Swiss operator Premium Jet will welcome a Pilatus PC-24 to its managed charter fleet next month. Able to land on short and unpaved runways, the aircraft is outfitted with a large cargo door and a 2.5 sqm baggage compartment that is accessible during flight. "The owner decided to buy it having previously owned a PC-12," marketing partner Marcel Wepfer tells EBAN. "We didn't make an analysis or tell him that it was the right aircraft for him. The client really liked the PC-12 and knew exactly what he was doing with the upgrade. He had already bought the PC-24 before he gave it to us to manage.
"I have seen some of the PC-24s and I think that they are beautiful aircraft. I very much look forward to seeing the one that we are going to operate."
Wepfer notes an increase in charter activity of 10 per cent this year. The company currently operates a Gulfstream G550, a Challenger 300 and a Challenger 604. "The G550 and CL300 are flying like crazy at the moment," he continues. "That is not to say that the CL604 isn't busy too, but it does quite a lot of owner flying so we are unable to perform as many charter flights on it as we could with better availability. The 300 and 550 are fully available for charter, so they are out more or less every day.
"We don't make any specific adjustments between the summer and the colder months, but we do always try to plan maintenance in the periods where we do not fly that often. In the case of the G550, although there is a small peak in the summer, that aircraft also flies in October, November, December and January, because it has the range to reach the nice sunny spots worldwide.
"There is a big difference in routes and the type of customer that is choosing the 550 over the 300. The Challenger 300 flies within Europe whereas the G550, which is leased by Premium Jet, flies globally. We are always looking to increase our fleet and we are talking to owners about some potential opportunities."
Former director of maintenance and board member Heiner Bernhard is entering retirement and has been replaced by Roman Aerne. "Heiner was one of the four founding partners of Premium Jet, and we have not yet replaced him in that sense. He remains an owner of Premium Jet but is not working on a daily basis with us any more," Wepfer explains.
Premium Jet's management board now comprises Marcel Wepfer, Daniel Kunz and Fabio Hausammann.