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Source : http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/3807225/Bid-to-make-charter-jets-sound-choice
Wellington airline Vincent Aviation wants to rekindle the corporate aircraft charter market destroyed a decade ago by a high-profile government department charter and an air crash. Vincent Aviation managing director Peter Vincent said charter aircraft became a "dirty word" after Work and Income New Zealand spent $165,000 hiring Ansett New Zealand planes to fly 140 staff to a training course at a Taupo resort in 1999. Confidence in the corporate charter market collapsed four years later following the crash of an Air Adventure plane as it prepared to land at Christchurch Airport, killing the pilot and seven top staff from the Crop and Food Research Institute. Chartering aircraft has been regarded as a "gross exorbitance" since those incidents, Mr Vincent said. While some big companies still made limited use of air charters, there has been almost no work from government departments, with the exception of transporting visiting dignitaries. Mr Vincent will use a new Cessna Citation Mustang light jet for the service. It is owned by Wellington property developer Michael Garnham. The Mustang seats up to five passengers and can fly to almost any airport in New Zealand from Wellington in under 90 minutes at a cost of about $2500 an hour. With a price tag of US$3 million (NZ$4.3m), the Mustang is an entry level jet, lacking the beds, bars and plasma screens found on board much larger top end luxury jets like film director Peter Jackson's Gulfstream IV or businessman Graham Hart's Global Express. The Mustang's interior is closer to a ministerial limousine with four opposing leather seats, pull-out tables and a drinks cabinet, Mr Vincent said. "What we have got to try and do is convince people now that the Mustang is not an exorbitance, it is actually an effective and economic way for people to travel." The jet was aimed at company executives wanting to visit several places in a day. This could not be done using scheduled airline services or for the same price. "It is the sort of machine where ... they could go to Manapouri and have a meeting, then to New Plymouth and Gisborne and be back in Wellington that afternoon. "If people's time is taken into account, that is when aircraft really come into their own." Mr Vincent hoped to convince taxpayers that it was also an appropriate aircraft for cabinet ministers to use to visit the regions, and a cheaper option than using an Air Force King Air transport plane. However, he concedes that last week's revelations over ministerial credit card spending abuses, including a $1292 charter flight by former Labour minister Shane Jones from Kaitaia to Tauranga to deliver "a key sector speech", will have set back the chances of getting the Government back on board. Mr Vincent's biggest operation is in northern Australia where it flies from Darwin to mining towns using a fleet of 10 turboprop aircraft.