Poland's Direct Fly, in collaboration with UK-based air charter broker One Charter, is basing a Twin Star DA-42 at Oxford airport for air taxi operations. Its target clientele will include disillusioned longer distance first-class rail travellers.
"It is the first Twin Star to be based at a UK airport for air charter and Direct Fly will fly the aircraft under its newly acquired EU operations certificate," says Air Charter ceo Mike Ryan.
The new build, four-seat composite aircraft is designed for three passengers and a pilot. With a cruise performance of 188 mph it combines outstanding safety, excellent economics and is environmentally friendly and fuel efficient, Ryan says. "You travel at Formula 1 speeds but achieve typically 25 miles per gallon. The aircraft is ideally suited for flights up to 350-400 miles, but has a range of 897 nm."
The DA-42 aircraft can operate at night and in IFR conditions and is fitted with Garmin G1000 avionics. Direct Fly launched as a regional airline flying domestic routes in Poland using the Saab 340. The company is 100 per cent owned by aviation investment specialist AerFinance plc which launched an IPO on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in February 2008.
Ryan says One Charter will be marketing the aircraft to its clientele throughout the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, and to destinations within reach of the UK in continental Europe. One Charter will also offer positioning flights to other, smaller airports such as Blackbushe and Fairoaks in Surrey, plus Cranfield and Stapleford in north London.
Charter prices will be generally lower than the Piper Seneca on most runs and, to date, typically the lowest cost air taxi offering in the UK, Ryan says. For example, one way flights from Oxford Airport to the Channel Islands based on three passengers will be available for a total of £895 - "less than £300 per passenger."
Ryan says: "In this current economic climate, clients are thinking about whether or not to charter for short distances. With the Twin Star we are not only offering the lowest price aircraft for time-pressed executives, but we will appeal to those who want to respect the environment too."
He points out that it takes typically two railway station changes and a journey of well over five hours to get from Oxford to Newcastle at a standard first class return rail fare of £416. "On the Twin Star, three passengers can be flown there in just over an hour and a half at a cost of £430 per passenger."