September 10, 2014
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Estonian operator FortAero has signed for a third Nextant 400XTi remanufactured business jet, making it the largest European Nextant fleet operator. The company has been the exclusive sales agent for the type in Russia and CIS since June 2013, when it placed an order for two of the jets. The third aircraft will reinforce the service ceo Vadim Opryshko and his team are able to offer. He says: “The Nextant 400XTi has been an incredibly popular addition to our charter service offering, due to its low operating cost, superior range, reliability and cabin comfort.
“On average, we fly both of our 400XTis for 80 to 90 hours a month and the demand keeps increasing. We can maintain this kind of utilisation because of the outstanding dispatch reliability and the responsive customer support from the factory and Nextant service centres. Originally we had very high expectations and Nextant has definitely met them. The 400XTi is a perfect light jet for the charter market in Russia and the CIS.”
Owing to its 2,003 nm range, the 400XTi can fly point-to-point almost anywhere in Europe. It is said to cost half the price of its competitors with significantly lower maintenance and operating costs. Its factory warranty is backed by a worldwide network of owned and authorised service centres and a large inventory of spares. Europe is proving to be a popular market for the 400XT; since 2011 Nextant has delivered 45 aircraft, of which 15 per cent are now based in Europe.
Continues Opryshko: “We are expecting to get a minimum of five of these aircraft, maybe six. We took the decision a year ago to buy the first two Nextants. It meant that we were preparing for up to four months just to start a commercial operation and organise an AOC for this type of aircraft.
“Since we received the first aircraft in the middle of January we have received a continuing demand for charter flights, mainly due to two things. Firstly it is quiet, and secondly it is comfortable. So it has been bringing us success in the charter market, especially versus competitors like the Hawker 700, 800 and 900 series and some Citations.”
He had great feedback from customers about the aircraft: “They all say it is a good machine. It is not very expensive and you can fly to anywhere, due to the new engines and low restrictions.
“In the first month, to the middle of February, we completed 60 hours, and by the end of February it had already done 100. So then we began to prepare for the delivery of the next one which we received at the end of March and began to fly in April; once again we did at least 60 hours a month. The two combined have flown at least 1,000 hours up to now.”
Opryshko has modified his units for the European market. “We installed a microwave oven, because the flight time is two hours minimum. It means that we can comfortably provide catering, including a hot meal, plus a coffee machine. We have the galley of a medium or heavy jet, but at the price of a light jet. The Nextant also has a fantastic interior, because it has a flat floor and a wide cabin. You can sit with no discomfort from the window panels and cover.”
He describes the current climate as a 'very dramatic time' given the economic situation of some countries and the sanctions that are in place. He does nonetheless believe that the 400XTi is exactly the right aircraft with which to forge new business relationships.