New Hampshire-based fractional plane operator PlaneSense, has announced plans to add more Nextant 400 XTi jets to their fleet. PlaneSense was founded in 1996 and has had a close partnership with Pilatus since their founding. In fact, the company flew only Pilatus PC-12 turboprops until very recently.
Despite the addition of the Nextant, PlaneSense CEO and President George Antoniadis says that there are no plans to sell shares in the jet. Instead, the Nextant XTis will form an interim fleet as the company awaits the arrival of the new Pilatus PC-24 jet, the first of which is due in early 2017. Antoniadis says, "We are not selling shares in the XTis. They are being used as core fleet and are currently available as an upgrade to our PC-12 fractional owners. Later this year we will announce a jet share program which will provide access to the jets and to the PC-12."
PlaneSense ordered six PC-24 jets in 2014 and is a launch customer for this new aircraft. Antoniadis explains that the addition of jets to the company's fleet is in response to customer demand. "We have been evaluating multiengine jets for a few years now because our clients told us that if our program included a jet offering they would certainly prefer it compared to other jet options." PlaneSense chose the Pilatus PC-24 because "it offers capabilities that mirror the PC-12 (including the large door, short field landing capability, and the ability to use unprepared airstrips in addition to paved runways)." Antoniadis describes the PC-24 as "an innovative and intelligent solution" which will give them a significant advantage in the marketplace. PlaneSense will be the only fractional operator with both the PC-12 and PC-24.
In the meantime, until the PC-24 is ready for delivery and to enter service, the Nextant jets will offer PlaneSense owners a temporary alternative to the turboprops. Two have already been delivered with a third expected later this year. Another two will be added in 2017.