By Angel MedFlight Contributor
With an expanding fleet and pilot roster, it's been a very busy start of the summer for business charter flights with Angel MedFlight's Part 135 air carrier certificate holder Aviation West Charters. In addition to owning and maintaining Angel MedFlight's fleet of air ambulances, AWC charters luxurious state-of-the aircraft for business and leisure travel. The company has ramped up its number of charter flights and Flight Operations Director Brandon Kearns says, "It's been a record-breaking month."
Until the Citation X is rolled out, the Learjet 60 heads the company's charter fleet. The jets that Aviation West Charters owns and operates for charter service have sharp exteriors that feature sparkling paint jobs and clean lines. The Lear 60s have a range of over 2,000 miles and will nicely handle that business trip to New York -- or a week-long vacation to Paris. A mid-size business aircraft, the Learjet 60 has a global mission capability.
A recent Aviation West Charters client rode one of the Lear 60s from outside Chicago to Gunnison, Colo., and was very pleased with the flight and it's Wi-Fi connectivity, a feature passengers will soon find on every AWC and Angel MedFlight aircraft. Flight Department Administrator and Dispatcher Joe Pierce says, "People love the airplane. They really love the high-speed internet. They can keep in touch with everything."
When passengers climb aboard the Lear 60 they'll notice immediately the luxurious and beautifully appointed stand-up cabin featuring plush leather seats and wood veneers. Pierce says the jet can seat seven passengers most comfortably but can handle eight if needed.
The company is also eagerly anticipating the launch of its Citation X, which can handle more passengers and has a longer range mission capability. The Citation X is currently undergoing upgrades and modifications at the Cessna service center in Mesa, Ariz., before it heads to Wichita for a fresh paint job.
Pierce works on scheduling the charter flights and utilizes the online charter booking tool Avinode to locate potential charter opportunities. Pierce says the tool "talks to our flight operation system (FOS) which we do all the quotes through. We can look at a particular day and see that we have an airplane in, for example, Teterboro, N.J., and here's a client who needs a trip from Teterboro to West Palm Beach. So let's put together a quote for them."
Aviation West Charters has a created a brand new e-brochure to help with marketing its charter service. The brochure goes out to prospective clients when they're given a quote. "The e-brochure allows passengers to see the airplane inside and out and read about its features. Plus, there's Aviation West Charters contact information there if the client has any questions about their aircraft and the company's services," says Pierce.
Pierce says there's a lot of buzz about AWC charter jets having Wi-Fi. "It's something that people really look for. A lot of people want to stay in contact with their office and they can go ahead and do what they need to do on the flights," says Pierce.
As for snacks and beverages on the airplane, Pierce says Aviation West Charters can take care of any special needs the client has. "Anything that they want for a beverage, we can do it." AWC uses catering services to create meals for the longer flights and passengers can enjoy full dinners on board with a bottle of wine. The jets are equipped with all of the glasses and silver wear.
The business charter service is highly competitive but where Aviation West Charters has an advantage is in the size of its fleet and the positioning of the aircraft. Pierce says the company may have an airplane that's in the area and, "we may be able to give them a good break on the reposition fee."
Pierce has a large map on the wall in his office that he uses to update the position of the Aviation West Charters aircraft. On this particular day Pierce is looking at a jet in Seattle that's ready to go to Saudi Arabia; one is in Cabo San Lucas and another is in Boston. Jets positioned in the United States and around the world -- exemplifying the global reach of Aviation West Charters and Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance.