Airborne of Sweden is weighing up options to add a second aircraft to its fleet, which currently consists of a Jetstream 31. Able to accommodate up to 19 passengers and equipped with a flushing toilet, the aircraft currently performs oil company crew changes, fishing industry support and music tours, and is operated on the AOC of Aero VIP in Portugal.
“We perform ad hoc in Scandinavia for everything you can imagine, whenever people need to be moved from A to B,” says CEO Kaj Egholm, who runs the company alongside flight ops manager Anders Astrom. “We can also fly freight if required, by taking some seats out.”
He says the 19-seat market is quite niche however: “People tend to fly in groups of fewer than 10 using business jets, or they have larger groups, so we are looking for an aircraft that has 30 seats or more. We do have access to a Jetstream 41, but we don't know if that is the right aircraft, because the 41 is limited in terms of the availability of training, aircraft parts and crew.
“Eastern Airways in the UK was using 41s but they are the only ones in Europe as far as I know, and are phasing these aircraft out in favour of Embraer 145s and Saab 2000s. There are a few operators with Saab 340s and in Sweden it is very easy to obtain parts and engineers for the type, because it has a long history here. So that's an option. But as far as I understand there are some other operators here in Sweden that want to begin operations with the Saab 340, so I'm not sure whether that will be the right choice for us either.”
He has also considered the Embraer 145, which looks promising in terms of price per seat and may even be cheaper to run than the turboprop. “This would work very well for ice hockey teams for the coming season, which will be our focus. The team in our home town has recently got into the Swedish Hockey League, the highest division in Sweden, which is good news for us.”
Egholm started working for a Sveg-based company by the name of Airborne in 1998. After he had worked there for a year, the company was acquired by Skyways Holding and merged with Highland Air and Air Express to form Skyways Regional.
“All of the small companies that Skyways bought were put together, so Airborne disappeared,” he explains. “In 2015 we contacted the old owner of the company to see if the name could still be used. The company didn't exist any more, so then we started our new venture as Airborne of Sweden.”