Indian fractional ownership operator Club One Air is mulling the acquisition a VIP-configured airliner that will be targeted at the luxury end of the market, with 25 seats, a conference room and a presidential suite.

Manav Singh, managing director of the New Delhi-based company, is holding talks with fractional owners to gauge the market potential for this size of aircraft and says a decision on whether to proceed with the purchase will be taken within three months. Singh says the growth of large group transport in India is driving demand for large cabin business jets. Burgeoning markets include financial roadshows and group holidays, while the business and private travellers are also demanding the increased comfort that a large cabin provides.

Meanwhile, India’s state-owned helicopter charter operator Pawan Hans Helicopters has become the latest victim of a staff exodus and poaching by privately owned airlines and business aircraft operators. This practice is now rampant in India’s civil aviation sector and many operators are faced with a crippling shortage of pilots, ground crew and engineers, threatening to disrupt services.

The hefty renumeration packages being offered by the private sector are luring Pawan Hans staff to a number of companies including Go Air, Kingfisher Airlines, and helicopter charter operator Global Vectra. Pawan Hans is tight-lipped on the number of staff it has lost to the private sector, but a source puts the figure at around 25 in the last three months. The New Delhi-based company says it is yet to devise a strategy to halt the exodus of talented staff.

Source: Flight International