LONDON – Swiss aircraft manufacturer Pilatus has exhibited its PC-12 NGX turboprop and the PC-24 jet at the National Business Aviation Association & Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), confirming a very high market demand for both aircraft.
By the end of September 2022, Pilatus had delivered 47 PC-12 NGX and 27 PC-24. Of these aircraft, roughly 62 Percent were completed by the US subsidiary, Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd in Broomfield, Colorado.
Based at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (KBJC) since 1996, the company created over 25 new jobs in 2022 with the recent expansion of facilities to include new painting operations.
In addition, Pilatus acquired Skytech in September 2022 and its workforce of 120 employees. Skytech has operated as an independent Authorised Sales & Service Centre since 1993 and is now part of the Pilatus Group which employs now over 300 employees in the US.
2,000th PC-12 & 200th PC-24 to be delivered in 2023
Notable deliveries this year have included those to the charter operators, PlaneSense (USA) and JetFly (Europe). Both companies reported continued strong demand from passengers.
Authorised Pilatus Centres report that many of their existing PC-12 turboprop customers are stepping up to the latest version, the PC-12 NGX to take advantage of new engine and avionics technology, as well as the completely new interiors.
Through the third quarter of 2022, Pilatus has delivered 1,920 PC-12s since programme inception, and will celebrate a major milestone in delivering the 2,000th PC-12 next spring. That aircraft will be delivered to PlaneSense, the world’s largest Pilatus fleet operator, with 41 PC-12s and eight PC-24s.
Total PC-12 fleet time is currently at over 10 million flight hours. Pilatus will also deliver the 200th PC-24 in spring 2023. That is a milestone worth mentioning in this still young programme. The worldwide fleet of PC-24s has accumulated 116,000 flight hours since 2017.
Markus Bucher, Chief Executive Officer of Pilatus, commented: “We are very fortunate to have both the PC-12 and PC-24 in such high demand amongst our loyal customers.”
“Despite the current high inflationary environment, the rising cost of energy in Europe and the forecast economic recession, our global sales network remains optimistic that the very high demand for our unique aircraft will weather the storm.”
Bucher went on to address the challenges of producing aircraft in the current economic context: “Our top priority at Pilatus right now is taking care of current owners and those who have already placed orders.”
“Like most companies, Pilatus has not been immune to the difficulties of ensuring a reliable supply of quality components to keep production running efficiently and customers flying without interruption.”
“Where we are not able to provide immediate solutions, we are investing considerable effort in communicating with our customers to provide them with the high level of support they expect and deserve from Pilatus.”
To stay close to customers, better understand their needs and communicate directly with pilots, maintenance personnel and managers, Pilatus held two PC-24 operator support meetings – one in the US and one in Europe. Further such events are planned in 2023.
The focus on sustainability
Finally, addressing the issue of sustainable manufacturing, Markus Bucher stated: “As a Swiss company it is in our culture to be concerned about protecting the environment, and our long-established work practices include conserving resources and operating with as little impact as possible.”
“As long ago as 1973, the company magazine, Pilatus Post, featured a story about how we treated manufacturing wastewater. Today, Pilatus facilities have 230,000 square feet of solar panels generating electricity for our operations in Switzerland.”
“94 percent of the energy used in the production of Pilatus aircraft comes from hydropower, nuclear and solar sources. All our aircraft are approved to operate with sustainable aviation fuel. Our single-engine turboprop aircraft are also extremely efficient to operate as they produce fewer emissions.”