure and consequently we even ask for a fuel release, to be on the safe side.” When it comes to cutting fuel costs, various options are open to the operator, including tankering competitively priced fuel, reducing empty legs and making flights plans as costeffective as possible. Fly Comlux commercial vp Christophe Lapierre says: “Flight safety is always first priority versus fuel tankering; the captain has full authority for a final decision upon weather conditions and aircraft performances. Nevertheless, the crews do tanker subject to the aircraft type; sometimes carrying extra weight affects the fuel burn and is not convenient.” Travaglia adds: “The commercial team is always looking into the cheapest location. For each airport, we have fuel price and fuel index. Fuel index is the best way to compare fuel prices between airports. Historically, we fixed ‘Index 100’ for Luton; airports below 100 are cheaper and airports above are more expensive.” Although it is a company goal to save fuel, Travaglia stresses that there is no compromise on passenger Continued on next page

Locked-in prices could benefit the smaller fleet Some organisations offer operators locked-in prices on fuel for periods up to 12 months, referred to as fuel hedging, a strategy often used by airlines in times of price volatility. However, one UK-based company believes hedging is a viable option for those with less substantial fleets. Portland Fuel Price Protection offers operators the ability to hold their prices, even when oil prices rise, a service primarily directed at operators using vast quantities of fuel. However, the ongoing volatility in pricing could make it attractive to small and medium sized operators. Protection is provided by locking in forward prices on the wholesale oil markets and providing customers with ‘insurance’ against that price moving up. The customer still buys fuel from its usual suppliers, be that via fuel card or bulk deliveries to their tanks. Founder James Spencer says: “There is nothing new in the concept of providing protection against rising prices. Large users of fuel have always used the mechanism to help set budgets. However, this is the first time that such a service has been offered to small and medium sized businesses consuming more modest amounts of fuel and we are currently experiencing record levels of fuel demand – mostly from China and India – putting significant pressure on oil prices.” The most common question to Portland on hedging is: “How do you know how much volume has been lifted?” Spencer says the answer is simple: “We don’t need to know. The operator nominates in advance what volume is to be protected and that becomes the basis of the contract. If protection is taken out on 20,000 litres of Jet A1, that is the volume protected and if (for example) the wholesale price of Jet A1 rises by two pence per litre, then Portland pays out 2ppl x 20,000 litres. Portland does not need to know the exact cost the operator paid for fuel as the contract is based on the published UK wholesale price* and if that goes up, Portland pays. This can be replicated for fuel purchased anywhere in the world.” * Platts – the price upon which every litre of Jet A1 sold in the UK is based.

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8 MARCH 2013

AIRCRAFT NEWS...

Fuelling in Russia now presents few challenges

TV designer to personalise PC-12s

Russian Helicopters begins firefighting initiative

The Bournemouth-based distributor for the Pilatus PC-12 has arranged for designer and star of Channel 4 television’s Four Rooms programme Celia Sawyer (pictured) to provide an interior design service for owners of new or pre-owned aircraft. The UK Pilatus Centre has sold 40 new PC-12s to date, and says that Sawyer’s services through her influential Knightsbridge interior design company cool10 will offer a personalised service for customers in the UK, Channel Islands and Spain as an additional option.

Russian Helicopters has launched the Global Helicopter Firefighting Initiative (GHFI) to increase the use of firefighting helicopters specially equipped with the suspended firefighting systems, water cannons and other equipment. The initiative will involve makers of fire-fighting systems and equipment for helicopters producing innovative technologies to improve helicopter-based firefighting systems. Russian Helicopters plans to involve its own design bureaux in the search for new engineering solutions in the field.

Israel certifies Bell 429 The Bell 429 has earned Civil Aviation Authority of Israel type acceptance to operate in Israel, as well as approval to fly at an increased maximum gross weight of 7,500 lbs which will allow customers to take full advantage of the aircraft’s capabilities.

Piper introduces G1000 in Seneca V Piper is including G1000 software supporting a three display avionics suite as standard equipment in new Seneca V aircraft. It replaces the dual Garmin G600 suite. The system includes dual GIA63W NAV/COM/GPS, S-TEC 55X autopilot with altitude preselect, AHRS, ADC, dual IFR enroute/approach and WAAS certified GPS, EIS, Garmin FliteCharts, SafeTaxi, GMA1347 audio panel, GTX 33 Mode S transponder, traffic information systems and Aspen Standby System.

EC175 begins world tour The EC175 has embarked on an international demonstration tour starting around the US and at the Heli-Expo convention in Las Vegas. Follow-on segments of the tour are planned later this year. The helicopter’s range provides the reach needed by off-shore service providers and other operators, transporting 16 passengers in an oil and gasconfigured EC175 to distances of 140nm, with the range approaching 200nm when 12 passengers are carried.

Beechcraft emerges from Chapter 11 Beechcraft, formerly Hawker Beechcraft, has formally emerged from the Chapter 11 process as a new company with products in the business aviation, special mission, trainer and light attack markets. Beechcraft’s product portfolio includes the King Air family of the 350i, 250 and C90GTx, as well as the Baron G58 twin. The company’s global customer support team and its factoryowned service centre network will continue supporting all Hawker and Beechcraft products.

Embraer flies second Legacy 500 Embraer has added a second Legacy 500 to its flight test and certification program. The type has chalked up more than 44 hours in 23 flights since first flight on November 27. In late January, the aircraft performed a series of natural stalls with expected results. The second prototype will be dedicated primarily to aircraft systems development and certification, and entry into customer service is expected 2014.

Gulfstream G280 certified in Europe Gulfstream’s G280 has received type certification EASA, paving the way for European registration. The manufacturer says it is the only super mid-sized jet that can reliably fly non-stop from London to New York.

