UK charter operator Club328 is anticipating delivery within six weeks of its second AvCraft Aerospace Dornier 328Jet, as talks continue with the administrator of the German manufacturer to secure additional aircraft.
Mike Farge, new chief executive of the Southampton-based company, says Club328 is re-evaluating its original commitment for eight new 328Jets. "All bets are off and the commitments cancelled," he says. "It is unrealistic for us to expect to get all eight aircraft from AvCraft now. As the company is in temporary administration and actively seeking a new buyer we have returned to the negotiating table."
Club328 took delivery of its first aircraft in August last year and has been overwhelmed by the demand for the 15-seater, Farge says. He adds: "The second aircraft, a 32-seater, will be a valuable addition to our fleet as we are experiencing strong demand for group transport."
Farge is also keen to secure a deal with AvCraft on its 15-seat Envoy model, which made its first flight from the manufacturer's Oberpfaffenhofen facility in December last year.
The unprecedented demand for charter has persuaded Club328 to reduce its regular business flights for members-only airline Club Airways of Switzerland. The strategy allows Club328 to free up capacity on its 328Jet and Raytheon Hawker 125, Farge says, which it operated on an ad hoc basis for Club Airways on its week-day service between Paris Le Bourget and Geneva.
Club328 is, meanwhile, "searching" for secondhand aircraft and has identified a 32-seat 328Jet and a 12-seat executive-configured 328 turboprop in the USA. Farge expects the 328 fleet to consist of up to four secondhand and three new types.
Source: Flight International