Jota Aviation, the aircraft charter and management division of the Jota Group, has acquired its first Avro RJ85, and is seeking to expand its regional airliner fleet to exploit burgeoning demand in Europe for VIP and large group transport.
The Southend, southeastern UK-based company already operates a leased BAe 146-200, and is the largest provider of the Beechcraft King Air 90-series in Europe, with a fleet of four of the type, including a C90 GTx. Jota also operates a single 200-series King Air. The twin-engined turboprops are used for ad hoc charter, and also provide air support to Jota’s motor racing specialist sister company Jota Sport.
The former Brussels Airlines RJ85 (G-CHFE) has been acquired from Falko and is now undergoing a major refurbishment and overhaul at Avalon Aero, based in Cranfield, and the four-engined aircraft is scheduled to enter service with Jota at the end of March.
“The aircraft will be re-registered G-JOTR and configured with a 95-seat layout,” says Jota Aviation commercial director Mike Sessions. “There will also be an optional 50-seat configuration, which we can use for smaller groups,” he adds.
Jota says the market for transporting large groups is growing, with sports teams, bands, concert musicians and car manufacturers undertaking promotional tours using its aircraft with increasing frequency. “Our 146 entered service in late 2014, and by the end of last year it had flown over 800h,” Sessions says.
Jota says it is also witnessing strong demand from Europe’s regional airlines, which are turning to the charter market to provide supplemental lift and aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance services.
“The 146 and RJ85 have a great range and short-field performance,” says Sessions. “They are also approved to take-off and land at restricted, yet desirable airports, such as London City,” says Sessions. “We are on the look out for other aircraft – ideally the same models – to complement the fleet.”
To support its growing regional aircraft line-up, Jota also plans to establish a Part 145 maintenance facility at its base.