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Oryx Jet

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Twinjet expands into mid-size with Oryx acquisition
Twinjet Aircraft and Oryx Jet are to unite their operations with immediate effect following acquisition of the share capital of Oryx Jet by Twinjet.

Twinjet Aircraft and Oryx Jet are to unite their operations with immediate effect following acquisition of the share capital of Oryx Jet by Twinjet. Detailed discussions with the CAA to allow integration of the companies' AOCs have been initiated, with contract clients now able to benefit from increased levels of technical and commercial support.

Oryx Jet, voted Best Charter Airline Company in Europe, 2012, in Business Destinations magazine, will move to Twinjet's base at London Luton airport following a review of the impact of airport opening hours restrictions at Biggin Hill airport.

Twinjet's chairman John Keeble says: “Following an improvement in the level of charter after four years of consolidation, this new arrangement will allow Twinjet to offer enhanced management and commercial charter activities.”

Given Twinjet's worldwide long range operating experience over the past 15 years with ACJ, Legacy and Challenger aircraft, and the marketing skills developed by Oryx Jet with Challenger, Falcon, Hawker and Global 5000 aircraft in the European marketplace, the manage-ment team is looking forward to providing a seamless and comprehensive service to owners and charterers.

Keeble speaks of how the deal came about: “Mike Bradly Russell, financial director and ceo of Oryx Jet, was a neighbour of mine many years ago – I've known him for a very long time. We had a relationship with him when he was financial director at Cabair. He came to me in the early spring and said that he was finding the workload at Oryx quite high, and that Twinjet had a very professional organisation in Luton and had been that way since 1982.

“We had recently completed a contract on a Challenger 604 which had been sold, and we were looking for capacity on a 604 to allocate our existing charter business on that type. So we started discussions with Mike at that time as to whether we could share use of the 604. Shareholders of Twinjet own The Charter Company UK Ltd, which is a third party charter business based in London, and it has quite a lot of work for Challenger and Hawker aircraft. At the time Oryx was operating both types. To be fair to Biggin Hill, for the types of client Mike has, Luton was perhaps a better option. There are some restrictions where he is, rather like Farnborough. Luton is completely open and is the biggest corporate jet destination in the London area, and so it has all the facilities.”

The deal has advantages for Twinjet: “Our company was interested because our 604 contract terminated and we were looking for oppor-tunities. Ultimately we came to an agreement with Mike to acquire his shares in the organisation. He will join us on the board and we hope that together we can develop an excellent worldwide charter business.”

It is the mutual benefits that are crucial in Keeble's view: “As a marketing organisation I think that Oryx has been really excellent. Its image in the charter world is very good. It operated a Hawker 900XP which was very busy indeed. So we felt that, based on our ability to run an Airbus Corporate Jet and a Challenger worldwide, the combination would work well.

“We've operated an ACJ since 1999 and that aircraft literally travels the world. In October it's doing a round-the-world tour. We have great technical expertise at Twinjet, and because we hold a type A AOC, which is the highest classification, we have to have a certain level of staffing in order to keep that license properly in place, which is capable of absorbing the management of more aircraft.”

There will now also be management opportunities as Keeble explains: “We've been shortlisted on three. Two of those are on Bombardier products: a Challenger 604 and a Global 5000. That's for an Indian-based company that is looking to expand its manufacturing activities in Europe. This has not been signed yet though. We have a bid out to manage another Hawker 900XP, based upon the background of Oryx.

“We've been seen really as a one-horse operator; we have specialised in the Airbus, we've operated two of them and it is fair to say that it has been very difficult to recruit mid-size aircraft, and we feel this will be improved with the expertise we will gain from Oryx.”

The complementary nature of the two businesses is another benefit of the merger: “Mike Bradly Russell came here and saw that our operations department is extremely well-run, with 24/7 worldwide capability, and that's hard to beat really. We've got some very experienced controllers running that side of the business, because we have to. We specialise in heads of state and we carry our own royal family and so on, so we have to be ready to fly off anywhere. In the coming months we are off to Australia, Japan and South Africa with that Airbus and I think Oryx management saw they could capitalise on our skills in that area.”

Keeble says that the company will be looking to add a number of staff in the months ahead, particularly on the marketing side. He doesn't anticipate operations changing significantly, but instead believes that Twinjet can now consolidate in the north London area: “We are in discussions with another as-yet unnamed organisation in the Luton area, with a view to joining us in this group. We've seen the growth of south London operators at Farnborough and other places. We haven't really done it here north of the Thames, yet we are sitting here at an extremely attractive corporate jet airfield.”