Manu Schmitz, business development executive, Luxaviation Helicopters; Kurt Carlson, chairman and CEO, HeliFlite; Charlotte Pedersen, CEO, Luxaviation Helicopters; Julian Wheeler, director of operations, Heliflite. Photo courtesy of Luxaviation
Luxaviation Helicopters and HeliFlite Shares LLC have formed a partnership for VIP helicopter services in a first partnership of its kind.
Announced at EBACE in Geneva, Switzerland, last week, the deal marks the first ever international partnership among VIP and VVIP helicopter operators.
HeliFlite CEO Kurt Carlson told R&WI how its fleet of 13 twin-engine, dual-piloted helicopters will provide charter service to Luxaviation's fixed-wing assets serving the New York City, Florida and Chicago areas.
The Newark, New Jersey-based operator's fleet of 13 aircraft includes six Sikorsky S-76s, four Bell 430s, a Leonardo AW139, a Bell 429 and an Airbus Helicopters EC165 — all accommodating six to nine passengers.
Luxaviation Helicopters, which acquired Starspeed in September 2017, is a unit of Luxembourg-based Luxaviation Group and was launched in February 2017. Luxaviation as a whole operates more than 270 fixed-wing and 50 helicopters worldwide.
Luxaviation Helicopters CEO Charlotte Pedersen said of the partnership: "HeliFlite, a long-standing VIP operator in the U.S., is a natural partner to Luxaviation Helicopters. The company is renowned for its safety standards and is a Wyvern Wingman and ARGUS Platinum certified operator — the highest safety rating in America."
HeliFlite has taken advantage of a growing helicopter VIP market, growing over the past six years from four to 13 helicopters and establishing bases outside of its New York metro-area headquarters. "We've expanded our business in a controlled manner," Carlson told R&WI, adding that the increasing demand for reliable and safe VIP helicopter charter operations puts the company in a position to constantly evaluate new areas for expansion.