SONAS Aviation just weeks away from acquiring Irish AOC

SONAS Aviation, a new Irish-based aircraft charter and management company, which was founded at the end of 2018 by Graham Williamson—former chief executive office of TAG Aviation Europe—is just weeks away from acquiring its Air Operator Certificate (AOC). 

Its first managed aircraft, a Bombardier Challenger 605, will be available for charter on the new EJ-register, and Mr Williamson will be at Corporate Jet Investor’s London conference next week to meet with financiers and G-registration aircraft operators.

Highlighting the benefits of EJ-registry amid the uncertainty of Brexit, Mr Williamson said: “We are reaching out to owners of corporate jets seeking predictability, stability and continuity in these uncertain times. The impact of Brexit and its subsequent effects on the aviation community in the United Kingdom is a real and immediate issue.”

SONAS is offering aircraft owners a simple transition for their aircraft to an EASA Operation, which allows free movement in Europe and unfettered traffic rights to the 44 countries covered by EU bilateral agreements, and the USA and Canada.

Mr Williamson said: “Looking at EASA’s newly updated Guidance Notes, it is difficult to predict how aircraft operated, crewed, registered, maintained or managed from the UK will be affected, and this throws up uncertainty regarding importation, free circulation, certification and licensing.

“Ireland, with its EJ registry, offers a simple importation and tax environment for owners.  It is a renowned and secure legal jurisdiction for financiers and the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) is committed to developing and growing its already strong aviation sector. Some of the currently fashionable and established European jurisdictions, such as Malta, are struggling to keep up with the volume of aircraft coming onto their registries.”

As well as traditional aircraft management, SONAS will offer expertise to clients leasing their corporate jets. A lease offers predictable costs, giving the owner flexibility to upgrade the jet or change it in six years just as the airlines do.  It removes the uncertainty of residual values and it is a smart way of financing a depreciating asset, according to Mr Williamson.

He said: “We are committed to offering a simple and seamless transition for clients.  We will be limited in the number of aircraft we can absorb in the coming months.  First mover advantage is paramount and only those who take control and make the right choice today will be guaranteed continuity of operations, approvals and licences.”

SONAS Aviation is not seeking to grow into a large aircraft management company but it does want to build relationships with clients by building trust and delivering a quality, personal service and maintaining full transparency on costs.

Behind the new SONAS Aviation is a management team with decades of experience including Russel Allchorne and Keith Brennan, supported by the Air Law Firm and its founding partner Aoife O’Sullivan.

Drawing from experience ahead of its operational start, SONAS and its primarily Irish team has created a ‘seamless processes’ for all elements of planning, operations and customer service, using harmonised cloud-based systems.