Air Hamburg says the reaction to its two recently acquired Legacy 600s has been 'amazing', with both aircraft averaging more than 100 hours per month. “We are convinced it was the right decision to expand in this segment,” says director of marketing and sales Mike Ulka.
The company also has a Citation Latitude on order and acquired a Phenom 300 and CJ3 in 2013. A CJ2+ is also set to join the fleet in 2014. Ulka adds that the European business jet market remains extremely price sensitive, and that Air Hamburg's affiliation with AirClub – celebrating its first anniversary this month – is also helping operators to stay ahead of the game: “We follow strategies to minimise costs without losing quality. This can only be achieved with strategic partnerships like AirClub and joint procurement projects.
“Costs for fuelling, FBO, catering, hotels and recurrent training are being optimised by our specialised procurement department.”
Ulka feels that small operators are disappearing due to rising overhead costs caused by EASA regulations, with more favourable economies of scale encountered with a larger fleet, via minimised overheads and ferry flights. “We have better pricing with the fleet the way it is, and generate more revenue,” he adds.
Air Hamburg has hired a number of new pilots in recent weeks, and says that this has been another tactic to remain price sensitive. It no longer conducts fuel tankering for flights within Switzerland due to a substantial tax penalty. Ulka has praised the Rockwell Collins system FOS, installed in April, which communicates relevant data to staff.
As for the year ahead, he is buoyant: “We are looking for further growth and to continue our tradition of having happy employees.
“We would love to manage more Legacy 600, Phenom 300 or XLS+ for other owners and are in talks with aircraft management clients.”