Marshall Business Aviation Technical support at London Luton Airport

Generally, the situation with fuel in the Russian Federation has improved over the last 10-15 years, there are almost no issues with fuel shortage and fuel quality is up to standard. Some difficulties in the small regional airports may be encountered where fuelling trucks and equipment are quite old – if something breaks down you’ll have to wait until it is repaired as there is nothing to substitute it with. It may be useful to have time in reserve and not rely on a very quick turnaround. During winter periods, anti-ice additives are mixed to the kerosene, so if you want jet fuel without them, advise the fuelling company or your local agent in advance. You should also be aware that the price of these additives is rarely included in the fuel price even if it comes as ‘all inclusive price’. Regulations may vary upon location. In terms of fuel there is no difference in Russia between commercial and private flights, thus fuel prices won’t be subject to any additional taxes if you operate without an AOC. What is worth

Continued from previous page

safety or comfort. “Flight crews fly the aircraft gently selecting the proper flight levels, and dispatchers provide all the necessary weather and flight plan information, pre-advising the pilots about weather hazards and possible turbulence areas. Flight crew monitors the fuel during the different flight phases and they coordinate with air traffic control for better routes for the best fuel consumption as well.” Gama Aviation also tenders its worldwide fuel on an annual basis, reveals fuel manager Penny Mullin. It gives a comprehensive list of airports and suppliers at each to crews on a monthly basis, also showing a percentage rate at each location so that crews can make informed decisions on tankering fuel. These companies report keeping purchasing options open by arranging credit deals directly with the fuel providers as well as taking advantage of fuel card schemes. Overall, it seems that fuel cards come into their own for ad-hoc flights or unknown destinations. Gama Aviation has credit agreements in place with all of its fuel suppliers, working with the oil companies direct as well as various fuel card companies. Mullin says: “A large benefit to working with the card companies is that where Gama Aviation has never flown before, the card companies often have a reduced rate for fuel available, which saves paying posted airport price (PAP).” GlobeAir uses major fuel providers such as Air BP or Shell alongside various fuel card schemes, which help in particular in Eastern Europe. Bernhard Fragner, ceo, says: “The greatest benefit is the payment conditions normally available via a fuel card. The biggest issue we experience is the price difference of the various fuel cards or card schemes at one airport – it is not easy

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Ahead For Business

Sergei Krasnov of flight support services provider Streamline OPS gives an update on the fuel situation for those flying into Russia.

paying most attention to is the VAT, 18 per cent in Russian Federation. Contrary to what you may be used to, often international flights in the Russian Federation are subject to VAT as many local fuel suppliers do not bother with any VAT exemption procedures. If you are planning to make a tech stop, it is worth consulting your local agent which airports do have VAT-free fuel price for flights departing internationally. to figure out which is available at the best price. Further, all providers apply different fee structures which makes a comparison almost impossible.” A pricing engine continuously uses several parameters to compute a price for a charter request based on many input factors, one of which is the volatile fuel parameter updated weekly. Such a system means that GlobeAir’s charter quotes rarely fall short due to fuel price increases, but in such a case it will absorb the costs. Many of our respondents report similar policies, although a quote made far in advance might contain a proviso relating to higher fuel costs (see: To surcharge or not, page 7). To get the best fuel deal it can, Fragner reports that GlobeAir hires a fuel broker as well as negotiating directly with fuel providers. He adds: “We definitely do tanker as we experience a huge fuel price gap between major and remote airports. “Our dispatch and flight planners look for the lowest fuel consuming route and climb-descend profile, which will be provided to crew for any flight. Inflight crew try as much as they can to get directs from ATC to save fuel.” Aircraft modifications to further reduce fuel consumption could also be an option. “Winglets for light business jets would definitely bring fuel savings,” says Fragner. “I know of a couple of projects in their early stages focusing on technological improvements for entry and light jets to get the benefit of fuel savings.” Amira Air GmbH is expanding its fleet in 2013 with the addition of Challenger and Global Express aircraft, reports chief marketing officer Bernhard Wipfler. With a fleet of managed aircraft, the company sees it as an obligation to seek out the best price deals with fuel suppliers. “Fuel price optimisation is very important,” says Wipfler. “Our dispatchers have all necessary data (fuel index, fuel providers, etc) for all destinations in the internal IT system available and decide according to operational requirements and economic reasons about fuelling. It might absolutely make sense to carry greater weight, and burn a little bit more fuel, to avoid refuelling at very cost-intensive destinations. This is decided on a case-by-case base taking all necessary data into consideration.” Fuel cards, direct agreements and fuel brokers are all utilised in Amira Air’s pursuit of a good deal on fuel.

It may be tricky for non-Russian based owners and operators to get to grips with Russian fiscal legislation. That is why Streamline OPS always provides its customers with full information about the location they are interested in, fuel costs and all the taxes and fees that may be incurred, based on details of the specific flight. Another matter of annoyance can come from hidden charges such as service fees, which should be watched for. Apart from VAT, fuel prices are mainly affected by geographic position and competition. Fuel delivery to the airports of the far east or northern Siberia requires some sophisticated logistics, which makes fuel much more expensive. At the moment, competition between fuel suppliers is growing and we hope that this trend will keep developing. What may be a real problem is Avgas, which is not available in most of the airports of the Russian Federation – if you are flying an aircraft using this type of fuel, you should plan your trip very thoroughly and well in advance.

“We try to do simply everything at each and every destination to have the best possible benefit available. We avoid empty legs a much as possible. I assume every operator does this these days.” Operating a fuel-efficient Piaggio Avanti helps AirGO Flugservice keep costs down, according to co-founder Daniela Flierl. “AirGO buys fuel through different fuel card schemes,” she says. “The only problem with fuel cards can be a pre-arrangement that doesn’t work properly meaning a wait for fuel, although this doesn’t happen very often. In general it works very well with all providers.” Fuel cost does not have a big impact on the decision on the destination airport as passengers usually ask for a specific airport: “Very often there is no acceptable alternate at lower fuel cost. But in case there is a choice it is not only about fuel cost, we have to compare cost as a function of flight time/landing/handling fees and fuel,” says Flierl. DragonFly is based at Cardiff Airport where it has its own fuel bowser. Howard Palser, ceo, reveals that jet fuel accounts for just over 20 per cent of direct operating expenses and that fuel management had long been regarded as an important factor. With its own bowser the company is able to negotiate bulk supplies of Jet A1 from providers and fuels its aircraft at base at optimum cost. “Fuel management is just one component of flight planning, in that routes and flight levels are planned with a view to achieving maximum fuel economy,” says Palser. “As turboprops are significantly more fuel efficient than jets it is often the case that it is more economical for the aircraft to return to base rather than incur overnight or overland transport costs for crew and parking fees for the aircraft.” Flight and fuel management is just a part of successful pricing, says Palser, and although computer programmes are immensely helpful he believes that each charter quote requires specific attention to all relevant factors in order to be competitive and profitable. At some locations, ABS Jets has found that fuel cards cause problems. Ground ops manager Jan Kralik says: “Our crews are sometimes confused using the proper carnet, as they can be pressured by the ground personnel to use a particular carnet due to various advantages and agreements the ground service provider might


