UK-based Centreline Air Charter (CAC) has added a Falcon 2000LXS to its fleet and has obtained an EASA-approved worldwide AOC. Part of Bristol Flying Centre group, CAC already operates a fleet of CJ525s and the addition of the 2000LXS increases its managed fleet to seven and marks CAC's entry into the long range sector.
The 2014 manufactured, 10-seat jet was delivered to the owner directly from Dassault in September and will be based in Guernsey. The award of the worldwide AOC will enable CAC to offer the aircraft for charter to long haul destinations; the company is already operating flights to the USA and Africa for the owner. CAC will also be able to use its Part 145 and Part M approvals to maintain the airworthiness of the aircraft.
Says director Phil Brockwell (see front cover): “We have stated very clearly in recent months that we are targeting the management contracts of larger, longer range aircraft. Gaining the management of the Falcon 2000XLS and expanding our AOC to include worldwide operations is a huge step into this market. We look forward to offering customers an even wider choice of destinations as well as an enhanced capability to our aircraft management services.”
During the recession, Centreline had a policy of building a fleet of homogenous aircraft, which enabled it to deliver cost effective hours on the Citation 525s. But amid increased economic confidence, it seems that now is the ideal moment to make the step up. “We've been ramping up the structure of the business for a little while,” continues Brockwell. “We got more approvals and we brought in the Falcon in September, running purely for the owner for a couple of months to get to know the aircraft. The aircraft is being listed for charter imminently. From a capability point of view, you are talking about a 4,000 nm aircraft versus a 1,200 nm one for the Citation, so this is head and shoulders above our existing fleet.
“The nice thing is that it doesn't compete with our existing fleet, it is definitely an expansion rather than a different supply for the same customer base. There will be some news in the new year about more larger jets. We are not talking about G550s because we are not chasing that business yet. In terms of restructuring the business, really it started two years ago and it has taken us that long to get to this point, partly due to our processing and partly due to inactivity in the marketplace. Now we are pushing ahead.”
Having added two aircraft to the AOC this year, Brockwell expects to add another before 2015 comes to a close, with another one or two to follow by Q1 2016. He concludes: “All this is the result of restructuring and planning, bringing in the right skills we needed to take us from a boutique operator to the next level. We plan to get to managing 20 aircraft in the next three years.”