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Expanding LEA enthuses over trade-up client's choice of popular Challenger 300
London Executive Aviation has expanded its fleet with the addition of one of the first Bombardier Challenger 300s to enter the UK charter market. The Challenger, acquired by an existing LEA aircraft owner, is based at Luton. LEA md George Galanopoulos says the 300, which seats up to nine passengers plus stewardess and crew, features a state-of-the-art cabin entertainment system that includes DVD/CD player, iPod control integration, 20" flat panel monitors, touch sensitive controls at each seat position and real time in-flight map displays.

London Executive Aviation has expanded its fleet with the addition of one of the first Bombardier Challenger 300s to enter the UK charter market. The Challenger, acquired by an existing LEA aircraft owner, is based at Luton.

LEA md George Galanopoulos says the 300, which seats up to nine passengers plus stewardess and crew, features a state-of-the-art cabin entertainment system that includes DVD/CD player, iPod control integration, 20" flat panel monitors, touch sensitive controls at each seat position and real time in-flight

map displays.

Galanopoulos says: "The Challenger is fully available for charter and fills a niche in the LEA fleet between the midsize Citation Excel and large cabin Embraer Legacy."

From London its 3,600 mile range gives non-stop access to destinations such as Moscow (three hours 10 minutes), Jeddah (six hours) and Lagos (six hours 30 minutes).

"It is capable of operating from runways as short as 1,300 metres, allowing it to serve a wide range

of destinations."

Galanopoulos adds: "The Challenger offers outstanding operating efficiency, a spacious cabin and one of best entertainment systems in a business jet. It is a good choice as a working charter aircraft and we have no doubt that it will prove popular and deliver a very satisfactory income for its owner.

"This is an excellent time for owners wanting to charter out their aircraft, the market is good and we expect it to remain so for the foreseeable future."

The Challenger has been purchased by an LEA client who decided to upgrade to a larger aircraft. His existing Citation Bravo has been operated by LEA for over three years and remains within its charter fleet.

Galanopoulos says: "The secret to customer retention and long and strong relationships is always being responsive to the owner's needs. This applies to day-to-day activities, such as individually tailored management contracts and ensuring that an aircraft is always available, even if the owner's personal plane is being maintained. It also applies to the medium term. Most of our owners start with a smaller aircraft before gradually upgrading to larger models as their circumstances change and we are able to help them take each step.

"By helping the client choose the right aircraft we are able to guarantee a healthy charter income, typically 400 to 500 hours per year, that both offsets most of the owner's private usage and contributes towards the cost of capital.

"The only significant challenge we face is the long delivery times for new aircraft and a limited supply of good pre-owned models offering good value. Most manufacturers have a two to three year waiting list and buyers are simply not prepared to wait that long", he continued. "Our solution is often to help them find a suitable 'interim aircraft' while they are waiting for their new order and, again, this is an area in which we have had a lot of success."

The LEA fleet now includes four Citation Excels, a Citation Bravo, three Citation IIs, two Embraer Legacies, a Challenger 300, two Beechcraft King Airs, two Navajos and two Senecas.

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