Corporate travelers on a tight appointment schedule around the archipelago should consider the PhilJets Group for their transport requirements. Set up in Manila in 2012 by veteran aviation specialist Thierry Tea, the boutique charter company aims to raise security and service standards in the local market.
Says Tea, a former Airbus executive: “Our company wants to change the perception in the international market that it’s not safe to travel in the Philippines.” Boasting a fleet of helicopters and executive jets, PhilJets makes all corners of the country, including Boracay, Palawan, northern Isabela and Baguio, accessible. Not only businessmen but celebrities and private individuals have been taking advantage of PhilJets’ aircraft, he adds. PhilJet’s fleet, which includes a newly delivered Bell 407 GXP – a top-of-the-line single engine aircraft with club seating – offers the possibility of a lunch meeting at the popular Antonio’s in Tagaytay, with a quick return for more meetings back in Manila.
The Philippine helicopter market is considered a relatively mature one, with more than 200 helicopters in operation. The fleet, however, is aging, and the renewal is constant, including a steady four to five percent of new helicopters that enter the market every year. PhilJets has placed an order with Airbus Helicopters for two H130s, with an H145 expected to be delivered this year, boosting its stable to a total of nine helicopters and two business jets. Besides heli-tours and business trips, the company aims to expand into the emergency medical services and cargo transport sectors.
“The limited Oil & Gas and military markets have contributed to an understated helicopter market in the Philippines as a whole, especially when the market remains fragmented with a multitude of medium and small operators, and numerous individual owners operating one to two helicopters each at most,” says Tea. “In establishing PhilJets, our goal was to develop the business aviation market in the Philippines to a state where it can receive the attention it truly deserves.”
The Philippines ranks eighth in Asia in helicopter fleet, after Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, India, South Korea and Indonesia. In Southeast Asia, the country is the second largest market and one of the most active.