UK business aircraft charter company SaxonAir has made its first foray into the VIP helicopter charter market following delivery of a single-engined Eurocopter EC120 and a twin-engined EC135.

The move is part of a strategy by the Norwich-based company to expand its portfolio of services and extend the SaxonAir brand within the UK and throughout mainland Europe.

Expansion is being funded by SaxonAir's owner Klyne Aviation, which acquired the company in May 2009. Since then it has taken delivery of a Cessna Citation Mustang very light jet and a Beechcraft King Air 350 twin turboprop.

A Hawker 400XP light jet will be added to the fleet in March, when a second undisclosed UK base is due to open, says SaxonAir managing director and founder Chris Mace.

"We have seen a gradual improvement in business over the past 12 months, so we are expanding the company in preparation for a full market revival," Mace says. He adds that the economic downturn paved the way for SaxonAir to acquire new-generation aircraft "at prices that were unheard of" less than two years ago. "This has been a key driver for our expansion," Mace says.

The helicopter service will focus on VIP charter, with flights operated under London Helicopter Centre's aircraft operator's certificate.

Source: Flight International