European aircraft management group AllianceJet is expanding its fleet with the addition of a second Bombardier Challenger 605 this month. By early 2023, the company expects to add more aircraft to a portfolio that already includes a Bombardier Global 6000 and Boeing 737.
The Malta-based company was founded in 2020 by Hans Cauchi, who also runs Hans Jet, which arranges flights using Pilatus PC-12 turboprop singles. In July 2021, seasoned business aviation executive Hervé Laitat joined Alliance Jet as a co-shareholder and CEO to implement a strategy of providing highly personalized service to aircraft owners, mainly specializing in Bombardier, Gulfstream, and Dassault Falcon types.
“We’re committing not to grow to a fleet of more than 15 aircraft,” Laitat told AIN. “My philosophy is that you shouldn’t make promises to clients if you can’t give them the time.”
Brussels-based Laitat has spent his entire career in business aviation, joining Abelag Aviation straight from university and remaining on its leadership team after the Belgian company was acquired by charter, management, and FBO giant Luxaviation.
Alliance Jet is now stepping up plans to judiciously grow a portfolio of privately-owned aircraft that it will manage and make available on the charter market. “We are promising a fully transparent relationship with our clients, boutique in the true sense of these words,” said Laitat. “And this approach matters with all our suppliers too, they need to know that you will be loyal. It is important to take the time to anticipate what the owners need and the issues they will face, and to negotiate the right deals with suppliers to pay the right price for the right level of service.”
At face value, conditions should be good for bespoke private aviation services, with new market entrants attracted to a different approach to travel in the post-Covid environment. This has bolstered demand for charter flights, especially as travelers look for alternatives to lengthy delays to scheduled airline services. “In some cases [airline] journeys that should take a total of 3 hours in Europe, are now taking 8 to 11 hours,” he said. “We will see what happens as Covid becomes less important but, for now, demand is very strong for charter.”
However, Laitat also acknowledged the environment is also “quite challenging” due to an exceptional surge in demand that is driving up prices for pre-owned aircraft in a way that can complicate purchase decisions and potentially destabilize the market. “In less than a year, we’ve seen the prices of Falcons and Globals that started at around $16 million go up to $25 million,” said Laitat, who was previously part of the leadership team for the European Business Aviation Association.
“The market is a bit frantic today and this started from last summer with the reopening of the borders [after Covid restrictions],” Laitat told AIN. “The market for [pre-owned] aircraft quickly dried up, so I wouldn’t say now is a good time to buy, but hopefully people will become more reasonable and avoid inflating this bubble.”
In his view, private aviation consumers and aircraft owners have never been more in need of expert and principled assistance. And that, he concluded, is Alliance Jet’s mission and raison d’être.