EUROPEAN BUSINESS AIR NEWS

have with a local fuel provider.” Empty legs are best avoided, says Kralik, and fuel price at the airport plays an important part in the decision. At the company’s two home bases and top locations it tries to negotiate a good price with the local provider. Flight planning takes into consideration the most efficient routings in terms of fuel consumption and time savings, and tankering is an option if it means cost efficiency: “Our internal home-made FOS software works with the .csv files from world fuel providers, compares the prices and simply picks the cheapest one. In case the price is related to a particular handling provider, this could be fixed in advance to avoid confusion after arrival. Our crew decides where to take the fuel, as they always have the fuel prices with them on the briefing form.” Director of ground ops Chris Eden, Rizon Group Holdings Qatar, says that fuel price comparisons are made during the trip planning stage and calculations made of tankering fuel versus fuel price differentials. “We will always tanker fuel if calculations prove this to be more cost-effective.” A wide range of payment options are important: “We have a mix of credit agreements with various suppliers who continue to offer competitive fuel rates as well as carrying five different fuel cards,” says Eden. “It’s important to have the flexibility to choose how we purchase our fuel.” Wherever possible return legs are minimised to super charge revenue, he says. Fuel costs at destinations are not a major factor in this decision, as overall advantages of selling an empty leg would always cover any higher fuel charges. The purchasing of fuel is a large proportion of Rizon Group’s operating costs and is, therefore, an area where it dedicates time and effort to negotiating and ensuring that its receives the best rates on the day at a particular destination. “As we operate as ad-hoc charter we believe that it is more cost-effective to shop

MARCH 2013 9

Gainjet’s aircraft almost always return back to base, even if this does involve an empty leg, as Hallak explains: “Our bases have been chosen strategically to cater for certain target markets. We have also found it could be more costly to leave an aircraft parked in a destination away from base waiting to be chartered. There are many costs associated with leaving the aircraft away from home that will not make it cost-effective.” In addition, crews are encouraged to fly close to optimum altitudes, fly more direct routings whenever possible and adopt optimum climb and descent profiles. Klyne Aviation Group is parent company to SaxonAir Charter, SaxonAir Flight Support and Klyne Air. Christopher Mace, group commercial director, also reports that fuel cost is now a significant percentage of the operating costs. A close watch is kept on average prices throughout its operating areas, while accepting the fact of regional variations.

“Fluctuations in fuel prices can happen at short notice but usually at only a small percentage change. Charter prices are adjusted on average fuel price fluctuations over our operating areas,” says Mace. “We have six major fuel suppliers who supply fuel data to us on a regular basis and we have a piece of software that searches the databases and

advises us of the best fuel rates and the appropriate supplier. We compare this to fuel cost from handling agents and deals can often be negotiated for higher volume uplifts.” While tankering can be costeffective, Mace points out that extra weight and higher fuel burn must be kept in mind. “We have some calculations to tell us what fuel

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BUSINESS AVIATION –– MAKING THE DIFFERENCE IN EUROPE Nearly 500 Exhibits • 60 Aircraft on Static Display • Over 12,000 Attendees

Bernhard Fragner, GlobeAir AG ceo.

for the best rates on the day and this may include up to eight different fuel quotes per flight destination,” explains Eden. “We then lock those rates in prior to the flight, providing us with a visible and complete expectation on any fuel purchase.” With fuel comprising such a significant portion of operating costs, many operators see benefits in tasking staff with the search for the best deals and GainJet Aviation SA is one of them. Andrew Hallak, md, says: “We have a dedicated fuel team whose sole purpose is to reach out on a regular basis to different fuel providers in order to find the best fuel price at each destination. “We always tanker if fuel is cheaper in one location in comparison to another location. We have formulas whereby we know when we are above break even and beginning savings on costs.” Due to its extensive operation and worldwide destinations, Hallak says that credit agreements are a necessity. “When flying worldwide, fuel cards might not work. Fuel providers generally have arrangements in most airports worldwide and this normally works at all airports.”

margin is needed to offset the extra burn to ensure we maximise the best overall fuel efficiencies. And keeping efficiency to the fore means the decision might be for an aircraft to return to base on some occasions while keeping it at other locations under other circumstances. “Airfield choice on the basis of fuel cost only comes about by use of airfields for tech-stops, and there we are looking for efficient turnaround times also,” says Mace. “We have optimum levels for cruise against flight distance precalculated, and our flight planning software will look at the actual winds and show any variations in levels to operate the cost efficient profile.” A good credit rating built up over years of operation means that Twinjet prefers to use its contracts with numerous fuel companies such as World Fuel, Jetex and Universal, rather than fuel cards. Philip Moore, ops director, says that fuel purchased using a fuel card can often be more

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EUROPEAN BUSINESS AIR NEWS

10 MARCH 2013

O P E R AT I O N S N E W S . . . little progress has been made in ten years. “In order to break the deadlock situation, we call on the commission to withdraw its proposal regarding performance and charging schemes and to work on a more appropriate framework in line with the SES high level goals,” says EBAA.

AirSatOne aims to reduce airtime

Philippe Liénard

CEPA announces chairman Central European Private Aviation has appointed Philippe Liénard as its chairman for 2013. He will take up the position in March; continuing the annual rotation of the chairmanship, with Brendan Lodge of Jet Brokers Europe staying as deputy chairman. Liénard is the founder and majority shareholder of Slovakia and Polish based AELIS Group, specialist of aircraft trading and leasing. “I would particularly like to see the advisory board of CEPA becoming of even more help to members in assisting them to conduct business successfully,” he says. The fourth CEPA Expo will be held during November in Prague.

JSSI adds to global team Jet Support Services, a provider of hourly cost maintenance programmes for the business aviation industry, has added technical representatives in the UK and for Africa. Ian Vickers is based at the company’s European headquarters at Farnborough and was previously engineering manager at Ocean Sky Engineering at Manchester. Jonathan Deutsch will be working to expand JSSI’s presence throughout Africa and select markets in Asia.

EBAA says single European sky is in jeopardy The European Business Aviation Association has joined with other industry bodies to warn that latest proposals from the European Commission will fail to achieve its Single European Sky (SES) ambitions. Under proposed regulations, air navigation service providers are required to improve their overall performance and efficiency while harmonising their services by creating so-called Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs). However, the association says that

Satcom service provider AirSatOne has added features to its Flightstream AOC AvSat router to include a totally wireless interface to existing WiFi systems. The new feature allows the Flightstream AOC to be installed and functional in less than an hour. “Laptops, iPads, tablet computers and smartphones are designed to work using a groundbased connection to the internet. The way they send and receive data is not efficient for use over the satellite network, which results in slow web browsing, and higher airtime cost. The Flightstream AOC converts the data to a format that is more suitable for satellite communications,” says Jo Kremsreiter, president.

RUAG takes on CF34-3 service role GE Aviation has named RUAG Aviation as an authorised service centre for the CF34-3 engines that power the Challenger series. RUAG can now perform engine line maintenance, as well as provide warranty support.

AMAC approved for Russian maintenance duty Basel-based AMAC Aerospace has been granted approvals to carry out base and line maintenance work on all Russian-owned small to mid-size narrow body aircraft up to Boeing 737NG and Airbus Corporate Jet ACJ319 types, as well as heavy maintenance work up to C check. Much of the new work will take place among the company’s trio of hangars at Basel, including a new wide body addition which opened in September last year.

All-digital altimeter offers military precision Garmin has introduced its GRA 5500 all-digital radar altimeter, claiming that it meets altitude accuracy standards only previously seen in products for transport and military aircraft. It will be standard equipment on aircraft including the Citation X, Sovereign, Latitude, Longitude and the Bell 525 Relentless.

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Penny Mullin, fuel manager at Gama Aviation. Continued from previous page

expensive and means paying up front for the fuel. “By paying for fuel using a credit based fuel carnet the payment falls due in 30 days.” Moore reports: “We tend to carry slightly more fuel that we need in order that we can be flexible should a trip change at the last minute, or the customer change their route. “We do tanker fuel if needed for operational reasons, but we are also aware that in carrying additional fuel we burn a large percentage of that fuel due to the increased weight, on average for an three additional tonnes of fuel you will burn a third, which is not cost-effective.” Twinjet will try to fill its empty legs as far as possible and will not always return to base. “However, in addition to fuel we also have to take into consideration hotels and per diems for the crew, so where it makes economic sense we will return to base.” Moore adds: “Our customers tell us where they want to go and it is a balancing act to find the optimum route and package for the customer and the company. We always look the most economic and cost-effective way of flying the aircraft; it is not just about what fuel we are consuming. For example, the costs of overflying clearances and air navigation charges can be exorbitant in some countries and this is a major factor in route planning.”

Views from the inside An obvious way to save fuel is to fly at slower speeds but, as Jet Aero Fuels and iFuel president Rinad El-Rabaa points out, when in a hurry this is not an option for the operator or owner. There are other options, though, that can generate savings on fuel if managed well. Firstly, selecting the right choice of fuel supplier is crucial and sometimes this means an extensive search for the right partner. El-Rabaa says: “When shopping around for quotes it is very important to ask the right questions, such as who is the into-plane agent? Are there any hidden fees for into-plane services? Are there any hidden taxes that you are not aware of? And, most importantly, how long has the offering company been on the market? “These days there are many new and raw fuel broker companies in the aviation market that are not transparent with the operators or owners and, while they say they offer cheap fuel, it may be that they are providing fuel at 20-35 cents a gallon higher than other players in the market. It really does pay to make comparisons between suppliers.” For operators, it is also crucial to ask for a good credit line to pay off the

fuel and avoid any cash flow issues, advises El-Rabaa. “Not every company on the market can provide good credit lines and usually only those that are strong and have been on the market a while have the capacity to offer this. Boutique suppliers are always good to have but again selection needs to be made following extensive research.” A recent deal saw London-based charter broker Open Aero, fuel supplier Jet Aero Fuels ( JAF) and Switzerland-based 28 East Group sign an agreement to form boutique fuel operation iFuel. Launched at Sheremetyevo International, an agreement was signed with the airport enabling iFuel to store and resell fuel to business operators for reduced costs. Fuel has been bundled with ground handling services, reducing overall costs between 25 per cent and 30 per cent. “This enables the supplier to offer the most competitively priced fuel on the market and allows operators to improve budgeting overall,” explains El-Rabaa. “iFuel ran a trial of the service at Sheremetyevo which proved successful and it is now working on building this model internationally, starting within the CIS.” The plan is to offer the service at CIS airports including Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo, Almaty and Astana airports in Kazakhstan, Boryspil in Ukraine; Baku in

The taxing issues of exemption and refunds EBAN asked operators about fuel taxation – a thorny subject, as rates and the opportunities for reimbursements vary hugely from country to country. Those operating under an AOC need worry less about such issues than private operators. Steve Woods, UVair director of sales and supply, Europe, Middle East and Africa, has some words of wisdom on the matter. “Taxes on European Jet-A1 uplifts can exceed the cost of the fuel itself. With VAT rates between nine and 25 per cent and excise duties, also known as mineral oil tax (MOT) or TIPP, coming in between US$1.50 and US$3.36 per USG, the cost of fuel can soon spiral, so any opportunities to be exempted from these taxes could be crucial. While most exemption applies to companies conducting flights for reward, there are possibilities for business operators, state/military flights and flights in connection with consular/ diplomatic purposes in some European countries.” Woods continues: “Remember that VAT is charged on the excise duties associated with your uplift, so even if you qualify for only an exemption from the VAT, it will greatly reduce your costs – check with fuel

providers for details of exemption opportunities on any upcoming European trips. Even if you do not qualify for a point of sale exemption you may be able to obtain a refund of the VAT as a business operator.” Daniele Travaglia at Fly Comlux reveals that taxation is always a problem: “Sometimes we discover a new tax just because we are flying to a place with an aircraft type and size which other operators have never done before. Taxation might be based on the bilateral agreement between your operating airport and the country of aircraft registration. We are very careful to check the invoice from the suppliers and that our fuel has not been taxed if not required by local law.” Gama Aviation’s Penny Mullin is in agreement: “Taxation on fuel is a problem. We receive updates from suppliers on a regular basis detailing any and all changes by country.” Several countries such as Germany and Switzerland recently came up with additional legal rules that are tricky to work through, points out Bernhard Fragner at GlobeAir. “Further, for grey charter it is definitely an issue, as there are operators using tax free fuel but being not typically listed on an AOC

and operated commercially.” At some remote airports, there is an apparent lack of knowledge which can make it an issue to claim mineral tax and VAT, says Fragner. “To avoid that, many airports charge fuel with VAT and MOT and forward the issue to the operator; normally fuel for an AOC operated aircraft for a charter flight should be charged net without MOT and VAT.” Likewise, Jan Kralik at ABS Jets believes varying regulations country to country cause problems: “There are so many confusions worldwide when it is not absolutely clear if an AOC allows the operator to take fuel free of duties. There are countries where the crew is required to fill in various forms before they are permitted to take fuel without taxes, causing delays. Rules are simply not clear, even within Europe.” Applying for a tax refund in some European countries is difficult, says Daniela Flierl, AirGO Flugservice, adding that in Britain it works perfectly for foreigners but in France it does not work at all. “Most of the time we refuel without tax right away. At small airfields not offering tax free tanking, it is a problem to be reimbursed,” Flierl says.


