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Jet Set and Match

Jet, Set & Match - Luxury, Executive Jet Travel In Scotland

When it comes down to exclusivity there’s no way but up!
Written and researched by Linda Jackson / June 2007

It’s exclusive and pleasurable. Footballers, pop idols, business tycoons, movie makers, and celebrities enjoy it regularly and interest worldwide is rising. This increased interest in private jet hire and executive jet travel is also now very clearly visible in Scotland.

Such is the current demand for the exclusive form of transport that an executive jet is set on standby at Edinburgh airport waiting to match the requirements of any company, businessperson, banker, golfer, angler, merry widow or jet-setting playboy who need to get somewhere – indeed, anywhere – fast.

There’s no hassle, the service is elite, and demand is soaring. As interest in executive jet travel continues to increase so do lengths of check-in lines and security queues at primary airports.

    luxury jet travel scotland

And with the launch this summer of thirteen new services from Edinburgh and seven new services from Glasgow, airports that already handle around seventeen million passengers a year between them, congestion at Scottish terminals is set to rise further.

      luxury jet airborne    

Today’s frequent flyer is all to familiar with check-in queues, lengthy security checks, mislaid luggage, baggage handling strikes, flight delays, cancellations, and many wasted hours in the airport lounges.

Happily for a growing band of air travellers these are conditions they no longer have to endure. Instead these executive jet patrons enjoy security, confidentiality, luxury, and hassle-free departures and arrivals using local airports or business air terminals, whilst benefiting from efficient jet charter services that offer the convenience of arrival just minutes before departure, the flexibility of changing airport if one is fog-bound, and the ability to achieve in one day what might have taken two or three days on a commercial flight route. 

Signalling the rapid growth in the business aviation market in Scotland, www.netjetseurope.com - the leader in European business aviation increased its presence at the start of 2007 with a new crew gateway in Aberdeen (they already operate one in Edinburgh) in the hope of attracting more Scottish pilots to work for them. NetJets Europe can operate out of sixteen Scottish airports, and made almost 2,000 flights in and out of them in 2006 - up by over 40% from around 1,400 in 2005. This figure almost matches statistics recently disclosed by BAA which show a combined total of private jet flights from their Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen airports increased by 50% between 2001 and 2006 to 7,319, with Edinburgh seeing the fastest increase of an 84% rise. Aberdeen’s executive jet traffic is bound to increase when Donald Trump’s luxury golf resort materialises; the executive jet market at Inverness, the fourth-busiest private jet airport in the UK, has grown by 500% in the past five years; and now Club328, a Southampton-based executive jet hirer, has taken the commitment of basing a fifteen-seater jet in Edinburgh for the Scottish market. Demand for executive jets is undeniably on the up.

executive jet and mercedes     

Someone who doesn’t expect the executive jet to be on standby in Scotland for long is dynamic Mel Anderson, Sales and Marketing Director of Club328 – headhunted recently to reinvent the company. Anticipating an increase in demand with the change in the company’s direction from ad hoc business charter to luxury lifestyle “experiences”, he expects the Scotland-based plane to be spending most of its time in the air... not on standby. “It’s an amazing and exciting market and we are creating an elite brand for the elite passenger” he says. “We respect the market so have made the decision to base a jet in Scotland with the idea to not pass any increased cost on to our Scottish clients in repositioning aircraft.”

 “Club328 will be more service-driven in the future and “experiences” will be very much more novel than in the past. There will be talks and wine tasting on planes; we’ll be offering golf at the best known courses in Scotland but also include a round on a scenic west coast course costing a £5 drop in an honesty box; and a renowned golf professional who has signed a deal with Club328, will also be there on our jets giving golf tuition and accompanying clients.”

Elena Torres Jet entrepreneur

    

Watching the rising demand for executive jets in Scotland during her three years of working in the private air terminal at Edinburgh Airport, Elena Torres, an ambitious Scottish 25-year-old trilingual entrepreneur with a degree in economics, recognised that there was a big gap in the market so decided to bite the bullet and go solo in September 2006, founding her own executive jet hire brokerage business – Exec Air Charter. With insider knowledge and an impressive database of contacts, her business of organising private air charters for corporate and leisure travel to, from, and around Scotland has already taken off.

