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Gianair
Charter

Jetstream 31/41

BAN's World Gazetteer

Ghana
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Gianair impressed by dispatch reliability of second Jetstream 32
Gianair of Ghana has invested in a second Jetstream 32, having operated this aircraft type since August of last year. The company took delivery of the latest 32 in June and the addition has enhanced its medical evacuation offering, as well as allowing it to expand its contracted gold mine operations.

Gianair of Ghana has invested in a second Jetstream 32, having operated this aircraft type since August of last year. The company took delivery of the latest 32 in June and the addition has enhanced its medical evacuation offering, as well as allowing it to expand its contracted gold mine operations.

“We fly gold mine personnel, and we are also trying to get the contract for oil and gas companies,” says md Roberto Billia. “This second aircraft was based in Italy in July, and now it's based in the Ivory Coast. We have a small contract there.”

Billia remarks that he is very happy with the investment: “We are really surprised with the dispatch rate, it's very high. With the first Jetstream 32 we flew 1,100 hours without any problems at all, demonstrating that it is a very strong machine with high performance. We are extremely happy with the choice we've made.

“It came down to a choice between the Beech 1900 and the Jetstream. The first [Jetstream] proved to us that it is a workhorse, good to work with. With the second one we were expecting 80-100 hours a month and the first two months we did 200 hours each month and we didn't have any problems at all. We have 100 per cent dispatch rate at the moment with this machine.”

The company was registered in 2009 and started out with a Piper Cheyenne 400LS. Billia still regards his organisation as a small one, believing that it is well-served by the 32: “For the kind of operation we are doing ourselves we are mainly flying medical operations in west Africa from Sierra Leone to Ivory Coast or to Nigeria. This machine covers all our needs in terms of range, demand from the client, performance, and also the fact we can land on dirt runways. It's an ideal aircraft for our operations because it can land on a short runway and the cruise speed is quite good.

Billia points out that a flight to Sierra Leone takes under four hours. “That's the reason why we chose to stay on the 32. Our plan is to get an Embraer 120 by the end of the year for a new contract that is coming and for which we need a bigger capacity. But we want to specialise ourselves in one type of machine – we don't want to have too many different types. We are only a small company and with one type of aircraft things are easier in terms of maintenance, training and spare parts.”

Gianair bought its first Jetstream in Norway through Helitrans. The latest one was bought from Sweden, and Billia explains that it is now considering a third Jetstream 32, in light of requiring a backup: “Since we are now flying seven days a week with a new contract in Ghana on a gold mine, along with a contract in the Ivory Coast, the two aircraft are flying every single day, so we need to get the third Jetstream 32 as a backup,” he explains.

Regarding the future, Billia forecasts a branching out of the business: “Since we are already doing medical evacuations, the plan for the future is to be able to get a medium-range jet to fly to Europe and to South Africa non-stop. At the moment we can only serve west Africa. We have had many requests to evacuate patients to South Africa or to Europe but unfortunately with our aircraft we cannot do it non-stop. So we are looking to develop this.

“I am trying to work with our clients to guarantee a minimum of hours per month for us to buy a jet - maybe a Learjet or something like that. To enter into any sort of contract is quite risky. But we are looking to provide this for the client; we have been asked to get an aircraft in Ghana.”

Despite ambitions for a jet, the current aircraft are ideally suited to Gianair's missions: “We fly between 10 and 14 people a day on each leg so the 18-seat configuration is perfect for us at the moment. Usually our scheduled flights have legs of between 30 and 45 minutes, so quite short.

“The price is also excellent value. To purchase a Jetstream is roughly US$1m, for a little more you can buy a very good Jetstream 32. A Beech 1900 with similar characteristics only gives you 20 or 30 knots more speed, so the performance is very close. However, to buy a Beech 1900 you need almost $2m, twice the price. Operating costs are virtually the same and from what we can see – we have some competitors operating a Beech 1900 – operating costs and maintenance ares higher on the Beech. For this market there was only one choice for us and this is the Jetstream.”