UK business aviation services provider Ocean Sky is planning to double its large-cabin business jet fleet by the end of 2009 and expand its portfolio of companies as it strives to become a member of "super league" of charter operators in Europe.

The London UK-based company was launched in 2003 as an aircraft broker. By the end of 2005 Ocean Sky had expanded into business aircraft services and now runs two fixed-base operations in Manchester - formerly Northern Executive Aviation - and Prestwick, Scotland and has a fleet of 12 aircraft - five of which it owns. Ocean Sky is also planning to nearly double its turnover this year to €110 million ($165 million) from €60 million in 2007.

"The demand for large-cabin aircraft is very strong and we hope to have more than 20 of these types in our fleet by the end of 2009 [a mixture of managed and owned aircraft]," says Ocean Sky chief executive Kurosh Tehranchian. "The demand is mainly coming from the Russian markets," he says. There, the rising cost of oil has helped to propel the wealth of oil industry executives to record levels.

Tehranchian says around one-third of the fleet will be owned by the company. "If you want to be aggressive you have to have full control of the aircraft. This gives us control, increases flexibility, decreases administration and gives us security during a downturn when the managed fleet could be sold by cost-conscious owners," he says.

Tehranchian admits that ownership is a risky business. "Of course you are fully exposed to market forces and aircraft can depreciate in value. Fortunately the reverse is happening in the moment, with many large-cabin types being sold with a hefty premium."

Ocean Sky G550 
 © Ocean Sky

Ocean Sky has a Bombardier Global 5000 and Gulfstream G550 under management and is poised to take delivery in September of a Global XRS, which will join the charter fleet in October. Ocean Sky's Boeing Business Jet is scheduled for delivery in 2011. "We have also placed a deposit for two Aerion business jets as we believe there is a market for supersonic business jet," Tehranchian says.

At the bottom end of its market the credit crunch is starting to bite, Tehranchian says, as some traditional users of its Bombardier Learjet 40/45 and Citation CJ3 business jets - London-based wealthy individuals who use the aircraft for both business and leisure - are choosing not to travel or are finding cheaper methods of transport to reach their destinations.

Ocean Sky is planning to expand into Europe and says it is actively looking to acquire FBOs and maintenance repair and overhaul companies on the continent. "We are actively looking for opportunities in these areas as it is very difficult to grow these businesses organically," says Tehranchian.



Source: Flight International