With the arrival in December of an additional mid-size Eurocopter EC155, PremiAir,
one of the UK's leading helicopter charter specialists is now managing a 17-strong executive helicopter fleet, 12 of which are available for charter in the UK. The newly accepted EC155, with its fast
cruise speed of 275km/hr and 810 km range, seats up to six people in wide-body comfort.
Hand in hand with its fleet expansion, a major redevelopment of the London Heliport at Battersea, managed and operated by PremiAir is
progressing on schedule, with the official inauguration planned for Spring 2009. The date will coincide with the heliport's 50th anniversary.
London's only CAA licensed public heliport was acquired by PremiAir's owners, luxury hotel group von Essen, in March 2007 and it
immediately sought planning permission to bring the facilities up to 21st Century standards. The new 14-storey site will include
a 70-bedroom luxury boutique-style hotel. It will also house a state-of-the-art executive aviation facility, providing panoramic views
across the heliport and River Thames, with meeting and conference rooms and VIP lounges, offering an unprecedented level of comfort,
technology, safety and convenience.
"Helicopters are essentially about saving time,"
said Business Development Manager, David Langton, acknowledging that PremiAir's
charter division experienced a 10% increase in demand last year. "More and more discerning travellers are realising the time-saving and
stress-free benefits that point-to-point helicopter charter delivers. We are providing an exclusive service for busy executives whose time is
money, enabling them to schedule meetings at three or four different locations throughout the UK in just one day and be back in London for
dinner with an overseas client. No other mode of transport enables them to do this."
PremiAir is also seeing increased popularity in the use of helicopters for corporate events - including shooting and golf weekends.
Bookings have already been secured for this season's key sporting events, including The Cheltenham Festival, Royal Ascot and the British
Grand Prix. (PremiAir arranged more than 100 helicopter charters during Ascot last year).
The popularity of helicopter travel is reflected in the rising demand for landing slots at the London Heliport, where last summer PremiAir was
forced to introduce a slot allocation system. Slots are allocated on a based on a first come, first served basis, designed to ensure the
heliport complies with its annual movement limit of 6,000 landings. For the longer term, PremiAir advocates the creation of a new heliport site
to the East side of London. "This would be of huge benefit to both the aviation industry and Britain plc, ahead of the 2012 Olympics,"
David Langton said.
Established 25 years ago, PremiAir
flies approximately 4,000 charter hours a year with its
modern fleet of Sikorsky 76s, Eurocopter Twin Squirrels and one Bell 222.
It has 17 Executive Helicopters on management programmes, providing a turnkey service to the owner - either private companies or
other recent news regarding: