Executive Airlines plans to more than double its fleet to 28 jets, highlighting the spectacular growth of the Spanish business aviation market. The company is one of two firms granted licences to manage the corporate aviation terminal at Barcelona´s El Prat airport. Patricio Zunino, FBO director and commercial director, says: "There is no other business terminal of this kind and size in Spain. It stands comparison with the top class terminals established in other European cities.
"Barcelona airport is well aware of the growing demand for business aviation and therefore decided to allocate a specific area," Zunino adds. "With this initiative, El Prat now can rely with some of the best infrastructure in Spain for business aviation. It will encourage customers who travel to our city on business and therefore expect top facilities."
Juli Lopez, ceo Executive Airlines, explains: "The first phase of our expansion plan was to increase the fleet and this has already benefited from increased capacity and consolidation. The second phase of international expansion will be new bases in the main European capitals. Expansion will then follow in the growth regions of the Middle and Far East.
"In the next two years we will receive 13 more jets," Lopez confirms. Executive Airlines has ordered five G200s, two G450s, three G550s, two G150s and a Hawker 400XP. "Our fleet will then have 21 Gulfstreams and a mix of Falcon, Cessna, Learjet, Hawker and Beechcraft, Lopez adds. "We believe this will give us a very attractive range of aircraft that will meet the growing needs of our client base."
Executive Airlines was launched in 1999 with a Falcon 900EX and a Citation Bravo. It added a Learjet 45 and a CJ1 and has since become one of the biggest managed charter companies in Spain.
Its latest addition, a G200, has, says EA, proved an immediate success with demand for charter to destinations including Dubai. The new aircraft takes the number of G200s in Executive Airlines´ fleet to four based in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. "We are focused on medium, long and extra long range aircraft," says Lopez. "Our bases and services are designed to meet the needs of the businessman and we also have leisure demand."
Other aircraft for charter include three G550s, based in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, a GIV-SP based in Madrid and a G150 and Falcon 900EX based in Barcelona. There is also a Cessna XLS based in Gerona, a Learjet 45 in Barcelona and a Citation Bravo that service business from Madrid. Two CJ1 in Madrid and Barcelona complete the current fleet.
Lopez confirms: "The Spanish business aviation market has experienced spectacular growth. Forecasts predict growth for the next five years. Corporations and individuals in Spain first became only gradually aware of the advantages that this kind of aviation brings to their business in terms of time saving, flexibility, safety, privacy. But now day after day there is an increasing demand for business aviation in our country and we know that the aircraft we add will be kept busy."
He adds: "Executive Airlines has a versatile fleet that allows us to meet our clients´ needs for both their business and leisure trips. Lately, the company has incorporated some Gulfstream aircraft with range for overseas trips to the main financial cities of the world as well as top tourist destinations. Leisure trips usually take place in holiday periods."
Executive Airlines advises on purchase. Lopez says: "We help our clients decide what jets are best suited to their needs, taking into account factors such as the number of hours they wish to fly, the operations base, the number of passengers, projected destinations and budget as well as commercial management of the aircraft for third parties." Executive Airlines then provides a full management service.
EA has vacancies with the operations and technical management currently recruiting. But: "Every department of the company determines its own criteria to recruit the staff, in accordance with our operations manual and the standards set by the company. We continue to recruit professional personnel with the aim of improving the quality of service, increasing customer satisfaction and offering wider commercial service wherever possible." Lopez adds: "The business is constantly growing according to the number and quality of the jets operated. We believe that our numbers and flight hours from the past years, as well as the prospects for 2008 show a very positive evolution.". Last year we exceeded 5,000 flight hours, although some jets were added to the fleet at the end of the year, and this year we believe we will fly twice as many hours."
More fleet expansion is planned. "We are only announcing aircraft that will be arriving because of firm agreements," says Lopez. "However I can confirm that, due to the spectacular growth of the company, negotiations for new additions are taking place." Aircraft added to the fleet are usually new with less than 15 per cent of the current fleet pre-owned. "We have also expanded our range of services, integrating other businesses that form part of the chain of executive aviation services, such as handling, operations and flight planning."
Executive Airlines is planning 10th anniversary celebrations as it consolidates business among clients including high net worth individuals and the stock market listed IBEX 35 companies.