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LEA has Greece in mind for further fleet expansion
London Executive Aviation has taken over the management of a Citation XLS to be based in Athens, Greece. The aircraft used to be with a Greek operator, however LEA reports that the operator is no longer trading.

London Executive Aviation has taken over the management of a Citation XLS to be based in Athens, Greece. The aircraft used to be with a Greek operator, however LEA reports that the operator is no longer trading. Md George Galanopoulos says: “We took the aircraft over firstly because we knew the owners as part of an existing relationship, and because we think an aircraft like this, in that part of the world, could be useful. It has been very busy and has been flying quite a lot this summer, and we hope to continue in this manner going forward into the autumn and winter.”

Galanopoulos does admit that the Greek market is a little quiet at the moment, but is confident that business in the Balkans, along with the Middle East and Israel, will make up for that: “It has limited competition in that part of the world because there are not many aircraft there. We are running mainly vip and business, and some of it is leisure as well in the summer,” he explains.

The aircraft seems to be a logical progression: “There are no new features here. It is a 2007 XLS with a nine-seat configuration. It has satcom – more or less a standard XLS really. It is not going to change what we do significantly. All it means is that if we have customers that are in the area for a period of time – the Greek islands have been popular this year – we can serve them there for inter-island transfers, or bring them back to the south of France or the UK.

“We're exploring the market now we have the office in Athens, which opened in June. We're looking for other opportunities and to manage more aircraft. We're hoping in the next 12 months we'll have one or two more aircraft added.”

LEA is also experiencing an upsurge in enquiries for flights to the 22nd Olympic Winter Games 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Over the summer period, from May to September 2013 inclusive, it liaised with several brokers and owners to provide quotes and discuss the logistics of attending the Games. In the months of August and September alone, its commercial department prepared more than 50 quotes for customers.

Speaking in reference to Sochi, Galanopoulos says: “During the summer, quote requests for flights to Sochi gained real momentum. With the Winter Olympics less than five months away, our clients are thinking about the next big event to attend. We've been discussing drop-offs, pick-ups and short stays in the Olympic host resort on the Black Sea, where there is going to be plenty to keep our clients entertained.

“We have also had some special requests for people looking to enjoy Valentine's Day as part of their journey to the city.”

“The spacious designs and cost-effective long-distance cruising capabilities of our Legacys and Challenger 300 make them ideal for travel to and from Sochi, in Russia's far south west.”

In addition, the operator has added a new destination to its European portfolio. LEA's Phenom 300 is now operating flights to and from La Môle Saint-Tropez airport in the French region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.

Galanopoulos remarks: “The gateway to the Côte d'Azur, La Môle Saint-Tropez airport has, until now, been used by very few private charter flights due to the short runway, but it is ideal for our Phenom 300. Previously, clients had no choice but to travel to Saint-Tropez via Cannes-Mandelieu airport or Toulon Saint-Tropez airport, followed by ground transport – clearly far from ideal.

“The Embraer Phenom 300 is tailor-made for this environment and can fly four passengers into Saint-Tropez and seven passengers from the airport to London. Our crews are trained and cleared for operations into the airport. In obtaining this new destination, LEA is even better positioned to serve the French market.”

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