UK charter operator Gold Air International is acquiring two Bombardier Global 5000s as it seeks to expand its client base and exploit the burgeoning demand for intercontinental transport.

The Biggin Hill, London-based operator is also planning to expand its aircraft management business to include scheduled maintenance and a 24h flight operations centre.

The acquisition of the two large-cabin Global 5000s, scheduled for delivery in 2008 and early 2009, is a departure for the operator, which has primarily focused on the flourishing European charter market that it services with a fleet of six Learjet 45s, three of which are owned privately and operated by Gold Air under lease. “When we began operations we pledged to replace our fleet every five years. We are now in the process of upgrading five 45s to the latest XR model,” says Gold Air managing director Will Curtis.

Three Learjet 45XRs have been handed over and the two remaining superlight aircraft are scheduled for delivery this week and in August. Curtis says the appeal of business aircraft to private individuals and companies of all sizes as a means of transport has never been so strong. “The aircraft are in regular use. Each aircraft averages around 800h of flying a year,” he says.

Gold Air’s position as a Bomb–ardier Skyjet International operator has helped to boost its business although the Farnborough-based charter provider has not committed to using the Global 5000. “Large-cabin business jets are not part of Skyjet’s European/Asia programme, but the US arm of the company is interested,” Curtis says.

While transatlantic operations are expected to provide a key component of the Global 5000 charter offering, Gold Air is also looking to the Middle East and developing markets of South-East Asia and Russia. Curtis says: “These markets will be mature by the time we take delivery of the aircraft.” He says as the market grows Gold Air may expand its fleet through the acquisition, or management, of mid-size and large-cabin aircraft, such as the Challenger 300 or 605 and Dassault Falcon 2000.


Source: Flight International