AIR HAMBURG ceo Floris Helmers and flight operations manager Capt Jan Strobel were at Hamburg recently to celebrate the first visit by their latest fleet addition, a third Citation XLS+.
Pilots from AIR HAMBURG recently sampled the steaks on the menu at the Texas Road House branch in Wichita, a ritual always observed when collecting aircraft from the Cessna factory.
They had travelled to take delivery of a Citation XLS+ on behalf of its owner, and to undertake the ferry flight back to Germany. The new aircraft became the third of its type operated by AIR HAMBURG and the ninth Citation in the fast-growing fleet. Half of the fleet has a date of manufacture 2009 or younger.
"We have picked up every single aircraft with our own crew so far. It is too much fun to give it away!" says director of marketing and sales Mike Ulka. "The routing is always the same: Wichita, Quebec, Goose Bay, and Reykjavik to Bremen."
The latest arrival's systems are identical to its stablemates with Proline 21 cockpit, and the interior is similar to that of another XLS+ operated for the same owner. "Our customers love it because they get a jet with the cabin of a midsize jet for the price of a super light jet with an attractive range of 1,800nm," says Ulka. "It is the perfect aircraft with a huge baggage compartment to travel throughout Europe. It is our best-seller."
AIR HAMBURG has hired two additional captains and two co-pilots and sent pilots from its staff to FlightSafety to add a second type rating on the XLS+. The aircraft was passed straight into the hands of Atlas Air Services for work required before it can join the AOC.
As a relatively young company, founded in 2005, AIR HAMBURG has been quick to harness social media networks as a means to attract new business and keep customers informed about its activities. "Both Twitter and Facebook are used to keep all our customers/followers informed at the same time," says Ulka. "And we find new clients, who like our special offers only available for our AIR HAMBURG followers. From time to time we throw empty legs on the market for €100 a seat!"
When the third XLS+ was scheduled to arrive in Hamburg for the first time, the company offered a free flight for two lucky fans among the 1,000 it has on Facebook. Over 1,200 subscribe to the company's Twitter feeds.
AIR HAMBURG is also listed in the Fly Victor web site which is planning a German launch this autumn, and has already carried out one flight booked through that system.
Aside from the virtual world, the operator has plenty of fans in real-world Hamburg too. Directly next to the general aviation centre at the airport it operates the Café Himmelsschreiber, which was created mainly to offer an exclusive lounge for jet customers before takeoff. Located very close to the runway and taxiways, the café can also be rented for private parties, like weddings or business events, with high quality catering from its own kitchens.