Single-engine turbine aircraft were approved for commercial use in Europe on 1 March 2017. Get1Jet, a young company based in the south of France, was one of the first operators in Europe to recognise the PC-12’s potential for charter flights. Its new PC-12 NG has been operated commercially since November 2017. Pilatus Aircraft Ltd
Jean-Baptiste Paris worked as an engineer with an oil company in the south of France before setting up Get1Jet. His personal experience of business travel was largely unsatisfactory, the main problem being inefficiency. “Getting from the south of France to some of the more distant European cities took a long time, the flights were expensive, and we often had to change several times, which is very inconvenient.” This fuelled the idea of offering a service for local business people who travel regularly, but not enough to justify having their own aircraft. Following a market study and meetings with local business representatives, Jean-Baptiste and his father, Jean-François Paris decided to go ahead with the adventure of setting up Get1Jet.
A long wait for approval
Get1Jet was initially focused on buying a jet. In spring 2016, however, it became apparent that the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) was about to approve single-engine aircraft for commercial operations, and the PC-12 NG suddenly became a very interesting option. “This aircraft is more economical than a jet and also offers the unique advantage of being designed for use on short, unpaved runways,” Jean-Baptiste explained. Numerous meetings with RUAG, the Authorised Pilatus Centre for France, prompted the directors of the new company at Le Castellet (LFMQ) to opt for a brand-new PC-12 NG.
The aircraft was delivered in May 2017. It would take another six months, however, before the authorities were ready to issue the AOC (Air Operator Certificate) required for commercial operations. The time was spent gathering documents and collecting information to meet the various requirements imposed by the French aviation authorities: for the responsible section it was the first ever application for a commercial licence for a single-engine aircraft. Therefore the legal text had to be interpreted and there were many questions to clarify. The AOC was finally issued on 21 November 2017 – a major achievement for the young company that was duly celebrated in Le Castellet!
In pole position for the French Grand Prix
Commercial operations have got off to a promising start. Connecting flights are one of the company’s strong points: there is great demand for flights from the larger airports to destinations with shorter runways, some of which are simple grass surfaces. Flights are planned and handled by a team of seven. The company occupies a hangar and two offices at Le Castellet Airport.
Get1Jet is excited to look forward to an important event at its home base this summer: the Paul Ricard racing circuit is located right next to the Aéroport International du Castellet. Built in 1970, the circuit was home to the annual Formula 1 French Grand Prix until 1990. After a long absence, Formula 1 is returning to Le Castellet for the next five years at least. This year’s Grand Prix will take place on 24 June 2018 and Get1Jet is obviously planning to offer its services for this major event.
A pilatus fleet is born
Get1Jet always knew that a second aircraft would be essential for serious commercial operations. Delivery of another new PC-12 NG was rapidly agreed with RUAG in January of this year. Like the first, the paint scheme will feature two stripes against a white background, with vibrant yellow representing the sun of southern France. The second aircraft is also equipped with the “EU-OPS Commercial Operation Kit”, which includes all the options required for commercial operation in Europe. That includes, for example, a new emergency system designed to supply passengers with drop-down oxygen masks, as in a commercial airliner. In the alternative PC-12 oxygen system, the masks are stored in the side cladding.
Looking to the future, Jean-Baptiste plans to add a jet to his current Pilatus fleet for greater range, and he already has a candidate in mind …