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Business Air News Bulletin
Business Air News Bulletin
The monthly news publication for aviation professionals.
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DragonFly reports exceptional demand for first Nextant jet
Cardiff, UK-based DragonFly Executive Air Charter has brought a Nextant 400XTi onto its AOC, and CEO Howard Palser is delighted with how it is performing. The operator had been looking to expand into rotary ops, but it has now shifted its focus towards the jet.
Read this story in our September 2016 printed issue.

Cardiff, UK-based DragonFly Executive Air Charter has brought a Nextant 400XTi onto its AOC, and CEO Howard Palser is delighted with how it is performing. The operator had been looking to expand into rotary ops, but it has now shifted

its focus towards the jet. “We have been looking for a jet dimension for quite some time,” Palser explains. “SaxonAir had the aircraft on its AOC for 12 months, and now the owner has switched it to us.

“The difference between this aircraft and our King Airs is significant. The King Air has a range of about 1,350 nm with a ceiling under 30,000 ft while the Nextant is just a phenomenal performer with a ceiling of 45,000 ft. It cruises at 465 kts and has a range of over 2,000 nm; it’s in a totally different league. The aircraft has caught on like wildfire with our existing clients.”

Equipped with a spacious cabin, the remanufactured Hawker has been zero timed and has Williams engines that extend its original range. “The interior is good, and clients are very pleased,” adds Palser. “We are saving almost an hour in journey times on some of the trips we now do down to Faro and southern Spain, Majorca and so on. We have been out to Malta without a fuel stop too.”

He is considering another aircraft of this type, and hints that he will be working towards the ideal ‘clutch of three’ aircraft that he has with the King Airs, in order to offer maximum coverage: “Three is an ideal number, because if any one of them is in maintenance, we’ve still got two, which can do 90 per cent of the turboprop work that we get offered. We now need to have one or more jets to add to the Nextant to give us the same availability. I’ve no doubt that there is significant demand for it, especially in Cardiff.”

DragonFly obtained its own AOC in December 2014 and has had a number of approaches from customers seeking management since then. “We have more offers in the pipeline, but I am reluctant to says much about these at the moment, because there is always so much talk in this industry,” he jokes.

Some of the Nextant’s existing freelance crew have been drafted in from SaxonAir, and DragonFly’s chief pilot Simon Robinson has also been retrained and type rated, with another crew member set to follow suit.

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