Cotswold business is flying high
PUBLISHED: 12:11 17 December 2010 | UPDATED: 15:18 20 February 2013
The business of private charter flights is really taking off in the Cotswolds
Easy Jet? RyanAir? A solution for budget travel, but if you're less worried about the cost and more concerned about comfort and convenience, the answer might lie right on your doorstep.
Forget crowded airports and lengthy check-in queues: Welcome to the world of the private charter flight.
Glen Moreman, assistant airport manager at Kemble Airport near Cirencester estimates that there has been a 20% increase of business charter flights in and out of Kemble over the last year.
"People like smaller airfields where they can walk in, walk on and fly out with minimum trouble," he says.
Kemble is currently home to two private air charter companies, PropStar Aviation and Direct Aviation - and both companies are upbeat about business.
PropStar Aviation was set up by pilot Ed Hewertson who learned to fly at 21 and was chief flying instructor at Kemble before setting up the business a few years ago. The company runs twin engined propeller aircraft offering both versatility and comfort says Ed.
"A private aircraft is far and away the most efficient way to travel," he adds. Well - he would wouldn't he. But when you look at the facts, he might be right.
If you live close to Kemble Airport, you won't have to add the cost of driving to the airport or car parking fees when you get there. You can also forget the endless waiting around in departures.
However, Ed's vision goes further than just arranging charter flights. He also plans to offer a fleet of small aircraft for around the same cost as running a luxury car. The structure, known as "fractional ownership", was previously only available for business jets. Now he plans to offer Piper Seneca V six-seater twin engine planes, currently the most popular twin engined planes on the market at the moment. These smart little planes can carry as many people and luggage as you can get in a Range Rover.
"PropStar offers quick, convenient and stress-free travel to hundreds of small airfields in Britain, Ireland and the Continent, as well as all the larger airports," says Ed.
"We offer a personalised service which you don't get if you have to fit your trip around scheduled flights. It's like owning your own aircraft without having to worry about things like maintenance and pilot training."
If you prefer helicopters to aeroplanes, over at Staverton Airport near Gloucester, Heliflight can offer trips anywhere in the UK within a 2 hour flight time.
Helicopters are more flexible - according to chief pilot and co-owner of the company, Captain Jon Lane, and perhaps more fun too. He says that the company regularly flies celebrities and sports stars all over the UK.
Pleasure flights over the Cotswolds start at around 700 for a group of four - or 150 for a half hour helicopter flight for one person.
Whatever your preferred method of air travel, if you have the motive, the means and the money, then flying is by far the more desirable experience than four wheels or rail - and admit it, arriving from above looks so much more impressive than coming in by car.