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Private jet operator sees Bermuda uptick

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A luxury private jet operator is banking on soaring interest in flights to Bermuda.

New Hampshire-based PlaneSense said it had received a lot of enquiries from wealthy customers keen to use its fractional ownership jet fleet to get to the island.

David Verani, vice-president of sales and marketing, said: “Our owners have shown a tremendous interest.

“We are seeing an uptick more and more — that's one of the reasons we've announced we're flying to Bermuda.

“There is huge interest, especially as you guys are having the America's Cup there.”

The company has expanded its fleet to include three Nextant 400XTi jets and has ordered six high-tech Pilatus PC-24 jets, worth around $9 million each and due to be delivered by the last quarter of this year.

Mr Verani declined to discuss the cost of fractional ownership and said it depended on the size of the share, the amount of hours flown and the aircraft type used.

He added: “We typically don't give a number. It's a fraction of a whole ownership cost. That's why the market embraces us because it's a much more economical way of flying privately.”

But reports in aviation magazines last year said a one-eighth share in a long-range Pilatus PC-12 turboprop plane cost $639,000, plus a monthly management fee of $9,924 and an occupied hourly rate of $754.

Mr Verani agreed that the type of client who used PlaneSense was the kind of wealthy tourist and businessperson Bermuda aimed to attract to its shores.

He said: “No question about it. They are wealthy businesspeople, retired businesspeople. It's pretty much some who fly for leisure and some flying for business purposes as well. It depends on what their needs are.”

Mr Verani said that PlaneSense had already flown clients to the island, starting from last fall.

And he added: “We anticipate that number will be much higher as things start to warm up on your beautiful island.”

And he said that the firm would fly clients from Bermuda to the US if asked.

Mr Verani added: “If there was someone who bought a fractional share, we could provide that sort of service for sure.”

PlaneSense will fly fractional owners from any airport in the US, although fuel stops may be needed for flights starting further away from the east coast of the US.

Mr Verani said: “Any airport the Nextant can fly from, we can fly from. In some cases a fuel stop will be necessary in other cases it won't be.”

The company has also added Cuba to its roster of destinations as relations between the Caribbean island and the US have thawed in recent years.

PlaneSense has been in operation for more than 20 years and manages the largest civilian fleet of Pilatus PC-12 planes in the world, as well as being the biggest first order for the Swiss firm's new PC-24 jets.

Jet set: PlaneSense CEO George Antonaidis with a full-scale mock-up of the hi-tech Pilatus PC-24 private jet
Luxury travel: The interior of a typical Pilatus PC-24 private jet, set to head to Bermuda with operator PlaneSense

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Published March 10, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated March 10, 2017 at 8:15 am)

Private jet operator sees Bermuda uptick

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