EUROPEAN BUSINESS AIR NEWS

Azerbaijan and Tbilisi in Georgia. As one of the leading aviation fuel suppliers internationally, Air BP offers competitively priced fuel at 600 global locations. It has developed a number of systems and products to support owners and operators in managing fuel costs, purchasing and payment, currently offering two card services worldwide. For smaller businesses or private individuals, Flight Card offers a simple means of buying Jet Fuel or Avgas at multiple locations. Global Sterling Card offers a global network of fuel points and 24/7 support via a network of offices located in more than 40 countries. With dedicated GA staff at many locations, efficient fuelling can be arranged via the Sterling card helping to enhance trip planning and ensure cost-efficient fuel purchase. For larger operators or corporate flight departments Air BP advocates a fixed fuel pricing system when the client can predict the number of hours flown, the fixed price system offers clients the opportunity to purchase fuel at a fixed price, a fixed volume and within a certain time period. “Pricing like this may not be available everywhere and it does come with some limitations, but for those that are in a position to plan ahead, it offers a competitive price and a convenient way of fuel buying ,” says Air BP GA general manager Miguel Moreno. If operators fly to specific locations on a regular basis Air BP offers the option for contract purchasing that can make the pricing more competitive. ARINC Direct provides contract fuel services as part of its flight planning solution. “With access to a number of specific fuel planning tools, integrated with a flight planning tool that uses the latest wind and weather data to accurately predict fuel use, and the ability to order fuel online from more than 7,000 locations worldwide at competitive prices we are able to enhance the operator’s experience in the business of buying fuel,” says James Hardie, flight planning and support. “Fundamentally, fuel required for a flight plus any contingencies and reserves needs to be accurate for the aircraft to be efficient. Too much fuel can limit the spare capacity of the aircraft for carriage of cargo and passengers, affect take-off and landing distances, limit the initial climb and cruise altitude and cost money and fuel to carry around,” he says. “Too little fuel and you are diverting en route.” To save money on fuel, accurate planning with the latest information pre-flight are key to ensuring that every drop of fuel purchased is efficiently used. “We encourage operators to select a flight planning solution that makes use of up-to-theminute weather forecasts, work with that service provider to tailor the results output to be accurate to the aircraft as it is now, and let your provider know if you have any problems so that it can be adjusted if necessary,” suggests Hardie. Scott Elder, vp business development, AML Global Limited, stresses that operations departments should compare prices and terms carefully. “It is fairly easy to compare the prices of two providers if the only product is fuel. The effective dates of the prices should cover the uplift date, and additional fees taken into consideration.” Elder warns that care should be taken with fuel providers that also provide flight planning and ground handling services: “If a certain provider knows that his fuel prices are being scrutinised, they might itemise the fuel at zero margin, while making up the difference on the other areas.” Do your homework to avoid paying commission many times over

MARCH 2013 11

Being efficient with fuel Colt International supplies fuel to more than 16,000 business aircraft worldwide. Here, marketing director Joe Serrano offers advice for managing the expense of fuel.

Trip planning • Implementing a good trip plan analysis will achieve optimum flight plan routings and the most costeffective fuel stops.

Howard Palser negotiates a price to fill his own bowser.

Chris Eden sometimes asks for up to eight fuel quotations.

says Andre D Sterchi at aster Jetfuel, Dubai. “Price is the certainly the determining factor! It’s not service because, except for major fuel producers/suppliers, resellers have no influence over into-plane service whatsoever,” advises Sterchi. He also points out that many flight support companies, FBOs, etc, now offer third party fuel: “The chain could be long if they don’t have a contract with a direct supplier. All they do is request offers from other resellers. The reason being that major suppliers have pretty much stopped working with new resellers, so the flow could look like this: supplier to reseller 1 to reseller 2 to reseller 3 to customer. “Every link in the chain adds its own commission, so by the time the customer receives the fuel invoice, it is much higher than going directly to a supplier or to a first grade reseller.” In other words, Sterchi says, operators should check with the fuel ordering company whether that company has direct contract with a producer/supplier and, if not, the operator should shop around. While agreeing that operators should shop around, Multi Service Aero fuel and ground support relationship manager DJ Post believes striking the correct balance is necessary: “It is all about costs these days and fuel is responsible for a big part of the total costs of your operations, therefore it can be worthwhile to look around for the best price available. But you do not want to end up with more administrative work than the savings on fuel? “Make sure that the price you are being promised is the price you are charged. We have built a system that automatically kicks back the invoice from suppliers if the price is not what was agreed on.” Post says that these are the types of systems needed to make sure that the price expected is the price on the invoice. “A card that covers all major suppliers might be your best bet here,” says Post. Another consideration is for the operator to decide whether it is price or service driven, says Post: “Can you get away with waiting for the cheapest fuel truck with angry passengers in the back needing to attend an urgent meeting? The cheapest option might not be always the best.” Analysts have different ideas about the crude oil price in 2013, as Post points out: “Views range from $115 dollars at the end of the year to $80, which is a huge difference. The

fact that analysts’ estimates are so far apart shows how hard it is to predict oil prices. Careful planning, and checking if the price you think you are getting is the price you are charged looks like the best advice for 2013.” Joshua E Baynes, senior public relations specialist at Rockwell Collins, also agrees that optimal fuel management requires constant monitoring of world market conditions, requiring the investment of a significant amount of time and resources. He says that finding a trusted source, one that not only scans fuel prices but negotiates them too, is the best way for a flight operation to effectively manage fuel. Although independent service providers such as Rheinland Air Service (RAS) can offer better pricing and greater flexibility, the fuel market in Europe is still dominated by the few big oil companies, reports ceo Johannes Graf von Schaesberg. RAS suggests that larger fleet operators tender their annual fuel requirements to all the suppliers at their different destinations. Minor fleet operators have a wide choice in a variety of fuel brokers. Without tendering and fuel brokers, customers are often forced to pay the PAP which is usually a lot higher than the price achieved by the tender or the fuel broker. Continued technological advancements and a competitive environment have ushered in a range of effective fuel cost management options for operators. So says Hussam Beg, Jetex fuel department business development. However, Beg advises that, where a myriad solutions exist and almost every one offers savings of some kind, there are some strategies that an aircraft owner or operator should consider incorporating in fuel cost management programmes. Identify and work with a core supplier group based on expertise, reputation and overall competency, says Beg. Apart from benefiting from competitive pricing, the combined experience will enhance an operator’s knowledge about the various regions it flies into as well as information on tax exemptions where qualified. “Some suppliers, especially new entrants, will utilise aggressive or ambush marketing techniques and go to any lengths to attract a customer to gain a foothold in the market but it is not easy to demonstrate competitiveness and quality in a sustained manner and this is what separates the capable suppliers from the rest,” says Beg. When flying to EU countries, Beg advises that operators enroll in the

