The Ground Handling Blog

Mototok's blog for Hangar Professionals

Written by Mototok on September 9, 2022 // 12:00 PM

GSE for Your Corporate Fleet


We talk a lot about commercial jets here and the benefits of using a remote control tug as a tool for talent efficiency. We talk about how you can reduce the manpower requirements for your organization by investing in our tools and how you can use technology to make the most of a depleted workforce.

But, again, much of this is aimed at the commercial fleets. But what about corporate flying?

We explore the unique operational demands and challenges posed to the corporate flying market and how updating your GSE will save you time and money.

What Is Going On With the Corporate Jet Market?

In the aftermath of 2020, the aviation markets have been radically altered. The global freighter fleet will grow by 70% over the next 20 years. The global inventory of private jets is recovering from an all-time low; in July of 2021, there were 1,008 total jets available worldwide, while this July saw only 660 available.

There are two overwhelming causes for this:

  1. The Global Pandemic- Without going too far into this, those who could afford to fly private (whether fractional share, charter, or outright ownership) opted to start trading first-class tickets for a private flight. They chose to do this because of the overall instability in world travel. Airports and borders were closing with sometimes no notice, but small airports were largely unaffected.
  2. Nearly 500 people became billionaires in the post-2020 world and over a million new millionaires. All of this new money had to go somewhere. Suddenly the pool of eligible private aircraft owners expanded a lot.

Many of the significant private jet manufacturers are backlogged on new aircraft orders for up to two years, thanks to the influx of wealthy newcomers looking to spend all that money. Throw that in a mixing bowl with mandatory (and voluntary) shutdowns and socially distanced workforces early on. You find yourself looking at a huge mess with tidal waves rolling throughout the supply chain.

It’s not just the jet manufacturers feeling this; oh no. Even if they are open for business, they are waiting on aluminum and steel, rubber and tires, engines, and avionics.

In summary, demand outweighs supply, and the ability to build has been sharply curtailed.

What Are Corporate Aircraft?

So, what exactly is a corporate aircraft? A corporate or private aircraft/private jet is an airplane used exclusively for transporting VIPs and other similar clients.

One of the best selling points of a corporate jet is its ability to operate out of almost any airport. For instance, a Beechcraft King Air 350 only needs about 3,300’ for takeoff and 2,600’ for landing.

According to the CIA World Factbook, there are 4,151 airports with runways longer than 2,999’ in the United States. Therefore, there are over four thousand airports that a King Air, under its Max Gross Takeoff Weight (MGTOW), can operate out of in the U.S.

Most small corporate aircraft in the Very Light and Light Business Jet sizes can operate efficiently out of the lower-end runway lengths.

Every county in every state has a public airport. When flying commercial, even first class, you are limited to the hub structure of commercial aviation. There are no hubs in private flying. If the aircraft can get in and out of it, it’s fair. Some private jet and charter companies will relocate the aircraft for free within a couple of hundred miles of home base.

Are Corporate Jets a Certain Size?

These aircraft are usually either turboprops or turbofan-powered, most often with a single engine (Pilatus PC-12, Socata TBM, Piper Malibu) or twin-engined (Beechcraft King Air-series; almost all private jets besides the Cirrus jet).

The size and payload vary wildly, from four to six in the smallest aircraft to 18-19 in a Gulfstream 650 with almost 8,000 NM in range. Corporate jets can be even bigger, like the Boeing Business Jet, which is little more than a converted 737-700, -800, or -900, depending on the model.

Here are the official size categories of corporate aircraft:

Very Light Business Jet

Very Lights are small jets that accommodate 4-6 passengers and can travel 1,000nm, depending on passenger count and baggage. The Cessna Citation Mustang and Embraer Phenom 100 are some of the most popular examples of this size.

Our M-Series tug is rated for aircraft up to 28 tons and is the ideal solution for your single very light jet or a fleet of them. Whether your jet has a single nose tire or dual nose tires, the M-Series has you covered.

Light Business Jet

While not a lot larger than the very light business jets, a light business jet still tops out around six passengers but has a longer range, usually around 1,500NM. However, the Citation Encore stretches out to over 1,900NM.

1,500NM gets you anywhere in the lower 48 states from the central states, and from the West Coast takes you about to Chicago without fuel stops. Moreover, these jets are still small and quite light. For example, a Cessna Citation Encore has an MGTOW of roughly 16,000lbs., or eight tons.

Other common jets in this size range are the Hawker 400XP and the Beechcraft Premier 1. Finally, our M-Series tug is an excellent option for your light business jet. The M-Series will handle your jet easily with a maximum capacity of 28 tons.

Midsize & Super Midsize Business Jet

Midsize & super midsize jets are getting quite a bit bigger than the very light and the light business jets. These jets are made for longer distances, usually in the 2,000-3,000NM range. This range easily takes you coast-to-coast and from corner to corner.

The most popular makes and models of midsize are Cessna Citation XLS, Hawker 850XP, and Learjet 60XR.

A Citation XLS MGTOW clocks in at over 20,000lbs., or roughly ten tons. Of course, these weights are contingent on the passenger count, fuel load, density altitude, etc.

Still, the M-Series is more than capable of any midsize or super-midsize aircraft.

Large Business Jets

Large business jets include the Gulfstream G-IV, G-V, and Bombardier Challengers. These jets stretch their legs with ten passengers but can haul nearly 20 in some cases. These jets are big and heavy, so they require a tug that has serious muscle.

For large business jets, we suggest our Twin Series for these jets. Our twins come in four different models:

  • 39 tons
  • 50 tons
  • 75 tons
  • 85 tons

One of our Twin Series tugs should do the trick whatever your need. For the Gulfstream IV, our 50-ton rated Twin is a great match. With this tug, you will not run out of towing capacity, and it’s so easy to use that your cabin crew can use it.

What Are the Ground Support Needs That Are Unique to Corporate Flying?

The mission of corporate aviation is entirely different from commercial air travel.

Commercial aircraft make their money by being in the air, which is why they fly leg after leg all day.

Corporate or private jets are not. They are hangared between flights as often as possible. Given their size, especially very light, light, and medium business jets, you can store several in a large bay hangar.

Traditional tow-bar and tug combinations are the worst configurations for this type of storage; because of the turning radius, you cannot effectively maximize space, even with the most competent driver.

With our tugs, your team will get more jets tucked into your hangars than you ever thought was possible. So not only will you get more jets in there, but you can do it with fewer human resources!

Since our tugs are remote-controlled, a single person can safely move an aircraft into even the tightest quarters. The operator isn’t tethered to anything, so they can move from point to point and inch the aircraft into positions.

Our tugs are built for precision movement and can creep as slow as you need, making stops instant! With corporate flying, the regular 9-5 schedule goes out the window, so there might not be any maintenance team available to move jets. Don’t worry; your flight crew can learn to move jets like a pro in no time with a Mototok tug.

Wrapping Up

Corporate aviation sales are slowing, but the market is still hot. More people are ditching commercial air travel for the ease and comfort of flying corporate. The technician shortage is accurate, and your organization is trying to do more with less. Our tugs are low maintenance, easy to use, and made to last.

Ready to see if a Mototok tug is the right piece of GSE for your corporate flying operation? Schedule a demo today!




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