July 27, 2005
Nobil Air’s Learjet 35 has generated interest from business clients in Kiev and Moscow and has even transported the Moldovan president Vladimir Voronin and his government officials, since the charter company acquired the aircraft.
It is the first of its kind to be delivered and operated in Moldova, according to general manager Gheorghe Galusca. Nobil took delivery of the aircraft last September. After an inspection, refurbishment to its interior, and the changeover from a European (Italy) to a non-European registration, it began operating two months later.
The refubishment was carried out by Dean Aircraft Interiors in Manchester, UK. “Everything inside was stripped out and all the headlining, side wall panels and seats were stripped down to the bare frame and re-covered in leather,” said managing director Alan Dean.
The aircraft’s interior, which now sports new carpeting throughout, was about 10 years old. It was in the hangar for eight weeks for the refurbishment and maintenance work (as part of its 12-year inspection).
“They [Nobil] are considering bringing it back to us later in the year to have the lavatory moved from one side to the other, but that’s a big paperwork issue and would require an STC.” If the owner opts to have the work done, Dean will work with NEA to acquire the STC and undertake the project.
Galusca claims Nobil Air is currently the only business charter operator with Western-built aircraft in Moldova. There is little competition and, because it is a new service, people are still finding out about it, he says. In order to attract customers, Nobil Air is taking the direct approach by offering charter services to them.
Nobil Air does not try to compete with Russian operators, however, because the number of charter companies there is much larger, Galusca explains.
In response to customer demand, Nobil hopes to acquire a larger aircraft, such as a Learjet 60 or a Challenger, which it will add to the fleet towards the end of 2005 or early in 2006.