The Calgary based fractional operator is starting to undergo a transition as it moves from using the Pilatus PC12 to having the Citation CJ2+ as one of its core aircraft.
AirSprint is the largest fractional provider in Canada and has been in operation since 1999. They will use their CJ2+ light jets to grow their fractional aircraft services in North America. The CJ2+ aircraft will replace AirSprint's current Pilatus PC12 turboprop aircraft during the next 24-30 months.
"Our clients are very pleased with the balance of range, speed and efficiency that the CJ2+ offers as an alternative to our current fleet of Pilatus PC12 turboprop aircraft," said Chris Richer, President of AirSprint.
The AirSprint fleet in Canada already includes seven Citation XL/S mid-size jets, which they first started to add in 2003. AirSprint also started a US business last year, with the opening of an operational hub based in Scottsdale, Arizona. The company has two PC12s in the US and Chris stated that "it's likely that we will start the conversion of US customers to the CJ2 in Q1 2013".
One of the biggest benefits of using private aircraft is the time saving that they offer. Clearly moving from turboprops to light jets enhances this saving – the cruise speed for the PC12 is around 270 ktas, whereas the CJ2+ has a maximum cruise speed of 418 ktas. The flip side of this speed is that the CJ2+ is more expensive, so Airsprint will be asking for more capital from their owners as each one transitions to the CJ2+.
Similarly the hourly cost to fly the CJ2+ is about 25% more than the PC12, but because the jet has a much higher speed there is not a significant increase in the actual flight cost. Or put another way, as Chris said, "someone who flies 100 hours a year on the PC12 would now only fly around 75 hours a year on the CJ2+ because of the speed difference between the two aircraft."
Both of these aircraft can accommodate up to seven passengers and have a comparable range of about 1,600 nm (depending on load, weather etc), so are comparable on these other key factors.
"We want to remain a boutique player, focused on regional solutions" said Chris "Our clients are innovators, company builders, philanthropists and leaders in the local and global community, the CJ2+ will aid them in making those endeavors a great success. We are continuing to focus on safety, personalized customer service and making this transition in partnership with our clients. AirSprint's experience with Cessna and Innotech-Execaire in the operation of seven Citation Excel/XLS mid-size jets gave us great confidence that we have the backing of a strong manufacturer."
The pricing for a 1/8 fractional interest (100 hours) in a CJ2+ is an initial purchase investment of $893,125, followed by a monthly management fee of $13,966 and an hourly operating cost of $1,744. The overall effective hourly flying rate comes out to $3,420 per occupied hour. The only other costs are any fuel surcharges (if applicable), and any special catering or ground transportation. CJ2+ owners can also exchange some of their hours into the XL/S for longer flights.