June 8, 2017:
Czech operator Time Air has added a fifth Nextant 400XTi which it displayed at EBACE last month. “I don't think we have a specific number of aircraft in mind as a target fleet size,” says project manager Vaclav Stransky. “Our business model is that we can operate any aircraft that makes economic sense for the client and for us. What we have to think about now is the crew. We have so many charter requests and so much demand for flying that we are always juggling our human resources.”
The company took delivery of its first Nextant in 2012 and since this time it has flown more than 8,300 hours, at an average of 750 hours per aircraft per year, which is quite heavy usage for a light jet. “Sometimes over the summer we have times where we put well over 100 hours on an aircraft in one month, which is really busy,” continues Stransky.
“Average leg duration can be anything from an hour and a half to four hours. With this kind of range we can cover the whole of Europe. We can fly from northern Europe all the way to Gibraltar or Faro. So the Nextant has good range, and we have been able to place it in the market so that it can float around rather than be at a fixed base. We have the home base in Prague, but we have been able to optimise the legs so that we can go where the business is. We are often in Stockholm, London and Nice, at times when Prague is not advantageous in terms of positioning.”
He says that the majority of Time Air's customers were Czech in the beginning, but the balance is now 90 per cent foreign customers and 10 per cent Czech, with two out of the five aircraft owners being western Europeans.
He adds: “Over time we have improved the business model and we have constantly maintained a strong relationship with Nextant. We have decided that we would like to offer future owners a scaleable programme [the Greytscale programme] where they come to us and we find a solution for their flying. Nextant has been the platform on which we have been able to do it and the formula works.
“We now have the capacity from the owners to let us charter their aircraft out, and by doing this we can reduce the cost of ownership of their aircraft to just the direct operating costs, meaning fuel, ATC and maintenance. This was an attractive proposition from the start, and has been a good sales pitch to convince new owners to join us. We would like to make a little step up to higher range aircraft, where we are confident that we can do the same for the owners again. They can share their needs with us and how they want to use the fleet, and we will find the right aircraft and sell it on the market.
Stransky says that taking a Time Air jet to Geneva saved the manufacturer from having to bring one over from the US. “But this was not the only reason we took it,” he explains. “We have been able to showcase it to brokers; they can see what they will be selling. It is one thing to see the pictures and hear the feedback from the client, but when brokers physically see it they become very comfortable in promoting it to the market.”