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• Use preferred airways, rather than great circle routes. A great circle route is direct – point to point – with no consideration for airways. A flight planned on preferred routes is more accurate, accounting for airways and country FIR boundaries, which affect distance, altitudes and fuel burns. When operating multiple legs, request several flight plan leg options to review. Mapping routes provides a visual aid of the area being overflown and possible refuelling locations and tankering contingencies. • Use a veteran international flight planning company. If using a vendor for international trip planning, ensure it is credible and staffed with experienced flight planning experts. Automated trip planning systems don’t account for the permit costs or other regulatory requirements.

Fuel price • Timing is everything. Quoting a fuel price too far in advance can lead to surprises. Fuel is subject to daily, weekly and monthly changes. The best practice is to check fuel prices as close to uplift as possible. • Pay attention to expiration dates, commonly overlooked in fuel quotes. • Know what’s in your fuel quote. Suppliers differ in price, but an operrelevant supplier’s VAT exemption programme so that invoicing is VATcompliant. In July 2012, Jetex opened an EU subsidiary called Jetex Fuelling Services in Shannon, Ireland, to enable VAT-compliant invoicing to customers and introduced a completely online VAT assessment process without having operators submit any forms. “One of the most effective and the least utilised concepts is tendering at high volume locations,” says Beg. “For those that do not operate a big fleet, the thought of tendering may traditionally seem something reserved for the ‘big boys’ but in all practicality, if you are uplifting upwards of 100,000 litres per annum at an airport, it is a good idea to invite the suppliers for a tender.” A review of the previous two to three years of historical uplifts will provide helpful insights to operators as well as identify trends unique to their operations. “Tendering is the most effective option not only in terms of locking down a very competitive differential or into-plane rate for a whole year but also bringing intangible cost benefits by saving time otherwise spent in repetitive comparison of costs,” says Beg. Typically, there is a marked difference in fuel prices at airports located within the vicinity of a techstop but to select the airport with the most competitive fuel price is a time consuming process. In November, Jetex launched an online web portal

ator must take into account taxes and fees when evaluating price. Ask for an all-in Jet A1 price inclusive of all taxes. Factor in handling fees. • Perform a sample audit of your fuel supplier’s invoices. The market is flooded with new fuel suppliers that may be intentionally or unintentionally invoicing a higher price than quoted. A trusted fuel supplier will work hard for you and invoice accurately. An audit by Argus International showed that Colt’s invoices were accurate more than 99 per cent of the time.

Commercial or private? • Properly define the aircraft classification. Particularly in Europe, classification can significantly change cost of fuel, depending on taxes. Private flights are administered VAT, mineral oil tax and flowage and excise taxes, commercial flights can be exempted from some or all taxes. • Properly complete the fuel ticket. Ensure all fields are completed, paying special attention to the destination airport field. The fueller will not be able to tell if it is a domestic or international flight, which may result in the incorrect fees. Commercial operators should present AOC or ACC and note on the fuel ticket this was shown.

Taxes • A supplier with an active tax department is more likely to help operators take advantage of available tax exemptions. This can be complicated but tax experts are capable of helping operators recover funds from past and future uplifts. Operators with an active international fleet are likely to have significant opportunities for tax recovery and should look into implementing a tax recovery programme. that includes a fuel tanker analysis application, access to live pricing and taxes at more than 3,000 airports, fuel ordering system and VAT status assessment. For customers that request permits or ground handling, all relevant flight updates are posted in real-time. The portal is accessible from mobile devices. Another cost saving method is subscription to fuel cost-comparison software with an in-built ordering system. There are companies providing increasingly useful features that take the headache out of the otherwise time-consuming supplier selection process. But, regardless of the options being chosen, the onus is still on operators to do their homework by identifying their uplift trends to put together a strategy that is practical and effective in the short and long-term. ■

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EUROPEAN BUSINESS AIR NEWS

CHARTER BROKER NEWS...

Ruth Whitaker has welcomed support from BACA members.

city of London. “A central London base reaffirms 365 Aviation’s position as a truly neutral charter broker; not aligned to any particular airport or operator, thus enabling it to provide objective charter solutions for clients,” the company says. It is also undertaking a recruitment drive seeking experienced charter managers to build its team, in order to keep up with increasing demand for its services, and is actively investigating opportunities for development internationally within key markets. This is expected to be a key part of its strategy for further growth in future.

Air Partner achieves ISO 9001 across Europe

An MAF aircraft offloads medical supplies in South Sudan.

Aviation charity to benefit from BACA fund-raising The Baltic Air Charter Association has chosen MAF, a humanitarian organisation operating more than 135 light aircraft across 30 countries in the developing world, as its designated charity for 2013. “As an association representing companies involved in the air charter market, we thought it was especially appropriate to raise funds for an aviation charity this year,” says BACA chief executive Markham Jackson. MAF UK works with sister organisations in the US and Australia as well as with many partners worldwide to provide flights and logistical support for outreach missions to remote communities in developing nations. These missions include aid agencies, missions, relief and development programmes, government departments, local churches and other national groups. Just two of the charities MAF supports are Tearfund education and food distribution in East Africa, and Medair, working in disaster relief, responding to wars and disasters, providing healthcare, water, shelter and sanitation. Ruth Whitaker, ceo of MAF UK, says: “We depend mainly on donations to keep our planes flying and we are especially pleased that an aviation association has decided to support us.” BACA, a non-profit membership organisation for the global air charter industry, raises funds through its popular lunches and other events during the year. The Spring Lunch, sponsored by Amira Air, with additional sponsoring from First Class Cars and Magma Aviation, will be held on 25 April 2013 at Merchant Taylors’ Hall in the City of London. The Autumn Lunch and Excellence Awards will be held on 3 October 2013 at Guildhall, London.

