Ocean Sky keeps growing despite downturn

By Kate Sarsfield

UK business aviation services provider Ocean Sky is expanding rapidly and aggressively despite the economic crisis pummelling sectors of its business.

Within the next couple of weeks the London-based company will open a new operation in the Swedish capital Stockholm and a third fixed-base operation in the UK at a leading airport. Ocean Sky is also planning to unwrap another European FBO by the end of the third quarter.

"We have always been ambitious in our growth plans and the economic downturn has not changed that," says Ocean Sky chief executive Kurosh Tehranchian. "We could sit back and worry or just get on and prepare the business for when the economy starts to grow again," Tehranchian says. "The business aviation market is solid and we are in it for the long term," he says.

Ocean Sky operates a fleet of 12 mainly large-cabin and long-range business jets - six owned and six under management - has seen charter demand from its core oil rich markets of Russia and the Middle East fall dramatically since late last year. "We were largely unaffected in the early stages of the downturn, which hit the banking and financial sectors," Tehranchian says.

"From early November it began to hit other sectors savagely including energy-based economies and very wealthy individuals [including Ocean Sky customers] saw the value of their assets plunge, forcing them to pair back their spending," he adds.

Tehranchian expects the charter market will remain in the doldrums for the remainder of 2009, but begin to recover in 2010, stimulated by the need and desire of so many individuals and companies to "experience the convenience of business aircraft travel again". He says: "This will be a bad year in terms of charter, but we are making sure we build the rest of the business and have enough resources to support us through the downturn."

Ocean Sky Sweden will open its doors in February, offering maintenance repair and overhaul, aircraft management, charter and FBO services. "We should get our Swedish aircraft operator's certificate in May," Tehranchian says. Ocean Sky will add only Gulfstream types to the AOC. "We are starting with two managed aircraft and by the end of the year we hope to have six Gulfstreams in the fleet," he adds. The company, which also has FBOs in Prestwick, Scotland and in Manchester - where it recently acquired aircraft interiors business - is planning to expand to the Middle East within a year.

Copyright © 2009 Aviation News Release

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