March 08, 2017

Single-engine turboprops now authorised for charter in Europe

Last week, the European Commission finally published an amendment, allowing commercial air transport by single-engine turboprop aircraft SETPs under instrument flight rules, in 32 European states.

This is a much-anticipated change and, while there are still a number of operational challenges to overcome, the potential for business aviation is exciting. SETPs are a very cost-effective category of small aircraft, already popular in the US, and open up new routes that can’t be operated by other aircraft types.

A boost to manufacturing, airports & more

Turboprop aircraft can be overlooked by business aviation customers, seen as slower, noisier and less desirable than private jet aircraft. But with new, desirable aircraft set to enter the market, such as the Cessna Denali, and now these regulation changes, the SETP market is set to fly in the next few years.

While the FAA in the US has permitted charters on single engine aircraft since 1997, the European authorities have been much more cautious in allowing these flights.

The benefits of allowing SETPs for charter include lowering the entry point price for charter customers; encouraging many more passengers to see the benefits of charter; and commercial transformation for some smaller airports.

So this is a good news story for business aviation in Europe. It’s clear from the US market that lowering the entry point price brings in a significant number of new customers into the market. This creates new jobs for pilots and the wider support roles.

Single engine aircraft can also open up many more airports, so will be a welcome new revenue stream, and may be even allow smaller airports to stay open. Airfields like Booker for example (next to High Wycombe). Their runway is too short for most twin engine props but perfect for single engine aircraft, so it would be great to see this airport seeing a steady rise in movements as a new charter gateway for London.

The move will also create entry level jobs for many young pilots. Single engine aircraft can be flown with a CPL (Commercial Pilot’s Licence). So this will allow many recently-qualified pilots to gain employment and start a career in business aviation, giving them a different career path option than years of employment with the low cost carriers.

Will Cessna’s Denali rival the PC-12?

And of course there will be a boost to aircraft manufacturing. At PrivateFly we already see a great deal of customer interest in aircraft such as the Swiss Pilatus PC-12 (the native aircraft has been approved for commercial charter within Switzerland for some time). With widespread European charter now authorised for this and similar aircraft, the manufacturers can look forward to a rush of new orders.

Watch our exclusive video tour of the Pilatus PC-12 to see what makes it so desirable:

Cessna’s Denali – targeted for a first flight in 2018 – has drawn comparisons with the successful PC-12. The new aircraft, will add to Textron’s Cessna and Beechcraft families with a cost-effective and hyper-modern entry point aircraft. With Cessna’s excellent brand reputation and the market now opening up, the Denali stands to be very successful in the category.

To charter a single-engine turboprop, or any other aircraft type, contact our expert Flight Team (24 hours) on +44 (0)1747 642 777.

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