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"Midsize jet leader" growing European charter market

It started with a recognized opportunity. Taking the time to assess clients' needs, missions and unrealized potential. For BHS Aviation CEO, Daniel Suter, potential would lie within a fixed-wing AOC (Air Operator Certificate).

"Being an aircraft operator in the heart of Europe, we saw an opportunity in the increasing demand for individual short- and medium-haul charter flights. The COVID-19 pandemic and all its implications has motivated us," he said.

BHS Aviation is most widely known in Europe for its Zurich-based helicopter operations. The company is the helicopter provider for the World-Economic-Forum in Davos. As a commercial operator to clients who seek a bespoke service, BHS Aviation keeps a close eye on customer needs. Recently, Suter said, they realized the need for an aircraft to suit recurring, specific requests.

"By giving our customers a carefree package, we enable them to travel freely again. This includes a reliable, flexible and easy to reach service."Daniel Suter, BHS Aviation CEO

"Our customers in and around Switzerland are asking for a professional and highly flexible operator for direct flights within one to five flight hours. They are mainly business people from medium size to big corporations, but also families and private individuals,” Suter explained. “Our typical client values privacy and highest comfort and expects their operator to be able to meet every individual request." To ensure the customer experience would remain, BHS Aviation knew it needed to invest in the right brand of aircraft, backed by a manufacturer and service network that spanned the globe. It chose a CITATION jet by Textron Aviation.

"As we will have our aircraft available strictly for charter flights, reliability and availability of the aircraft is of utmost importance. Therefore, cancelling a flight because of a technical issue may result in losing a customer. Our decision to choose a Citation product is based on our excellent experience with the manufacturer," Suter said.

BHS Aviation's personal opinion of Textron Aviation was a strong selling point, but Suter said the Citation brand's reputation in Europe played into the decision to invest in one of the most popular aircraft as well. Suter explained the CESSNA CITATION LATITUDE jet is the “market leader in the midsize aircraft market,” also noting it is known in Europe for reliability and performance.

"Citation products have been successful in Europe since the very beginning. The name stands explicitly for a proven and reliable product."Daniel Suter, BHS Aviation CEO

"The Latitude already enjoys an excellent reputation in the midsize jet market. For up to eight passengers, it provides the best performance, a full-size and spacious cabin and on top the best price-performance ratio in the market," Suter said. "By evaluating a group of six different small- and midsize aircraft of several manufacturers, it quickly became clear that a Latitude would perfectly fulfill our requirements."

The experienced BHS Aviation crew welcoming their brand-new Cessna Citation Latitude jet at delivery in Wichita, Kan.

Suter also explained the necessity of having a service provider that is truly global and invests in international support. He said European customers often strictly evaluate their private aviation service provider, ensuring it meets their specific needs. That often requires a company-owned and well-experienced service center within a reasonable proximity. For BHS Aviation's operation in Switzerland, having Textron Aviation's company-owned service center in Zurich was a positive that couldn't be ignored.

With the aircraft wheels up, what's next for BHS Aviation? Suter says expansion.

"We will start as a charter operator but also plan on growing the fleet with customer aircraft and our aircraft management services," he said. "By adding the Latitude to our fleet, we are becoming a fixed-wing operator again. This adds to our current product range, which includes charter brokerage, handling services and aircraft management."

The CEO says it is clear there are industry challenges in general aviation, but when he looks at both BHS Aviation and Textron Aviation, he sees growth.

"Our needs were met with extreme professionality, and we received utmost support throughout the whole journey," Suter said. "Even though the Latitude is our first fixed-wing aircraft from Textron Aviation, the team at BHS Aviation benefits from its long-term experience with the manufacturer."

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