It’s an aviation Gem!
Hard work, commitment and dedication, are the success recipe for Andries Venter, owner of GemAir International. A recipe that has made a dream come true.
in Venter’s own words, “At the time of setting up the company in 2007, I lived near Hartebeespoort dam, and a road that I regularly used was called Gem Drive. While driving one day my accountant asked me what the new company name should be; I chanced to look at the road sign and GemAir was born.”
Andries Venter is a South African Air Force trained aircraft engineer with many years of aviation maintenance experience. Since its inception GemAir has grown significantly and now has three individual companies within the group; namely GemAir AMO, Lanseria Aircraft Interiors and Exteriors, and Out of the Blue Safari’s. These now offer a ‘one-stop’ service to clients.
GemAir AMO is a recognised South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) approved Aviation Maintenance Organisation (AMO), AMO number 1003, and has a pool of highly skilled aircraft engineers with a combined total of more than 50 years aviation experience. Backed by a full-time administrative staff, GemAir AMO is perfectly suited to offer its clients turn-key aviation maintenance solutions. Via its avionics shop, Aircraft Flight Instruments, which is co-owned by Venter and Pieter Hermogenes, it also offers full support on avionics, instrumentation, electrical servicing, overhauling and repair and installations.
As part of its AMO services, GemAir staff are able to perform all the aviation maintenance requirements on a variety of Non-Type certified aircraft, light singles and twins.
Venter plans to expand GemAir’s activities into the jet and larger aircraft market. However, like many others in the aviation industry, he has concerns about the skills shortage faced by the aviation maintenance and engineering field. He cites poor training standards as one of the contributory factors.
In 2014, the company expanded into aircraft interiors and exteriors through the acquisition of Lanseria Aircraft Interiors and Exteriors. This company has over 18 years’ experience in aircraft interior cabin upholstery and furnishing and has established itself as one of the market leaders for innovation, integrity and quality. It has been involved in upholstery and prototyping projects for airlines and private clients worldwide.
Lanseria Aircraft Interiors and Exteriors provides a broad range of items and services ranging from cockpit doors, interior paint and coverings, and air conditioning through to safety, emergency and security equipment, wiring and fibre optics.
Andries’ primary passion has always been aircraft engineering and maintenance, but in 2012 the flying bug eventually bit, and he got his PPL. At that stage he decided to launch his own charter company which now boasts a fleet of 12 aircraft including a King Air B200, Cessna 206’s, Cessna 210’s, Cessna 402, and a Cessna 208 Caravan.
Longtime friend and business associate, Stan Nel, owned and operated a charter company called Out of the Blue Safari’s, and when a business opportunity presented itself, Andries bought the charter company and through it, now offers a charter service utilising his fleet of aircraft.
Andries’ business interests extend into Africa. Ulendo Airlink, a Malawi-based travel agency with its own Malawian AOC, leases five Cessna C210’s and a Cessna C206 from GemAir. These are used for island transfer, as well as charter flights between Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia. GemAir also has AMO facilities based in Doko, DRC and in Lilongwe, Malawi.
Ready to Challenge Africa
The PC-24 could be considered the world’s first ‘Super Versatile Jet’ as it has been engineered to be ‘off-road’ compatible from inception. Its outstanding short-field performance, even on unpaved runways, opens up a remarkable level of mobility, since PC-24 users will have access to nearly double the number of airports worldwide than could be reached by comparable business jets. This means you can fly closer to your final destination, using smaller airports and keeping ground transfer time to an absolute minimum.
The Pilatus PC-24 combines the practicality of a turboprop with the cabin size of a medium light jet and the performance of a light jet. Its features include a flexible and spacious interior, comprising a continuous flat floor, and a unique cargo door to enable quick and easy loading. The PC-24 is designed to operate from short, paved and even unpaved surfaces, and as with all Pilatus aircraft, it is certified for single-pilot operation. An efficient and intuitive cockpit layout, powered by Honeywell ACE, is designed to reduce pilot workload and improve safety while providing full situational awareness in all environments.
Launch customer PlaneSense, a U.S. fractional ownership operator, took delivery of the first production PC-24 (serial number 101) in early February, which has amassed over 500 hours to date. Pilatus is pushing ahead with PC-24 production and aims to deliver 23 new jets this year. The initial 84 orders placed in 2014 amount to three years production, but the order book is expected to reopen to customers in 2019.
Pilatus has been conducting post certification testing which includes steep approach approval as well as a rough field test campaign, operating the PC-24 on unpaved runways.
Pilatus PC-12 Centre Southern Africa (PCSA) will be delivering the first Pilatus PC-24 in Africa in October 2018. The aircraft, which will be based in Cape Town and managed by ExecuJet, is the first of five PC-24s sold into the region over the initial production run. PCSA as the Pilatus PC-24 Authorised Sales and Service Centre for Southern Africa has geared up for ‘entry into service’ support with the required staff training, tooling and spares pool to ensure effortless operations for the aircraft.
PCSA will soon commence work on a new hangar facility at Rand Airport, adjacent to the current hangars 41 & 42, which will serve as the maintenance base for the PC-24 fleet in the region.
A 501 cubic-foot pressurised passenger cabin with seating for up to 10 passengers
Pressurised baggage compartment with in-flight access
Forward passenger door and standard large (4ft 3in x 4ft 1in) aft cargo door
Pilatus Advanced Cockpit Environment (ACE) avionics. Developed by Honeywell
Max Cruise Speed: 440 knots (815 km/h)
Range: 2,035 nautical miles with 4 passengers, NBAA IFR fuel reserves
Maximum Operating Altitude: 45,000 feet (13,716 m)
Take-off Distance: Balanced Field Length 2,810 feet (856m) (MTOW, sea level)
Rate of Climb: 4,151 fpm (21.10 m/s)
Stall Speed (Landing Config.): 81 Knots (149 km/h) (MLW, sea level)
Landing Distance over 50-foot obstacle: 2,355 feet (718m) (MLW, sea level)
Maximum Take-off: 17,968 lb (8,150 kg)
Usable Fuel: 888.5 U.S. Gal. (5,964 lb)
Maximum Payload: 2,522 lb (1,144 kg )
Maximum Payload with Full Fuel: 737 lb (334 kg)
Pilatus PC-24 is represented by Pilatus Centre at Rand Airport in Germiston
Tel: 011 383 0800
Raymond Steyn 082 652 3439, Tim Webster 083 251 0318, Gerry Wyss 082 318 5089, Pascal Wyss 082 511 7312