Air Solutions, located at Annecy airport between Geneva, Chambery and Lyon, within reach of major ski resorts, has invested in a Beechcraft King Air C90A. The company offers fractional ownership shares in the C90A or a Bell 407. The team worked on co-ownership schemes before under the name of Alpes Helicopteres, but is now looking to go further by forming a separate organisation to run fractional schemes. Training and charter aircraft are operated by Alpes Helicopteres, while Alpes Aero is a flight school.
“We are making French and European territories more accessible than ever for business executives in the area,” says CEO Thierry Tourvieille De Labrouhe. “It is known that the King Air is a leader in performance and efficiency combined with comfort. This is an economic version of jets in comparison to Phenom 300 for example. It is also the world’s most popular twin turboprop for business travel, capable of flying for up to three or four hours very safely. This aircraft means business.”
Air Solutions' King Air can carry up to six passengers, together with two pilots, in comfort in a club style with a lavatory and internal baggage space. The aircraft has hot and cold drinks facilities along with fold out tables.
“We did the acquisition in November, and after three months operating we are very happy with the performance of this type of aircraft,” Tourvieille De Labrouhe continues. “Our co-owners are fully satisfied with their needs, and it offers confidence and simplicity for the pilots. We mainly travel for our co-owners in our regional area, also in the South of France, Nice, Cannes, Marseille, Avignon, in Paris and Bordeaux also; there are some important places for business nearby and Switzerland is very close. We are also able to travel through all European destinations.”
By purchasing the C90A, Air Solutions enables co-owners to travel further, saving time and allowing them to multiply the number of appointments they can attend.
Tourvieille De Labrouhe says fractional models are fairly new in the company's region of operation: “We are far away (one to two hours) from main airports like Lyon or Geneva. Our challenge is to bring this new way of travelling to large corporations who are looking to quickly expand in the Rhône-Alpes and Lemanic area, in Geneva or Lausanne. We are buying a new Bell 407 and looking forward to buying another new Beech very soon, to offer more flying hours to our future co-owners. We can use either the Beech or the helicopter in these contracts, which offers flexibility.
“The challenge is to bring this new way of travelling in a small area, and to remove the cliché of business flights being reserved only for the richest. The culture in France is interesting in this respect. We are operating with experienced pilots that we employ and train twice a year. We are determined to educate our clients about the ease of using smaller airports.”