Luxembourg operator Jetfly will be offering four Pilatus PC-24s to its client base once the latest aircraft rolls off the production line in 2017. Md Maxime Bouchard and ceo Cedric Lescop are looking to expand their fractional ownership programme, which began 15 years ago: “The two entrepreneurs who started the company decided that a single engine aircraft could do a great job over short distances in Europe, which most of our flights are,” explains Lescop.
The first aircraft Jetfly used was a TBM and since that time Pilatus has been the manufacturer of choice. The company now provides a fleet of 18 aircraft in Europe, 16 of them Pilatus; all of these are used by private owners.
Lescop believes that the PC-24 will do everything that the PC-12 does, but faster and with a longer range: “It serves different needs, and clients who wish to fly longer distances. We think it is a perfect match for the PC-12. It will provide a good, complementary fleet.”
He also anticipates that he will attract new customers as opposed to current users 'stepping up' to the PC-24. “The two aircraft will serve each other; the PC-24 owner could fly in the PC-12 and vice versa, but it is a little early to tell.”
Jetfly has a base in Geneva in addition to its Luxembourg head-quarters, and it does not anticipate that it will use the PC-24 to its full range. “For many clients it is a question of a bigger cabin and less time in the air to reach a destination. Of course the PC-24 comes at a higher price, so it is a question of getting the right mix. With these aircraft we can serve different client needs,” Lescop continues.
“It is too early to say at the moment whether or not the crew transition to the new aircraft will be straightforward, because the cabin design hasn't been disclosed yet.”
Jetfly has no aggressive expansion plans, but instead plans to focus on servicing its owners. Lescop doesn't want to expand the fleet too much: “The clients haven't requested the PC-24; we will bring the PC-24 to them and some of them may be interested in investing.”
Pilatus was overwhelmed with orders for the PC-24 at EBACE. The jet is now sold out through 2019 after 84 non-refundable deposits were placed by operators as well as private individuals. Buyers include Falcon Aviation Services in the UAE, Airfix Aviation of Finland, Tim Featherby and Shoprite Checkers from South Africa, Sunseeker Aviation in the UK and chairman of Swiss confectionary company Nestlé Peter Brabeck. Gratian Anda of Switzerland also committed to buy, as did OK Business Aircraft in the Czech Republic, and Swiss firm Central Aviation. Of the orders placed, 36 per cent came from EMEA.