365 Aviation expands into the city 365 Aviation has moved into a new office located near Liverpool Street railway station, in the heart of the

Air Partner has been awarded ISO 9001 accreditation, recognising its adoption of a quality management system focused on continuous improvement and customer satisfaction across the company’s European offices in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Switzerland. Air Partner’s French office was the first to be accredited in 2006 and the group is delighted that its other European offices have now successfully completed the process, with plans to extend this to the rest of the group in due course. Jonathan Raimbault, group quality manager, says: “The ISO 9001 accreditation provides a clear marker of excellence and demonstrates the importance we place on quality of service.”

Embraer’s midsize Legacy 500 made a successful first flight last November and deliveries are expected to begin in 2014. “This is the aircraft that will move us from industry player to industry leader,” says Ernest Edwards, Embraer Executive Jets president. “The Legacy 500 breaks through the traditional midsize jet envelope to offer something that has never been done before. It is hard to overstate the importance of fly-by-wire technology. Fly-by-wire does for business aviation what GPS has done for navigation. It will empower more precision, efficiency, safety and comfort every time the aircraft flies.” The Legacy 500 is a clean-sheet design based on extensive input from operators and customers and has a six-foot stand-up cabin with a flat floor. The midsize jet will be followed by Embraer's fourth clean-sheet design, the mid-light Legacy 450, to enter service one year later.

Long-legged Latitude and Legacy 500 will breathe life into the midsize sector Justin Bowman has been with ACS since its inception.

ACS promotes Bowman to leading role Air Charter Service has promoted Justin Bowman from commercial director to deputy managing director of the group. “Justin has had a long and distinguished career with ACS having been working with founder Chris Leach since the company’s inception,” says Tony Bauckham, group managing director. “In this new role, Justin will not dispense with any of these facets of his work, but will work further in close conjunction with myself, becoming more deeply involved with the day to day running of the group. In any organisation succession is important, no more so than within ACS which, with its future long term expansion plans, will need further support from experienced directors.” Bowman takes up his new role with immediate effect.

ME & MY AIRCRAFT Midsize jets The midsize jet sector is in a state of transition, with the most aged models nearing extinction and thoroughly modern new types about to enter service. Some of the earliest purposebuilt business jets fell in this category, and there are some of these 1960s designs still flying today. Five Corvettes remain in service in our region, as well as three Jetstars. There are dozens of pre-Hawker BAe125-400/600/700 models throughout Africa, and even a 125-1A in each of South Africa and Gambia. Falcon 20s continue to fly commercially, often with governments. These venerable types were succeeded by the Citation 650, which is still popular in Germany, and the Learjet 55, which also only really found strong favour in Germany. Now at the end of their production runs are the Learjet 60 and the Hawker 800/900 series. And this leaves only two midsize jet models in current series production, the Citation XLS+, the latest incarnation of the Cessna 560 Excel, and the Gulfstream G150, which has its roots in the IAI Astra. The focus of development of new aircraft has been on larger cabins,

More than 130,000 hours have been flown by G-150s.

and this spawned a whole new sector beyond the scope of this review; the super midsize jet. But now there are two clean sheet designs on the horizon for what EBAN categorises as the midsize market, and these look set to be game-changers in the sector. During 2014 the first Embraer Legacy 500s should enter service, and by 2015 they will be joined by the all-new Citation Latitude. In this report we asked owners and operators of the various models to give us their thoughts. HAWKER 800/900 The Hawker 800/900 series may have reached the end of its illustrious production run in the guise of the 900XP, but the later variants will be sought after and put through their paces for decades to come. EBAN’s reader database reveals that Hawkers are in operation in no fewer than ten countries around Africa, including substantial fleets in Nigeria and South Africa where NAC National Airways Corporation has

half a dozen. Seven countries around the Middle East are host to Hawker 800s, with the biggest fleets in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. They are also to be found in virtually every nation of Europe, including the world’s largest fleet in the hands of NetJets. Every operator responding to our survey was either satisfied or very satisfied with the type’s maintenance support, dispatch reliability, operating capabilities and value for money. One anonymous captain of 750 and 800 variants reports that the Rockwell Collins cockpit together with the IFIS 5000 makes it easy to work, but that the baggage compartment is small, and the toilet service connection poor (although improved on the 750). Jaroslav Malinsky of VR Jet A/S concurs that the 850XP is generally very good, but let down by the baggage compartment. Kristoffer Sundberg of JoinJet A/S flies the 800XPR, which is a substantial upgrade package still offered by Beechcraft for existing Hawker 800 owners. “It is great to deal with Beechcraft, as they always have a quick and cost friendly solution to our problems,” he says. “It is probably the most versatile midsize business jet in the world. You get great range with the modified versions, a great cabin, and great landing and take off capabilities. “With the current market there are a lot of good bargains to be had on the Hawker 800 and 900 fleet,” he adds. The latest version, the 900XP, is flown by Christopher Mace’s


MARCH 2013 13

EUROPEAN BUSINESS AIR NEWS

SaxonAir, who says: “With Hawker Beechcraft entering into Chapter 11 bankruptcy we were concerned about product support, however the company at Chester has ensured that the support remains, and has worked closely with us to keep flexibility within our operation. “The 900XP has good range and excellent operating costs, and is seen as a favourite aircraft for charter because of the varied performance. “Customers love the reputation the aircraft has within the industry, and for good reason. Reliable, well built, great interior, full cabin service available are just some of the many attributes the aircraft can offer over its closest competitors.” However, he concedes that the aircraft is heavy, at nearly 13 tonnes MTOW, and so airport fees are higher than lighter competitors and the fuel burn higher. “Our aircraft is equipped with WiFi, and this is the most popular passenger option in today’s electronic reliance age,” he concludes. Jozef Soltys of US Steel Kosice s.r.o. also flies the 900XP variant, and enjoys the range, quality, proven design, engines and avionics. Tim Barber of aircraft brokerage JetBrokers reports that there are 53 Hawker 800 aircraft available for sale, compared with 58 this time last year. Average days to achieve a sale is running at an encouraging 120 days. He points out that the VRef price guide has marked 800XP’s down by $100k this quarter: “Which is perhaps not as bad as it could have been.” CITATION 560XL NetJets is also the largest operator of the Citation 560XL series in Europe, but the type is prevalent in Austria where there are some 19 owner/operators. Hans Doll of Atlas Air Service reported his satisfaction with the XLS, especially the combination of comfortable cabin and range performance, but says that a shorter field length would be desirable. Peter Stroud of Marshall Executive Aviation is also very satisfied with the maintenance support, dispatch reliability and operating capabilities of the XLS. He especially appreciates: “The flexibility it offers, good runway performance, very large external baggage hold and nicely proportioned cabin with ample room for the passengers.” On the negative side, he finds the aircraft a little slower than some of the opposition, and lacking in storage in the eight passenger layout. “It is a great aircraft for the European market, with good performance and reliability,” he concludes. Kimon Daniildis of Interjet SA has experience of both the Citation 560XL and XLS, and praises their cost efficient operation. On the negative side he points to corrosion on some specific critical parts, and would like

