BAN's World GazetteerItaly
Sloane Mallorca, the Balearic-based division of UK-headquartered Sloane Helicopters, has just added an A109E to its existing Robinson 44s. Jonny Greenall md says: "The A109E will expand the range of Sloane's business to offer over water flights to Ibiza in 30 minutes, Barcelona in 50 minutes and Menorca in 30 minutes. With a range of over 250 miles the Agusta 109E can also reach many other parts of mainland Spain and even north Africa."
Sloane's Capt Dan Martin (see photo on page 1) says the VLJ cannot compete with helicopters. "Passengers can arrive at our airport and be in Barcelona City heliport in one hour door-to-door. You cannot do that with an executive jet even though the flight time is less. An executive jet has to taxi to the runway at both airports and often suffers ATC delays as it enters the instru-ment landing pattern - we go direct. "An executive jet pilot who also works with us as a helicopter pilot believes that, between Palma and Ibiza, he would still be taxiing for take-off in his jet while we were on finals for Ibiza airport."
Martin adds: "We have also found that air charter brokers find our door-to-door service useful: a pick up from the hotel saves so much time. Often if our helicopter cannot land at the hotel concerned there is a sister hotel or golf course within a 10 minute drive. This beats a 45 minute drive to the airport with unknown traffic conditions in the summer."
Greenall says: "The €5 million Agusta is a new generation, eight-seat executive helicopter and an extremely valuable addition to the fleet. With our Robinson 44 fleet we have been able to offer pilot training, aerial photography and scenic flights; however the addition of the A109E opens up a whole new market for us. We can fly executives on short haul routes, offer a quick alternative to reaching Ibiza and Menorca for tourists looking to explore the other islands, and this enables us to develop our client roster on the mainland. With no other helicopter like this in the Balearics we now have a really strong competitive edge." He says the positioning of the A109E in Mallorca will also introduce 24-7 year round capacity.
Greenall adds: "For clients, departure will be from Son Bonet aerodrome, Mallorca's second airport situated 10 minutes drive from central Palma. This positioning eliminates the standard airport routine of lengthy check-ins, car parking issues and security lines, for what will invariably be short range flights. The Agusta 109E can also operate out of the GA terminal at Palma's main Son Sant Joan airport if required or from clients' private grounds." Charter prices will begin at around €1,500 per hour.