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ExecuJet hedges bets for European growth and broadens fleet with 10 more managed aircraft
ExecuJet Aviation Group is celebrating a 'bumper quarter' after adding 10 aircraft to its global managed fleet.
Read this story in our December 2014 printed issue.

ExecuJet Aviation Group is celebrating a 'bumper quarter' after adding 10 aircraft to its global managed fleet.

The latest European additions include two Global 6000s and a Falcon 7X, and bring to seven the quantity of each type in the operator's worldwide fleet.

President of aviation services Gerrit Basson comments: “Long-range aircraft such as the Global 6000 and Falcon 7X are proving very popular, and we are emerging as one of the world's largest operators of both aircraft types.

“As the business aviation market recovers, we expect aircraft of this size to remain popular. Nonetheless, we are also seeing the global market recovery reflected across the breadth of our fleet, from turboprops to rotor aircraft, with a range of additions including a Beechcraft King Air 350 and Airbus AS350 B3e helicopter in Africa. Our managed fleet in Asia is also seeing fast growth, with high interest in ExecuJet's aircraft management offering in Asia.

“Our charter fleet continues to grow too, with the addition of two managed aircraft available for charter – a Falcon 2000S in Billund, Denmark, and a Challenger 604 based in Sydney, Australia. As we continue to receive positive feedback and referrals from our clients, we anticipate our managed and charter fleets expanding further in the coming months.”

Basson sees ExecuJet as an 'attractive' operator of larger aircraft, especially in Europe: “It takes a certain type of organisation, which has the experience, the ability and the proven track record of managing these long range aircraft such as Globals, Falcons and Gulfstreams. Our fleet primarily consists of these large aircraft – that is the type of aircraft that we want to manage and our organisation is really focused on that.

“We are very pleased to see that the market and the owners are gravitating towards us for the larger aircraft.”

In most cases, customers have already purchased aircraft before enlisting the help of ExecuJet. The operator then takes over the planning of the delivery and manages the entire delivery cycle.

“We sometimes even assist with advice as to where they should base the aircraft,” Basson continues. “We can run aircraft across Europe and across the world in many jurisdictions, on many operating certificates, if they want to run it as a charter aircraft. We ensure the registration of the aircraft is running smoothly, that the delivery from the OEM is also smooth. We then hire the crews and put it into service.”

He calls the signs of recovery in the industry 'encouraging' and highlights two key points from this: “In one sense the market is recovering; there are good deliveries still taking place or starting to take place, so we participate in that. But I must also say that our reputation as an operator of large aircraft is spreading across the market. People want us, and ask us to manage their aircraft. So I think it is a sign of both of those things.”

“We do find that customers in Europe – a mature market – are not often first time buyers. Most of them have had aircraft before, and already have brand loyalty and individual preferences. We typically get involved later on in the process. We can even provide services while the aircraft is in completion in the factory. We carry out all of the technical checks and sign-offs on behalf of the owner, to make sure that the aircraft is completed to their specifications.”

Basson also speaks of the foothold his company has in Africa, but says that the business model for the region is unique – ExecuJet does not adopt a 'one size fits all' policy. In terms of the operator's African activities, the company also manages many turboprops there. “In southern Africa for example, you have a lot of tourists who want to come down and fly smaller aircraft into game lodges. So we perform a lot of those flights, and they typically happen on smaller aircraft. In our managed fleet there we have a number of these smaller ones, which are very suited to African conditions, and flying into rough areas.”

However, the company still provides long range trips out of South Africa and into middle and western Africa. Says Basson: “You have a lot of corporates flying into South Africa, and they want to deal with a very reputable operator that will fly them into Africa to their mines or telecoms businesses.

“As far as rotary is concerned, we see the market still growing for us, but the larger part of our activity will still be in the fixed wing aircraft.”

For next year, he hopes that the recovery which has already been seen in the US will flow through in to Europe. “If this happens, we will offer more charter hours to clients, because the charter demand will grow and our FBOs will handle more traffic.”

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