to have had more range. Michał Wamej of Magellan ProService has encountered problems with maintenance and reliability with the XLS+ but is very satisfied with the aircraft’s operating capabilities and value. “It has very good runway performance and a pilot friendly cockpit, but would benefit from a vacuum toilet. I think this is very good aircraft with very good value for money, I love to fly her, but our own unit has malfunctions too often,” he says. JetBrokers reports that there are currently 23 XLS available (7 per cent of the active fleet), compared to just 17 at the start of last year. XLS prices held steady this quarter. LEARJET 60 The Learjet 60 can be found throughout Europe and the Middle East, and in Nigeria and South Africa. It is notable by its absence from Russia, but is represented on the Ukrainian register, and the type is present in largest numbers in Germany and Austria. Major fleet operators include VistaJet and Quick Fair Jet Charter. One respondent to our survey with experience of the Learjet 60XR says that the aircraft has nice looks, which is good for charter, very good time-toclimb and very good avionics. On the downside he reports that it has too small a baggage compartment and is not so fast (0.78 at FL410). He is dissatisfied with the APU, landing gear and brakes. He suggests buying instead a Learjet 45 or 75, which have a smaller cabin but at a lower operating cost.

Announced in October 2011, the Citation Latitude will have a range of 2,500nm and offer Cessna’s widest-yet passenger cabin with stand-up access throughout its length of more than 16 feet. Billed as a game-changer in the mid-size segment, Cessna say the Citation Latitude combines the payload, speed and range that customers want with an unmatched cabin experience at its price point ($14.9m in 2011 USD). Scheduled for its first flight in mid-2014 and designed for a crew of two plus up to eight passengers, it will have a maximum altitude of 45,000 feet and a maximum cruise speed of 440 knots. It will climb to 43,000 feet in 23 minutes.

Another reader wishing to remain anonymous was equally unhappy. While praising the engines and climb performance, he points out that the 60XR has only one training centre all around the world, in Dallas. But not all anonymous responses were downbeat: One was happy to report strong satisfaction all around, pointing out that the Learjet 60 sells easily to charter customers and represents good value for money both for the operator and the passenger, as well as being very reliable. Martin Spiegl of Imperial Jet Europe operates two Learjet 60XRs and one Learjet 60, and says he is very satisfied with maintenance support. “The FSRs and the tech support do go the extra mile for you to make a flight happen when there are problems. The maintenance facilities are various in Europe and they are all capable.” As far as dispatch reliability is concerned: “It could have been better, although finally most of the avionic issues have been sorted out. Corrosion is starting to become an issue. The maintenance schedule does not enhance the operational availability of the aircraft, as it is too fragmented and the vendor intervals do not match with the aircraft intervals.” He believes that residual values are falling due to the current pause in production. Eric Rechtsteiner of Air Independence has no such concerns, and reports himself to be very satisfied with the Learjet 60, as does

Capt Lino Xeureb of Eurojet (Malta): “It climbs like a rocket above all weather, up to FL410 in 16 minutes. I have 4,600 hours in command on the Learjet 60 and my dispatch reliability is 99 per cent. Thanks to MCM Munich and MCM Malta for the optimum technical support, especially to Alex Vit.” He believes the aircraft would have been improved by scissors steering rather than nosewheel. Other issues mentioned during our survey included 60 days every year just for normal maintenance, landing distances and undersized tyres. Tim Barber at JetBrokers reports that the Learjet 60 market remains sluggish and inventory remains high. “A total of 47 aircraft are openly advertised and no doubt a good few additional aircraft are available off market. At the beginning of 2012 there were 51 Lear 60s for sale, so the for sale inventory is broadly unchanged over the past 12 months. Some four aircraft have closed this year compared to a total of 34 last year and 30 in 2011; so it is clear that there are buyers in the marketplace.” The latest VRef price guide shows a reduction of the “typical” 2006 aircraft of $200k, taking the base value for a 3,200 hour aircraft, on programmes, no damage history and so on, to $4.2m. GULFSTREAM G-150 There are Gulfstream G-150s in Austria, Cyprus, Germany, Israel, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey. Avcon Jet in Austria is the region’s leading operator. Gulfstream recently reported that the worldwide fleet of 100 aircraft has now passed 130,000 flight hours with a dispatch reliability of 99.83 per cent.

ME & MY AIRCRAFT Midsize jets Unfortunately no G-150 operating readers of EBAN responded to our survey, but we did hear from Bruno Sørensen of North Flying A/S who is satisfied with his Cessna 650 Citation VII, although it has expensive spare parts. Meanwhile Rocco Cellucci of Air One Executive has an even greater challenge with his Falcon 20 F5, for which there are now no new spare parts available. He is, however, very happy with its range and passenger capacity. ■

Me & My Aircraft throughout 2013 JUNE Twin turboprops AUGUST Long-range and large jets NOVEMBER Very light jets We are keen to hear your views. Log in at www.ebanmagazine.com and you will find voting forms for each type in your fleet. It takes moments to complete, and the more replies we receive the better our final reports will be. Your user number and pin is on the back of the mailing sheet included with your magazine.

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A The Citation 560XL has found favour in Austria.


EUROPEAN BUSINESS AIR NEWS

14 MARCH 2013

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SABRE 60

1/4 share in Sabreliner 60 available for $100,000 based at Chester. S/N, 306141 manufactured 1980. Refurbished by Sabreliner factory 2006. T/T 9,600 hrs. Engines, 930 SMOH, CSO. 720-830 SMOH, CSO.650. RVSM. Bendix/King 900 GPS coupled to auto pilot. 3 ea. Collins com. 2 ea. Collins Nav. Color radar. Dual hydraulic systems. Aircraft located in Sweden since April 2011. Previously maintained by Jet Harbor Florida. Tel: 078702- 356 555 Email: plindstran@aol.com

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Handbook of Business Aviation in Europe The reference book for fixed wing and rotary business aircraft owners and operators in Europe and the Middle East. www.handbook.aero

Information that moves you forward

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Handbook of Business Aviation in Asia Pacific The reference book for fixed wing and rotary business

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Business aviation 1