June 8, 2007
SaxonAir Charter has based its fixed wing and rotary launch fleet on a "travel needs profile" built up by servicing the business itinerary of its corporate owner.
"It is through the travel needs of Call Connection and its owner Graeme Kalbraier that we have come to operate both a Beech King Air 200 and an AS355 Twin Squirrel," says operations director Christopher Mace. "Both types of aircraft were selected to best meet the needs of the company and its owner's business travel requirements. And this is a model that matches the requirements of a large number of other business aviation users and will ensure good charter utilisation."
SaxonAir Charter was set up as an independent charter company but also provides aircraft management for the call centre business of Call Connection.
Based in Ipswich, Suffolk, Call Connection has doubled in size to employ more than 300 agents handling in excess of 50,000 calls per week. It uses the latest technology to answer, screen, filter and route telephone calls and operates predominantly within the insurance market, working with major U.K. insurance suppliers.
The Call Connection-inspired business charter template, though, will be developed. SaxonAir Charter has ordered a very light jet for delivery in 2010 and may, in the meantime, also expand its midsize jet capability. "However, in the immediate future, as a new operator in the U.K., we will be utilising our existing owned aircraft," says Mace. "Having both fixed wing and rotary aircraft on the fleet gives us great diversity. Some of our clients will one week choose the helicopter if needing to fly into West London using Battersea Heliport; the next week it is a business meeting to Germany for which the King Air is ideal.
"The King Air will serve both business clients and personal charter, for example taking the family away on holiday at a sensible price."
SaxonAir is excited by the potential of VLJs. Mace says: "We see the VLJ market making private jet charter more affordable and more available to more people. We are developing a package to sell the VLJ idea to individuals and businesses on a management and leaseback basis through our AOC. We will utilise the aircraft when not being used by the owner giving a major contribution to their capital invested. This would also include providing crew and operational support on their own flights. We would take away any ownership worries."
The company is focusing also on activities including air ambulance, survey, photography and filming, from its bases in Norwich and Stapleford.
"The King Air will be operated on Centreline Air Charter's AOC until our own AOC is fully up and running, hopefully within six months. Aeromega will undertake the equivalent with the Twin Squirrel."
Mace adds: "The King Air wins with the cabin: it's got a much larger feel to it than the Citation II or V. Our King Air is fully Raisbeck-equipped including the wing lockers giving a lot more additional baggage space. In fact, it is capable of carrying eight pairs of skis or four sets of golf clubs while keeping the cabin area free for passenger comfort."
Both the King Air 200 and the AS355, he says, are well-known and liked throughout the industry. "Both have good passenger appeal and can perform well in most aspects, including payload, range, runway performance, baggage space, operating costs and support."
The King Air has been undergoing an interior upgrade which involves new leather seating throughout.
"We expect to expand and adapt our business according to client needs. it is important to keep in regular contact with clients and listen to their future business plans in order to move with them and continue providing the level and types of service required for the future."
Mace is bullish about the future. "Business aviation is performing very well at present. The latest series of security alerts on airliners and the associated restrictions have made people more aware about the benefits of increased security involved in travelling on your own private aircraft and the ease of check-in at most airport general aviation facilities. The surge in the flight card programmes has meant more people travelling with card holders and seeing directly the benefits of private charter and subsequently chartering themselves."
He adds: "We are ensuring that we provide a good quality of service with attention to detail, such as knowing the clients' favourite newspaper or bottle of wine. Our crew will look after the passengers and that means a good service and not just sitting up front and glancing back every now and then. The whole charter experience will be customer focused from enquiry to reaching the destination."