pilatus reopens the order book
May 27, 2019
Five years on, Pilatus is preparing to reopen its order book for its flagship PC-24. Marc Grangier is all ears for the big day
Anyone at EBACE 2014 clearly remembers the news, as it was definitely one of the most important events of that show. Within just 36 hours of having opened the order book for its new PC-24 Super Versatile Jet, Pilatus had registered orders for 84 aircraft. This took production through mid-2020 and forced the company to close its order book (in part to avoid speculation).
The PC-24 obtained its basic certification on December 7th, 2017. The first aircraft was delivered in February 2018 and a total of 23 aircraft were delivered last year. This year, 40 customer deliveries are planned, with 50 more slated for next year. Last year, Pilatus Chairman Oscar Schwenk told BART that his company was planning to accept new orders in 2019, which means that most certainly the Swiss manufacturer will re-open its order book at EBACE 2019 – so expect yet another customer rush to the Pilatus booth!
Apart from deliveries to standard customers, which are progressing as planned, Pilatus has started to deliver PC-24s to ‘exotic’ customers. The very first MEDEVAC aircraft was handed over last November to the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (RFDS Western Operations). Configured for patient transport, this PC-24 was especially developed to meet the particular needs of the RFDS.
“The PC-24 will become the emergency ward in the sky and will almost half the time for long-haul critical patient scenarios,” says Schwenk. “I am positive that the PC-24 will ideally supplement the existing fleet of PC-12s of the RFDS.”
The interior was installed under a supplemental type certificate procedure in partnership with Aerolite AG, a Swiss company specializing in aircraft medical interiors. The RFDS Western Operations is the first organization to specifically use the PC-24 for medevac evacuations. The RFDS Central Operations will follow during 2019.
Last fall, Jetfly, a fractional ownership operator founded in 1999 and based in Luxembourg, took delivery of its first PC-24. The company is an old Pilatus customer. Though it started its operations with TBM 700s, it very quickly opted for PC-12 turboprops as its customers wanted a larger aircraft (with toilets!). Since 2000, Jetfly has ordered 22 PC-12s, and it now operates the largest fleet in Europe. Customers of this company with operational bases in Geneva and Paris each own a share in an aircraft, which entitles them to hire it, normally within a day’s notice. Up to now, Jetfly has ordered four PC-24s, but others should be added soon.
Two months ago, the Swiss government officially took delivery of the PC-24 it ordered in 2014. Due to its range (2,000 nm/3700 km), the new “Swiss Air Force One” aircraft will be used primarily for travel within Europe. According to Schwenk, other governments will likely follow suit, adopting the PC-24 once they see “the unrivalled opportunities and flexibility that the aircraft offers”.