June 7, 2018:
Luton and Denham-based Jet Exchange has clocked up more than 7,000 flight hours with its privately operated PC-12 turboprop and is looking to add it to its AOC. Pilatus estimates that its global fleet of around 1,500 aircraft has completed more than six million hours in the air, meaning that Jet Exchange's achievement is nearly double the average.
MD Ian Austin states: “With the combination of our PC-12 and AOC experience, adding the type onto our AOC is a natural next step. We've established a solid reputation with owners and brokers thanks to our proficiency and attention to detail. We're looking forward to offering the type to the charter market and providing a new opportunity for current and prospective owners to add value to their asset.”
The company's PC-12 is a regular visitor to airports such as Courchevel, Sion, St Johann, La Mole St Tropez and Saanen.
Certification from DEFRA enables it to transport pets into Biggin Hill, Farnborough, London Stansted and London Oxford airports, with Liverpool and Manchester expected to join this list soon. Jet Exchange also operates a Challenger 604 and holds approvals from the Canadian Transportation Agency and the FAA.
“We are trying to put our name on the map because although we have been going for 11 years, not many people have heard about us,” continues Austin. “We would like to add to our fleet of large aircraft, so that we can stretch our legs. We've had a lot of charter requests that we can't fulfil on the 604 because it has insufficient range.
“We would like to add something in the mid range as well. A PC-24 would be great one day, but in the meantime a Phenom 300 or Citation XLS would be good, for bread and butter flying around Europe.
“The PC-12's short field perfor-mance and cargo door enable us to carry quite unusual and large cargo, and we can operate to airfields with grass strips that jets can't get into. The aircraft is fairly low cost to run, even though it is expensive to purchase.”
Austin would like to add the aircraft to the operator's AOC to open up the market for such trips. “There are so many reasons for having an AOC,” he explains. “You get a little money back when you charter, offsetting some costs for clients.”
As Brexit creeps closer, he senses some uncertainty. “Some buyers are a little nervous about spending capital on buying an aircraft. They also think about the jurisdiction under which they would put it. We don't yet know whether there will be an Open Skies policy or whether a UK AOC holder will be able to charter a flight from Amsterdam to Madrid for example.
“Currently we can fly anywhere in Europe to the USA, but it may be that there will only be UK clearance. Using the PC-12, we can fly to all strips and pre-clear customs at the moment, while in the future we might be going back to how it used to be; only being able to enter and exit through very specific customs areas. That will restrict both us and our passengers greatly. We could move everything and get a European AOC, but ideally we don't want to do that.”