Planet Nine, the Van Nuys, California-based private charter operator and aircraft management company, added a Bombardier Global Express BD-700 (N551SW) to its managed fleet at the end of December, the third aircraft to go on to its Part 135 Air Operator’s Certificate since the pandemic took hold in March 2020.
Two more aircraft, a Global Express and Dassault Falcon 7X, are currently being readied to join the managed fleet by the end of February. Both will be available for charter, boosting the Planet 9 family of owned and managed aircraft to 14.
Planet 9, which has operations bases in Teterboro, New York, London and Lisbon, has seen more clients turn to the safe cabin environment of its private aircraft to keep their families protected during the pandemic. Much of its flying over the recent holiday season has been to the Caribbean Islands, especially The Bahamas and Turks & Caicos — from both US and European airports.
“Our floating model aircraft operation has enabled us to support a wider range of charters and flight repatriations this year, often at short notice. We have flown for charter brokers on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as assisted with urgent medical professional flights,” said Matt Walter, Planet 9 cofounder and director of business development.
“With the US borders still closed to people from the Schengen region and vice versa, leisure and business travel between North America and Europe continues to be very restrictive,” he said.
Planet 9 was busiest in December and early January prior to the UK going into a second lockdown for a month.
The popularity for Caribbean travel from the USA is expected to continue through to the end of January, suggested Matt, noting another trend is for last minute, 72 hours’ notice of travel. “We have a range of ultra-long-range aircraft now, so are better able to fulfil these short-notice requests.”
Planet 9’s latest Global Express is configured for 14 seats in a three-zone cabin with an enclosed state room. Its range is 5,830 nm / 12 hours’ flying time. In common with other high-spec aircraft in the Planet 9 fleet, the aircraft offers KU band wifi, accessible via eight large iPad loaded with a selection of movies, enabling clients to be connected and entertained on their journeys. Up to 15 medium-sized cases can be carried in the cabin hold.
Supporting its expanding business, Planet 9 has added a dedicated sales manager Zachary Schudrich, based in New York and a maintenance manager, Alex Wellham, based in London.