The United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence has awarded a new Falkland Islands Airbridge Charter contract effective next October 4, reported FIRS on Wednesday.
The one year contract was awarded on August 2nd to Air Partner which will provide the Falkland Islands Airbridge service using OMNI operating a DC10. According to MoD the DC10 aircraft has been fitted to provide 12 business class seats, 260 economy seats plus 2 stretchers. The economy seats are said to have a larger pitch than other tendered solutions, 34-35 inches, which will be more appropriate for long-haul travel and offer greater comfort for passengers. MoD contract conditions also specify that the DC10 to be operated is a newer airframe than the Boeing 747 currently supporting the route and offers a greater payload than the military Tri-Star C2 upon which the Statement of Requirement was based. The MoD points out that the DC10 operator has potentially greater flexibility to recover technical problems as the operator has a large fleet of DC10s and there is currently a reserve aircraft stationed at their base in Shannon. The ability to provide a same type replacement aircraft will enhance the speed of recovery post technical problems, as the crews will already be in place. The aircraft seat configuration is being loaded on to the passenger booking management system and passengers will be able to book to future flights from early September. The Falkland Islands Government had specifically requested an enhanced service for business class travelers. Reports from Stanley indicate discussions will be taking place between the MoD and FIG over the coming weeks. Air Partner plc is an air charter brokers hiring aircraft for charter to its customers and based near London's Gatwick airport. The Company has 20 offices in various countries spanning Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia with company subsidiaries including Air Partner International SAS, Air Partner International GmbH, Air Partner Switzerland AG, Air Partner Srl, Air Partner Travel Consultants Limited, Air Partner Leasing (PTY) Limited and Air Partner Inc. On October 11, 2006, the Company acquired Gold Air International Limited (Gold Air), from Shed Group Limited (Shed), a subsidiary of Gold Group Limited. Gold Air is a private jet operator and aircraft management company. Air Partner counts six G8 governments among its clients