Japanese membership-based programme Sky Trek is making its debut at NBAA where it is exhibiting alongside its sister company and fellow Setouchi Holdings subsidiary Quest Aircraft.
Sky Trek’s appearance at the show comes on the heels of its launch in August as the only provider of the Kodiak 100 single-engined turboprop in Japan. The Tokyo-headquartered company placed an order in 2016 for 20 of the 10-seat, all-metal types. It has taken delivery of four examples to date and plans to add another six before the end of the year.
One of the aircraft was recently shipped to Hawaii – the most popular tourist destination for the Japanese, according to Sai – where it will support Sky Trak customers flying around the archipelago.
All Sky Trek Kodiak’s are operated by local commercial aircraft providers.
“Our goal is to open up the business aviation market in Japan, where there are very few aircraft,” says Mike Sai, director of Sky Trek’s overseas business division. He adds: “This is a new way for people to get around the country”, where typical methods of transport are commercial airlines, cars and bullet trains.
Sai admits that the Japanese have not embraced business aircraft, as they are largely regarded as symbols of ostentation. With its rugged, work-horse characteristics, the Kodiak is being received in a more positive light, he admits.
“We have secured 100 members already and the interest is growing,” says Sai. “This programme will appeal to people who cannot afford to buy private aircraft, but can afford charter. There's a huge untapped potential.”
The Kodiak is also able to access all of Japan’s 120 airports including Honda airport near Tokyo which has the shortest runway in the country at 720m.
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