Friday, September 22, 2017

AeroCapital Flight Services: Charter flight company adds new Cessna Citation V at Pensacola International Airport (KPNS)

Richard Simpson, AeroCapital Flight Services vice president and general manager, talks on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, about the company's decision to add another Cessna Citation V to its fleet. 




By the start of November, AeroCapital Flight Services expects its second Cessna Citation V jet to be ready for charter flight services from Pensacola International Airport.

The company, which operates out of the airport's Innisfree Jet Center and launched in 2015, received the aircraft on Tuesday. In October, the jet will undergo an avionics overhaul and possibly an inspection from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Should the company receive all the necessary approvals, Rick Simpson, AeroCapital Flight Services vice president and general manager, said the jet should be ready by November with capabilities for nonstop flights on journeys as far as Northwest Florida to Northwest Texas.




"It seats nine passengers," said Simpson, whose company already owned a Citation V. "Roughly a range of about 1,400 nautical miles. Basically, from here to Lubbock, Texas, is the way I look at it, or to New York City, nonstop."

Since starting the company, Simpson said his customers have included the region's attorneys as well as celebrities who grew up in the area. The company also conducts medical flights to Atlanta and Birmingham, Alabama, to assist in organ donations. Other flights have included transporting business professionals to locations such as New York City and San Diego.

Most recently, Simpson said AeroCapital Flight Services evacuated an attorney and the attorney's friend out of Tampa to escape Hurricane Irma. The company flew each individual on a separate flight to Cleveland.

Prices vary for the company's services. Simpson said it depends on the trip's distance and duration. The costs for the flight continue until the jet returns to Pensacola, and customers keep the company in the destination they are visiting overnight. Simpson estimated a trip to Las Vegas for a week could cost $35,000.

"The flight starts and ends here at our base in Pensacola," he said. "If we're just dropping you off, we're going to fly you there, but we still have to get the jet back. So you're still paying for that."

It is difficult to say how much charter flights contribute to Pensacola International Airport's operations. The airport does not track the number of corporate charter arrivals and departures separately.

Dan Flynn, director of the airport, said the flights are tracked as general aviation operations. But he said charter services such as those from AeroCapital Flight Services remain a key component of the airport.




"Corporate charter operations are an integral and important aspect of the overall air transportation alternatives available to the individuals who reside or do business in the region, as this activity provides business travelers an option to meet what may be unique requirements in terms of flight times or destinations," Flynn said.

Moving forward, Simpson anticipates the need for charter services to remain strong in the area. He pointed to his work in the region's aviation field prior to starting AeroCapital Flight Services. He previously worked for a helicopter transport company known as Heliworks.

During that time, he said he noticed a desire for charter services, and he believes that demand will continue.

"I saw a need for a private jet service here," he said. "That's what made us decide to go ahead and do it."

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