UK business aircraft charter and management company London Executive Aviation (LEA) is poised to become Europe´s first commercial operator of a Cessna Citation Mustang as it prepares the very light jet for service entry early in February.
The Stapleford, south of England-based operator took delivery of the Mustang on 16 January at Cessna´s Independence, Kansas facility, the first of seven Mustangs that LEA has on order.
"We plan to to take delivery of four more aircraft by May and the remaining aircraft in the last quarter of the year," says LEA managing director George Galanopoulos. "We also have three Mustangs on order for a client, which we will operate under management. The first will be delivered this year and the rest in 2009," he adds. The six-seat Mustang is smallest business jet in the LEA fleet which consists of five Citation Excels, four Embraer Legacies, a Bombardier Challenger 300 and two Beechcraft King Air 340 twin turboprops. "We expect the Mustang to open up a new customer base," Galanopoulos says.
"Not only can we gain access to a lot more airports across Europe with the aircraft, it will also lower the entry bar into business aviation by making charter affordable to those customers who haven´t considered hiring an aircraft for business and/or leisure travel before."
Galanopoulos says while the acceptance and image of business aviation in Europe has improved considerably over the past decade, the Mustang´s "understated appeal" will help to boost the profile of this market even further.
"Some people don´t want to be seen in a big business jet for fear of sending out the wrong message to either friends or business associates, so the Mustang will strike the right balance," he says.