Where others fear to tread
With 50 aircrafts, Executive Turbine has the largest privately owned fleet in South Africa. They operate in the medium-sized aircraft market, with aircrafts varying from eight to 100-seaters.
Executive Turbine Holdings include a contracts division, a charter division, a maintenance division, an airline service, a travel agency, and also a division that buys and sells aircrafts.
Executive Turbine provides dry leases to companies who have their own pilots and take care of aircraft maintenance themselves, such as national carriers. In such cases Executive Turbine provides the aircraft and insurance. They will also paint the aircraft in the colours as specified by the customer. Another very popular lease option is the so-called ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, Insurance), where everything is provided on a long-term lease. This kind of lease is usually taken out on 19-seater aircraft, and is very popular with oil companies, as these aircraft are very specialised, and can be used in difficult to reach areas, or areas with short or unpaved landing strips.
This division again provides long-term contracts, or once-off arrangements as needed. A charter flight will provide the traveler with everything a commercial flight offers, only with exclusive attention to the traveling party. Mining companies in particular find this service to great advantage, and usually sign long-term contracts. This ensures that employees can fly directly to their destination, however inaccessible to commercial planes, without compromising on comfort.
Executive Turbine not only does the maintenance on their own aircrafts, but also for third parties. They have an engine workshop where they overhaul the PT6-series engines, and their facilities enable them to do all but very specialised maintenance on their premises. A lot of companies send their engines to foreign engine overhaul facilites to be overhauled, which costs them hundreds of thousands in foreign currency. Since Executive Turbine has the facilities and expertise to do this themselves, they are very cost-effective by comparison.
Air Travelmax is Executive Turbine’s airline service, which currently operates between Lanseria and Vilanculos, catering for the South African tourism market, as well as oil companies with interests in the Vilanculos area. The fact that it is a direct flight, with aircraft being able to access difficult landing sites, makes Executive Turbine a popular choice. Four additional South African destinations will be announced in a few months. These destinations will not compete with those being serviced by bigger airlines, but will be areas where there is a demand for air travel but no accessibility for bigger planes, or poorly serviced by other smaller operators at present.
Executive Turbine’s travel agency, ETA Travelmax, is in the business of creating holiday or business travel packages, and promotes charters and destinations serviced by the Executive Turbine fleet.
With South Africa focused on hosting an unforgettable Soccer World Cup in 2010, Executive Turbine will ensure that its service and destinations will contribute to the success of marketing the country as a world-class haven for travelers.
Originally appeared in African Connexion Magazine 2007