PremiAir, the UK business aviation company, is making its debut at EBACE in Geneva during 17-19 May, Stand N 843. Group Managing Director, David McRobert, will be helping the team showcase PremiAir’s private jet and executive helicopter management, charter and maintenance services, now located across six UK bases, with a bolstered team, including newly appointed Director of Engineering and Maintenance, Mike Preston, who joined PremiAir from Netjets Europe in March.
The company reports an encouraging increase in business levels across most areas of its business and is optimistic that business aviation will continue to recover through 2011. “We’ve worked hard during the recession to position ourselves well for the upturn and, in particular, the decision to move into private jet operations following the acquisition of the Biggin Hill-based Gold Air operation last summer has been very positive,” said McRobert. PremiAir is now operating three Learjet 45s and a Beechcraft Premier 1 and will have a Hawker 750 joining the charter fleet in a couple of months. “Our charter utilisation has been growing steadily as the business has become increasingly established in the market and we’re now well ahead of our 2011 plan.”
Neil Gibson, who was part of TAG Aviation’s growth in aircraft management for many years, now runs PremiAir’s fast expanding Charter & Management business. With his considerable industry experience of global private jet operations, Gibson and his team are positioned to add large cabin jets to the PremiAir fleet. Bombardier’s Challenger and Global are key types being discussed with owners.
PremiAir Global, the company’s aircraft sales business has also witnessed a major change since mid January. “Revenues from aircraft sales are very nice in 2011,” said David McRobert. “It’s a far cry from 2009 and 2010 and the most popular private jet types are now selling pretty well. Encouragingly, we have seen prices begin to firm as inventory levels fall, particularly of younger aircraft and I think this is bringing more buyers to the market. The executive helicopter market has unfortunately not picked up so quickly, but we have made three notable sales since the beginning of the year and enquiry levels are certainly increasing which is encouraging.”
As business aviation aircraft utilisation improves and used aircraft sales activity rises, PremiAir has also seen increased demand for its maintenance services. “We’ve seen good uplift at our Oxford Hawker Beechcraft Service Centre and also at our Biggin Hill Learjet facility,” explained Director of Engineering & Maintenance, Mike Preston. “With aircraft now changing ownership again it is also bringing opportunity and our Part 21 Design Organisation has also been working hard on aircraft refurbishment and upgrade projects commissioned by new owners. We’re at nothing like 2006/2007 levels, but it’s great to see the change.”
With the 2012 Olympics now just 14-months away, the major update of the London Heliport, operated and managed by PremiAir, has also been very timely. Completed in July 2010, ‘London’s Vertical Gateway’ is the first integrated hotel-commercial heliport solution in the world, providing world-class business aviation facilities in conjunction with the aviation themed Hotel Verta, which provides all the services you’d expect from a boutique luxury hotel.
“The London Heliport remains the capital’s only licensed commercial heliport,” said David McRobert. “It provides a vital communication link into the West End of London and we’re delighted to see this remarkable vision to fruition. The Olympics is already a huge focus for the Heliport and also our Executive Helicopter charter fleet. Our Sikorsky S76 fleet is already booked heavily for ‘exclusive use’ clients during the period of the Olympics and many of the big fleet jet operators are now booking helicopter transfers into The London Heliport at popular times recognising that availability may soon be an issue. Their challenge is predicting exact transfer timings so far in advance, particularly if there is going to be the added complication of slot restrictions around London’s business aviation airports.”
PremiAir has been operating for more than 30 years, providing charter and management, aircraft sales and acquisition, and maintenance services for fixed wing and rotary aircraft. Located across six bases (Farnborough, London Oxford Airport, Denham, Biggin Hill, Blackbushe and The London Heliport) with over 200 full-time employees, PremiAir’s fleet comprises eighteen executive helicopters and four private jets.