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Latvian charterer boosts its distance capabilities
Riga-based charterer VIP Avia has added an owned Challenger 604 to its fleet as it targets growing long distance jet travel demand from Russia. Marketing manager Edmonds Labanovskis said the acquisition took the charter fleet to four aircraft with more purchases planned. "VIP Avia does not intend to limit its fleet to this number. During the next year it plans to purchase at least one more Challenger 604 type aircraft."

Riga-based charterer VIP Avia has added an owned Challenger 604 to its fleet as it targets growing long distance jet travel demand from Russia.

Marketing manager Edmonds Labanovskis said the acquisition took the charter fleet to four aircraft with more purchases planned. "VIP Avia does not intend to limit its fleet to this number. During the next year it plans to purchase at least one more Challenger 604 type aircraft."

Labanovskis added: "The longer-distance capacity is in particular demand from Russia as it is a large country with long distances between destinations."

He said that favoured destinations of customers included the former countries of the Soviet Union, such as the Ukraine, and France, Italy and Switzerland in western Europe. There seemed to be an even split between business and leisure demand.

Labanovskis said that VIP Avia operated three company-owned Hawkers - two 800XP and one 125-800B. In addition it had managed one Challenger 604 for 18 months until last autumn.

He added: "The next logical step was to acquire a Challenger 604 to expand the fleet and step into higher service level. It is very important to offer customers right to choose more convenient aircraft for each trip. They now have the option of a Hawker 800XP or a 604."

Labanovskis said: "Now we can cover a bigger range as the Challenger flies 7000km in comparison to the 4500km of the Hawker 800XP. The wide body and 10 seats gives more comfort for passengers during long distance flights."

He said VIP Avia believed the availability of a Challenger 604 would attract more long distance customers.

"Every day at least one of our aircraft is flying a charter and there are days when they are all flying," Labanovskis said.

The charterer has been operating under the VIP Avia name for around three years but began business 12 years ago with one 125-600. It has built business in the Baltic states, is a member of the European and Russian business aviation associations, and has been the official carrier of the president of the republic of Latvia.

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