Guam-based ACI Pacific has shut down its charter operation and abandoned plans to launch a fractional service, but is expanding its managed aircraft portfolio with the addition of a Challenger 601 leased by Japan’s ITC Aerospace.

ACI chief executive Terry Habeck says ShareJet, a joint venture between ACI and Japan’s Sojitz, ceased operations last year because it could not generate sufficient revenues from its leased Boeing BBJ. Habeck says ACI plans to take delivery of another BBJ at the end of 2007, but this aircraft will be managed for a customer and only available for charters part time.

“We’re no longer doing leased aircraft. We’re only doing managed,” Habeck says. “We think the demand [for charter] is there, but it’s best to have someone who needs aircraft and get extra revenues for them by chartering. To recover the cost of a $52 million aircraft is tough. The problem is if you have one bad month you have a bad year.”

He says ShareJet’s BBJ was averaging 750h a year, but its Asian customer base resisted paying the required $13,000 an hour. ShareJet also briefly operated a Dassault Falcon 50, a Falcon 900 and a Gulfstream IV from a second base in Singapore, but quickly discovered it could also not make a profit with these aircraft.

When ShareJet was launched in October 2003 it had ambitious plans to establish Asia’s first fractional programme, but this also quickly proved to be unrealistic. Habeck says most Asian customers seek a full aircraft and Asia is too spread out to support a fractional programme. “These are huge distances. You need a huge quantity of aircraft to cover it,” he says.

ACI now operates two Gulfstream G550s and one Bombardier Global Express. Its managed fleet will grow to four aircraft at the end of next month when it adds a used Challenger 601 on behalf of a group of Japanese charter companies led by ITC.

The Global Express, which ACI has been operating since last May, is also leased by ITC. ACI, using the customer contacts it developed from ShareJet, is helping ITC market its aircraft. ITC say growing demand for charters from Japanese companies prompted it to lease the Challenger, which will be based in Nagoya and used for regional services. The Global Express is based in Guam and flew 90h in January, mainly between Japan, Europe and the USA.


Source: Flight International