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Business Air News Bulletin
Business Air News Bulletin
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Starspeed reports charter on upward path
Starspeed is facing persistent questions about the UK's upcoming departure from the EU. For now though, its ad hoc flying is healthy, and yacht owners are showing interest in types such as the H145.
Operations officer Tom Bocking, pilot Craig Smith and ops officer Colin Harris.

UK rotary operator Starspeed says that charter this year is on the up but concedes that the market for management is somewhat stagnant.

"The general impression is that enquiries are increasing," director Simon Mitchell tells EBAN.

"Last year was quite a good year and I think this year is building on that. We are confident, because there are more charter customers than aircraft at the moment.

"We are, however, limited by how many owners there are, and we haven't seen too much of an uptick on that side. There has not been a huge amount of growth in owners wanting to invest in assets yet. Hopefully that's not too far away."

One owner recently opted for an AW139 to be managed by Starspeed, and that type has been popular for yacht owners seeking transportation to and from their vessel. "We are seeing some owner enquiries coming in, but they do seem to be fairly restricted to people wanting to use them with yachts. The big yacht favourite at the moment appears to be the H145."

Starspeed's summer flying is dictated by major events such as the Ascot, Epsom and Goodwood races where guests require transfers to and from Farnborough, Stansted or Luton. Even when putting these large scale fixtures aside, Mitchell says there has been no drop in the amount of people wanting to visit the UK capital. "If anything, the number of people coming to London is as high as it ever was," he explains. "People do ask about Brexit. We are being asked what we are doing about it and what our plans are. Of course, it's hard to answer that, and it is a worry, because currently our clients can take their aircraft wherever they want, but post-Brexit this may all change."

Mitchell believes that the UK is now in a strong position. "One of the things that can be overlooked is how much foreign revenue business aviation brings per capita to the UK. The vast majority of our aircraft owners are not from the UK. So all of the money that is involved with owning their aircraft is foreign revenue invested here.

"This makes the Brexit question valid: might people need to move their aircraft somewhere else? We are concerned about it, because the longer we say that we don't know, the more likely they are to look at different options. In the UK, for every managed aircraft, there are a number of related businesses so there are a lot of people involved. It will be interesting to see what 2019 might look like."

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