Finesse Executive, now based at London Stansted's Diamond Hangar, is adding the Global Express type to its worldwide AOC. The company is growing significantly in size: less than a year ago it only operated two aircraft types but by the middle of 2015 it will have eight aircraft in its fleet. Says commercial manager Steve Finch: “We have plans to grow beyond this and have an optimal size in mind that will allow us to provide the high quality management our clients expect while remaining well positioned commercially. But we don't intend to grow too quickly or indeed have a 30-40 aircraft fleet, because we believe that measured growth is the key.”
The strategy of Finesse centres on large cabin jets, and plans are in progress to bring a Challenger 605 and Falcon 7X on to its AOC. “Our clients will at some point be looking to upgrade their aircraft, and as this happens we certainly expect to see the Falcon 7X join our fleet,” continues Finch. “Until recently our focus has been on privately managed aircraft but that will change if the right opportunity comes along. There is obviously a lot of work involved in the negotiation process when bringing new clients and aircraft in, but Finesse already has a good infrastructure and capacity to manage this.
“Having the Global Express on our AOC will give us two of this type immediately ready for commercial operations. One of the aircraft is configured with a fixed double bed in the rear cabin, which is a very rare find on a Global Express. It's a definite selling point for that particular aircraft.”
The operator discusses the 'required' amount of charter with each of its clients. While some owners wish to retain their aircraft for personal or business use and have no interest in offsetting their operational costs through commercial activity, others have a desire to generate charter revenue. Finch says that Finesse is able to offer many hours a month of charter where required.
“We ensure that our clients receive what we know is important to them: high quality, proactive and bespoke management and support at a fair price with the added benefit of an AOC. By the end of 2015 we expect to have increased our fleet further and be operating 10 aircraft, with steady growth beyond that up to around 15 aircraft eventually. Any smaller than this and experience has proven that operators can be at a distinct commercial disadvantage; any bigger and I believe that you lose the personalised service that we know our clients covet.”
The move to the Diamond Hangar has been very well-received, especially in light of the positive relationships that have been harnessed with On Air Dining, Flightworx, XJet and the other aviation organisations at the facility. “All these businesses complement each other nicely and this will no doubt lead to a cross-pollination of interests,” says Finch. “The Diamond Hangar is a fantastic facility that has been underused thus far. It frustrates us that Stansted is often deemed the poor relation of the aviation world around London. From a private jet perspective it is viewed as a last resort in London, despite a 3,000 m runway and 24/7 unlimited ops, five FBOs and great links to the city. Hopefully the activity we are seeing is a catalyst for Stansted to grow as a private aviation hub.”