By Kate Sarsfield in London

Corporate Jet Service, the parent of UK charter operator Club 328 and Dornier 328 type certificate holder and maintenance, repair and overhaul provider 328 Support Services, is acquiring a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina aircraft maintenance facility from the AvCraft Aerospace administrators as it seeks to bolster its position within the North American market.

Following the acquisition, which is scheduled for completion by the end of the month, the company will restructure its three business units in Southampton in the UK, Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich, Germany and the new US base in an effort to strengthen the company's identity. Mike Farge, chief executive of Corporate Jet Services, says: "The three bases will each assume the new Jets brand. However, our Club 328 charter operation will not be renamed as it has become a recognised name in the industry."

Farge says the USA is a key market for the 328, with over 60% of the 230 in-service aircraft based in the country. "Having the facility in Myrtle Beach will allow us to grow the market in the USA, by offering existing and potential 328 operators long-term and reliable product support for their aircraft."

Aircraft spares for the US-based 328 fleet will be rehoused from BAE's Washington facility to Myrtle Beach, Farge says. The popularity of the 328 is soaring, he adds, with up to three aircraft entering service a month from a fleet of 60 parked 328Jets and turboprops.

Three 328Jets belonging to a privately owned Icelandic firm are now being outfitted in executive configuration in Oberpfaffenhofen, with a fourth scheduled for delivery this week. The first aircraft will have a 19-seat configuration and be operated by Club 328Jet. The remaining aircraft will be fitted with a 14-seat VIP interior.

Meanwhile, Club 328 is planning to take delivery next month of two Beechcraft Premier I business jets. The two remaining aircraft on order are earmarked for service entry by the end of October bringing the total Premier I fleet to six. One aircraft will be based in Oberpfaffenhofen along with a 328Jet to exploit the booming charter markets in Germany and its neighbours.

Source: Flight International