COVID-19 Prompts Aeronexus To Sell Its VIP 767 For Leaseback

Having a fleet consisting of just a single aircraft, charter airline Aeronexus has been formed to sell and lease back its VIP-configured Boeing 767-300ER. Made known through a US Department of Transportation (DOT) filing, the South African firm has sold its only jet to the UK firm Aerotron.

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The Boeing 767-300ER registered ZS-NEX initially flew with LOT Polish Airlines. It had a temporary role flying The Rolling Stones on a world tour. Photo: Aeronexus

Sold off

According to ch-aviation.com, private/VIP charter company Aeronexus has had to sell its 96-seat Boeing 767-300ER amid COVID-19 related difficulties. Registered as ZS-NEX with MSN 24865, the jet is now leased to Aeronexus through its new owner, Aerotron.

The information was made public through an October 18th application to the US DOT, which sought an exemption and foreign air carrier permit to provide a VIP charter service. This service would ferry people, property, and mail to the US. The application notes that the sale/leaseback transaction was actually made in July 2020.

Given the broad emergence of the global health crisis throughout the first half of 2020, most countries made the decision to close borders to non-essential travel, leaving special repatriation flights as one of the few ways to travel. In this context, it makes sense that a service such as Aeronexus’ VIP charter jet would be grounded, unable to generate revenue.

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While the aircraft’s seats appear to be lie-flat, the cabin also has a larger bed installed. Photo: Aeronexus

Aeronexus’ plan moving forward

The exemption request would enable Aeronexus to provide charter services while waiting for the DOT to issue its foreign air carrier permit.

ch-aviation notes that the on-demand VIP charter service would take place about five times a year, mainly operating out of the European Union and primarily for sports teams, heads of state, and corporations.

The firm’s DOT application states that it hopes to fly the following:

  • From any point(s) behind South Africa,
  • via any station(s) in South Africa,
  • via intermediate points to any place(s) in the US or beyond;
  • between any point(s) in the US and South Africa;
  • other charters on prior approval as set out in the DOT’s economic regulations;
  • and flights under any additional charter rights that may become available to South African carriers in the future.
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The widebody is configured to accommodate 96 passengers. Photo: Aeronexus

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Aeronexus’ one and only jet

Founded in 2000, Aeronexus says on its website that it is “considered to be one of the most respected Private Jet Charter Airlines in the world.” It adds that its VIP aircraft will “open up worldwide destinations, discreetly, conveniently and in a luxurious way.”

While Aeronexus had operated a pair of 767-200s in the past, its one and only jet now is a 767-300ER. This aircraft had its first flight on July 31st, 1990, and was delivered to LOT Polish on August 21st, 1990. The 767 had also flown with Air New Zealand, and EuroAtlantic Airways in the past, according to data from Planespotters.net.

Since flying for Aeronexus, the widebody has flown several high-profile VIP charter services, including for football team Manchester United, music group The Rolling Stones, as well as for humanitarian organizations and heads of state.

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