As the Beechcraft King Air celebrates its 50th birthday this year, here’s everything you need to know about the world’s favourite Turboprop.

IT’S IN THE TOP 10 MOST POPULAR PRIVATE AIRCRAFT

It’s not only the most popular and versatile turboprop aircraft in the world, but makes the Top 10 of all private charter aircraft, ahead of many private jets. With nearly 15,000 charter departures in 2013, this put the turboprop at number six in charter popularity. Beaten only by the Citation XLS, Hawker 800, the Falcon 2000, Citation CJ2 and Citation Mustang.

RECESSION RESILIENCE

Now owned by Textron Aviation, Beechcraft’s King Air family has shown itself to be more resilient to the recession than many other aircraft types. Due to its cost efficiency, it has gained in popularity with those that previously preferred small and medium jets to props. It has a wide global appeal – trusted by pilots, corporates, governments and private individuals in many territories.

OVER 60 MILLION FLIGHT HOURS

The first prototype of the King Air 90 was flown in 1964 and started production in September 1964. Since then Beechcraft has delivered nearly 7,200 King Airs, logging more than 60 million flight hours all over the world (read more about Beechcraft King Air history).

UNMATCHED ON RELIABILITY AND RUNWAY PERFORMANCE

One of the most popular aircraft in the charter market, the King Air owes its global popularity to its reliability and runway performance (it can land on shorter runways than jet aircraft). But the modern models also offer speed and VIP comfort in an executive cabin environment, delivering unrivalled cost-efficiency for shorter flights.

WHO’S WHO IN THE KING AIR FAMILY

There are several different models of King Air with the King Air C90GTx, King Air 250 and King Air 350i in current production. The most popular model in the charter market is the King Air 200, with other popular models including the King air 90 and the Super King Air 350. In the USA, there are 3621 King Airs (all types) actively flying, with 480 in Europe.

THE MOST POPULAR AIR AMBULANCE AIRCRAFT

As well as private charter flights, the King Air family is also used extensively as an air ambulance for medical and evacuation flights. Beechcraft has built more air ambulances than any other manufacturer, often fitted with specialist equipment. In addition to its low operating costs, the King Air can operate into airports with short runways and grass airstrips.

This makes it a very versatile choice for a wide range of airports and evacuation needs in some of the world’s most remote areas. In addition to its low operating costs, the King Air can operate into airports with short runways and grass airstrips.

THE GREENEST BUSINESS AVIATION AIRCRAFT

The latest King Air model, the King Air 350i is the most fuel-efficient aircraft in the business aviation market. It can take more passengers (nine) on less fuel than any other business aviation alternative, increasing fuel efficiency without compromising on payload. Its VIP cabin environment also rivals executive jets for comfort and innovation.

WHO FLIES BY PRIVATE CHARTER IN A KING AIR?

The most notable primary users and owners of King Air aircraft are the US Navy, the Japanese military forces, and the Royal Flying Doctors in Australia. But outside of military and government use, the King Air is a popular choice for corporate and private users. King Air aircraft have always been popular with PrivateFly’s customers for special occasion and leisure charters flights (where it makes a cost-effective choice per-head for groups and families travelling together). But we are also seeing more business and corporate customers choosing the King Air family for business aviation flights, where it can be a very versatile, smart and cost-efficient choice for business travel.

THE MOST POPULAR KING AIR FLIGHTS – EUROPE VS USA

In Europe, the most popular charter flight routes for the King Air aircraft family last year were Milan to Rome, Geneva to Paris Le Bourget and Nice to Geneva. These are also the most popular routes for all private jet flights in Europe, showing that the King Air rivals the small and medium jets for charter share.

In USA and Canada, the King Air flight distribution is more spread out, mirroring the fragmented and numerous domestic route patterns within North American regions. The most popular routes are different to the key private jet pairings – Top King Air traffic is between Hilo Airport in Hawaii to Honolulu, Calgary to Edmonton in Canada, and Montreal and Quebec.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO CHARTER A KING AIR?

Hourly charter rates on the King Air aircraft vary globally subject to aircraft type, age and specification. Average hourly rates would be £1 050/ $1 664 on a King Air BE90 (6 seats) or £1 150/ $1 822 on a King Air BE200 (9 seats).

For bespoke flight prices on a King Air or any aircraft call the PrivateFly team on +44 (0) 1747 642 777 or contact us.