George Antoniadis is president and chief executive officer of PlaneSense, the fractional aircraft ownership company at Pease International Tradeport.
PORTSMOUTH - New, long-flying jets are coming to Plane Sense to complement the fractional ownership airline's fleet currently based on Flightline Road at Pease International Tradeport.
George Antoniadis, PlaneSense president and chief executive officer, said the six Pilatus Aircraft PC-24 jets coming into service by the fourth quarter of 2017, have "faster, longer legs."
"It is going to give us a new flexibility for our clients," Antoniadis said during a Dec. 8 reception to introduce the new planes by way of a mock-up of the plane that showed its roomy cabin for up to eight passengers and its state-of-the-art cockpit for its pilots.
When you think fractional ownership of airplanes think property time shares: Clients of PlaneSense buy a certain number of hours of use of an airplane. The airplane is scheduled, piloted and maintained by PlaneSense personnel.
Antoniadis founded PlaneSense in 1992 as Alpha Flying Inc., changing its name in 2012. Originally based in Norwood, Massachusetts, it provided rental and management of high-performance piston and turbine powered general aviation aircraft. In 1995, the PlaneSense program of fractional ownership was founded with the first Pilatus PC-12 planes delivered in 1995.
In 1998, the company moved to a facility at Nashua Airport then in 2000 it relocated to a facility at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. In 2007, it moved to a new custom built facility at 115 Flightline Road, along the airfield apron of Portsmouth International Airport at Pease.
It has about 40 aircraft - props and jet-engine craft from Pilatus and Nextant Aerospace. The new PC-24s will complement the fleet with more passenger room, finer appointments, faster speed and longer range, all elements that meet the expectations of PlaneSense customers.
"They're very sporty airplanes," said Roy Torres, vice president of flight operations at PlaneSense, "because the business traveler pays for a faster airplane."
Torres described what he called a "concierge service" where a client can call ahead - even the day before - to line up a flight to, say, West Palm Beach in Florida to escape the cold or to ski areas in Telluride or Vail in Colorado to embrace the winter. Torres noted with the new jets the trip to Florida can be direct, where previously with the current fleet a fuel stop would have been necessary.
According to the PC-24's statistics sheet, it has a range of 1,650 nautical miles with two pilots and three passengers.
PlaneSense coordinated about 15,000 flights in 2015 and will likely do a little more than that in 2016 once year-end numbers are in, according to Torres.
He said PlaneSense also arranges charters for those one-off trips to people who are not fractional plane owners. He said he's had several trips for a special occasion, such as a parents' anniversary.
Torres said the plane is outfitted with state of the art weather radar and safety systems that include a heads-up display for pilots so that they know the range and altitude of other craft in their vicinity. The cabin offers 50 percent more room than its current planes, and passengers can enjoy full access to Wi-Fi while on board, even at 30,000 feet.
The plane is Swiss made with jet engines manufactured by Williams International in Michigan.
According to Torres, PlaneSense employs 150 pilots at 17 of its bases. Pilots will need to start simulator training on the new plane at a training facility in Texas.
The reception to introduce the new plane on Dec. 8 attracted city of Portsmouth officials as well as other tenants from Pease International Tradeport. Portsmouth City Manager John Bohenko attended, as did next-door-neighbor Ryan FitzSimons, founder and CEO of Gigunda Group at 139 Flightline Road.
In talking about the new PC-24s, Antoniadis noted, "It's very high-quality manufacturing."
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