29.04.2008

UK's first charter Citation Mustang proves a hit for LEA

The first Cessna Citation Mustang on the UK charter market has proved an immediate success with customers, according to charter operator London Executive Aviation (‘LEA’).

G-LEAI, which is the first of ten Mustangs joining the LEA fleet, began operations in mid February and quickly found favour with customers attracted to its value and suitability for European travel. The Mustang’s low acquisition and operating cost have enabled LEA to reduce its entry price for jet chartering by up to 30 percent. 

The February launch of G-LEAI made LEA the first Citation Mustang fleet operator in Europe.  To date, G-LEAI accumulated over [number] revenue generating hours, flying mainly to continental destinations, with an average stage length of 400 miles.  LEA’s next two Mustangs will enter charter service in early May, with a further two joining the fleet around the end of the month.  Five more Mustangs will enter charter service with LEA between June 2008 and mid 2009, making LEA one of the largest Mustang fleet operators in Europe.

George Galanopoulos, LEA’s managing director, is delighted with aircraft’s introduction.  “We expected a slower take-up for the Mustang, as it is a completely new type on the charter market.  However, customers clearly love it and are entirely comfortable with the more compact cabin, which many have said feels more spacious than expected,” he says.  “The Mustang is ideal for customers who travel in small numbers and want to upgrade from a turbo-prop without paying a premium.  It is also proving attractive to existing jet customers, who may not always need the extra capacity and cabin space of traditional entry-level jets.”

LEA currently has five type rated pilots, with five more in training; it expects to have 20 Mustang pilots fully trained by September 2008.  Crews are impressed with the Mustang’s simplicity and user friendly avionics suite, says LEA’s Mustang fleet manager Graeme Foley: “The Mustang’s large-format flight displays and integrated sensors provide our pilots with outstanding situational awareness of weather, traffic and terrain.  Safety is obviously paramount and the Mustang’s flight management functionality and FADEC ease pilot workload and ensure simple but safe flying.  Everyone new to the Mustang cockpit leaves it with a large grin on their face.” 

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