Grafair has acquired a Learjet 55 under a management contract. The company, which is based at Stockholm's Bromma airport, took delivery of the aircraft in September but will not begin chartering it
until the end of February, as it is undergoing its 12 year inspection in Berlin.
Company president Bengt Grafstroem believes that Eastern Europe and Russia will most likely provide the lion's share of clients for the aircraft. He expects to charter the aircraft to Swedish and Russian companies flying between the two countries.
"There will be a lot of flights to Russia and the Baltic States. All of us [operators] in Sweden and Finland fly a lot to Moscow and St Petersburg, for example, as it is much bigger market now," he said.
The owner of the Learjet 55 is expected to fly 30 hours per month, with an additional 10 to 20 hours expected from charter, depending on demand. The aircraft joins a Citation II, Citation SII and two amphibian sea planes. Grafstroem is confident that some of Grafair's existing clients will upgrade to the LR55.
The company is due to add another Citation II to the fleet in the coming months. "I own it already," he said. "It's getting the European [requirement] work done now. We will have some new clients who will part own the aircraft, and we expect it to log 400 hours per year, one third of which come from charter."
Though further fleet expansion is planned, Grafair was unable to confirm which aircraft types it may acquire in the future.
With such rapid fleet development, is this indicative of a very strong charter market? "It's indicative of the very nice FBO we have here!" said Grafstroem. "I have the exclusive right by the CAA to operate the FBO here, so all private jet traffic is coming through my building and they really like it here.
"Bromma is a downtown airport, so I can drive to the centre of town in 12 minutes. Arlanda takes half an hour and Skavsta takes an hour."
Grafair's Jet Centre has enjoyed an increase in traffic since opening at the end of 2004, and Grafstroem believes his FBO is attracting many new operators. "We have seen 10 to 20 per cent more [movements]. We have hangarage, our own de-icing equipment, transportation, catering, maintenance services and towing. We have all the ground power, heating - whatever is required.
"Inside the FBO we have briefing rooms, snooze rooms and we offer crew cars and have a big car park
of our own."
Always keen to provide a memorable stay at the FBO, Grafair's Jet Centre features some unusual creature comforts. "It has an open fireplace and even a grand piano, so it's a very cosy FBO. The pilots who would normally pay to use a day hotel room will usually stay here, as we have everything they need."
Grafair has been has active in business aviation for more than 25 years. In addition to business charter and FBO operations, the company offers business aircraft sales and acquisitions services, as well as providing ad hoc management and consulting. It has a parts department specialising in AOG parts with overnight deliveries.