Concentrating on the brokerage business and jet breaks, Edinburgh-based Exec Air Charter offers the flexibility of ad hoc jet hire; and not being committed to any one company is able to negotiate rates for its clients and provide jets, helicopters and turbo propellers for any number of passengers to and from any destination worldwide.

“There’s been a surge of interest recently for elite leisure activities in Scotland” says Torres “such as hunting, golf on top courses, shooting and fishing - especially from the USA, Russia and Europe. Clients are also looking for out-of-the-ordinary experiences, be it a personal manicurist or hairdresser on their executive jet; a round of golf on an unknown course, or a sea plane transfer to a remote loch. Whatever the wishes of a client, Exec Air Charter can tie it all together and provide a seamless service from limousine pick-up to helicopter drop-off.”

         

Although the company doesn’t have aircraft based in Scotland, business is brisk for Bookajet (which owns a dynamic fleet of sixteen jets ranging from Premier 1 light business jets to the ultra-long range Gulfstream 550) which has seen a 25% increase in charters in this sector over the last twelve months with city executives flying from London to Edinburgh for both business and leisure. “Our leisure route is important: we fly a lot of people to Scotland” said Ashley Namihas from Bookajet. “Golfing breaks in Scotland are particularly popular with our clients, as well as fly fishing, deer stalking, and grouse shooting. Our Premier 1 light business jets are ideal for golfing breaks - they easily take five people and five sets of golf clubs and cost around £8,000 based on a weekend return from Farnborough to Edinburgh.” 

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Eddie Allison, Managing Director of Ocean Sky’s burgeoning satellite at Prestwick,  reckons he has the best job in the world and, even after 30 years in the aviation business, Eddie still gets a kick out of providing a good service and admits to being very excited about the growth of executive Jet Charter in Scotland.

“The fact that companies like NetJets and Club328 are basing planes in Scotland is a clear indication that the aviation providers are taking the Scottish market seriously”.  As one of the biggest air charter brokers in the UK and the largest in Scotland by a long way; Ocean Sky also has two ten-seater planes of its own, a dedicated lounge plus meeting rooms at Prestwick and offers its clients a point system with “rewards” ranging from a couture hair styling, a Glenmorangie Whisky weekend for two, or a St Andrew’s experience for two, up to a baby grand piano, an Arctic Adventure for four, or a MiG flight to the edge of space.

    scottish castles

The introduction of Private Jet Cards and Corporate Cards allows customers to buy block flight hours which start from around £60,000 for 25 hours on a seven-seater executive jet. Bookajet also offers block hours under their JetBlack card scheme: a typical two-hour light jet flight from London-Nice normally costing over £5,500 would be around £5,000 to card holders - clients only paying for actual flying hours. (Ed: approx. sterling equivalents as at April 2007)

luxury jet travel     

Today many of Scotland’s top luxury hotels boast convenient helipads while some like The Old Course Golf Hotel & Spa in St Andrews and the Highland outposts of Luxury Scotland at Inverlochy Castle Hotel and Boath House are ideally located less than an hour’s chauffeured drive from a convenient small regional airport.

Other hotels like The Turnberry Resort, Gleneagles and The Marcliffe are easily reached from Scotland’s international airports.

     

With companies like Ocean Sky, 328 and entrepreneurs such as Elena feeling very confident about their industry’s growth, there is no doubt that executive jet travel is now an essential part of Scotland’s luxury travel scene, providing increased security, flexibility, convenient schedules, and a huge saving on perhaps the most precious of  travellers’ commodities – time.

     

Linda Jackson is a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers and the Golf Travel Writers Association; she is Travel Correspondent for two regional magazines and writes travel-related features for a number of lifestyle magazines, national press, online, and golf publications.

 

Luxury Scotland
Tel: +44(0)1383 825 800 
Fax: +44 (0)1383 825 700
E: jeremy@luxscot.co.uk

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