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DA-42 island hopper Pontair keeps an eye out for pre-owned Citations
Maltese operator Pontair, which bases a Diamond DA-42 at Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, is anticipating greater demand for its services across the archipelago.
Read this story in our September 2015 printed issue.

Maltese operator Pontair, which bases a Diamond DA-42 at Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, is anticipating greater demand for its services across the archipelago. Says ceo Mario Pons: “We are carrying out charter flights with passengers and cargo using our DA-42 between the Canary Islands and also to the west African coast. For the inter-island operation this aircraft is a good option. There are seven islands with eight airports, and it takes half an hour to get from one to the other, so the twin piston aircraft works well for us.”

He would like to develop the company and move to bigger aircraft. All of the airports Pontair uses are big enough for turboprop ATRs, so there are no infrastructure or landing issues. Gran Canaria has two airports open 24 hours a day, and the other airports have a 'good' schedule according to Pons. “They tend to close at midnight or even later, so it is not a problem,” he continues.

“The DA-42 is very cheap to operate and very modern. We have all of the extras installed on it. It is the cheapest aircraft we can use for charter flights, cheaper than a turboprop and cheaper than a jet. However, as soon as we get an increase in demand we will look to move to a small Citation, so that we can cover other countries in Africa that are a greater distance from here.

“The trouble we have with the DA-42 is the speed; it is not a fast aircraft and its lower range means that we cannot go so far with it.”

Future aircraft opportunities will depend on the market and the development of the company, so Pons is currently evaluating the market and conducting customer research. “Depending on the market we may go for a more modern Citation, or if the market is not good enough we will go for a cheaper, older one, maybe 20 years old. We are thinking about purchasing rather than anything else; we are the owners of the DA-42 and the second-hand market is very good for purchasing. We are looking at the one million Euros mark, or maybe a bit less.”

The company also has a sister company offering flight training and ground handling on Gran Canaria under the name of Canavia, although the AOC and headquarters are in Malta. “We brought the aircraft to the Canary Islands because we know the region well,” says Pons. “We are very far from the mainland of Spain and very close to Africa. There is a lot of business here, but there are a lot of charter companies too. Many small companies here operate aircraft such as the Beechcraft 1900 for 19 passengers, and you will struggle to find smaller aircraft anywhere in the region, you must resort to using companies from mainland Spain or elsewhere in Europe. This is where our opportunity lies.”

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