A "flying doctor" who specialised in turning round ailing companies and a paragliding marine biologist have founded a new UK charter company using a concept inspired by their work experiences.
Diamond-Executive Aviation, which launched with two Thielert engine-equipped DA42s, intends to expand its fleet in the coming months. Peter Bondar, ceo and accountable manager, says: "We plan to acquire another DA42 of similar specifications immediately and a DA42 NG with Austro engines by early summer. We also plan to add a Cessna 206 during the spring of 2010 which will be useful for short and soft field operations."
Bondar spent around 10 years travelling the world to help companies that ran into financial trouble. "I used my aircraft as much as I could to travel to where the businesses were and to associated meetings. This gave me the idea for the launch of an air taxi service designed for senior management who want to transact business in a day that normally would take a two or three day trip by scheduled airline."
Pilot and co-founder Chris Dawes has a PhD in marine biology and ran Derbyshire's Darley Moor airfield for 15 years. He was a consultant for 18 years travelling constantly to set up aquaculture facilities for multinationals in remote regions. "While travelling I competed internationally as part of the British paragliding team and this introduced me to all forms of aviation. I flew myself around remote islands in hired Cessnas and Pipers which I found was the most efficient way to get myself and samples around. This is where the seeds of an air taxi lifestyle were sown - out of necessity!"
He says the Darley Moor airfield is still the only dedicated flight park in Europe committed to providing full-time tuition from career instructors for all forms of hangliding, paragliding and microlighting.
Bondar and Dawes have taken the original air taxi concept further than first envisaged. Bondar says: "Our diverse charter company will offer regional on-demand services from local airfields to serve the local community with an initial catchment area of Yorkshire, Teesside and East Midlands. In addition it will offer regular ad hoc air charter via Avinode and brokers as well as special missions in the calibration and surveillance markets. We are also equipped to offer HDTV filming for film production organisations."
Bondar estimates that typical mileage will be around 14,000 per month per aircraft. The DA42s, Bondar says, are very capable, offer a good range and can meet diverse passenger requirements.
Diamond-Executive Aviation has just completed its first phase of recruitment as it readies the company to operate the three DA42s, two with AE300 upgrades, and a Cessna 206.