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Banking on the King Air

Central America’s largest financial group depends on the executive turboprop

Corporacion Banco Industrial, the largest independent financial group in Central America (excluding Panamá), controls nearly $11.1 billion (U.S.) in assets and operates subsidiaries in six countries—Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Panamá, the Bahamas and the United States. Based in Guatemala City, the group specializes in business, consumer and international banking.

To keep up with Central America’s growing financial market, the company’s top executives and board of directors count on a business aircraft, a Beechcraft® King Air® 350i. It allows banking officials to visit subsidiaries throughout Central America; meet clients, customers and shareholders; and attend board meetings and industry conferences in a timely and cost-efficient manner.

For six years, Corporacion Banco Industrial operated a Beechcraft King Air B200. The company recently purchased a King Air 350i.

A typical trip covers about 100 nautical miles in Central America, traveling in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Driving that distance in a vehicle can take up to several hours, depending on the quality of the roads. By traveling via an executive turboprop aircraft, it’s about a 20-minute flight.

Due to the region’s geography and location of the financial group’s subsidiaries, Corporacion Banco Industrial requires an aircraft capable of taking off and landing at large, international airports in the cities, as well as small, rural airfields and grass strips close to village banks. When the company was ready to buy, representatives looked at several options.

"We need to transport more than eight passengers with a pilot and co-pilot in a comfortable, efficient and safe way, above the weather, and into long and short runways," said Bernardo Yurrita, manager of Westrust Bank, a subsidiary of Corporacion Banco Industrial located in the Bahamas.

Corporacion Banco Industrial chose the King Air 350i for its:

  • Short-field capability
  • Reliability
  • Efficiency
  • Executive cabin

After tallying the numbers and evaluating efficiency, reliability and capability, Corporacion Banco Industrial chose the King Air—again.

"We already had the experience of the King Air B200. We loved the flexibility that the aircraft gave us. We wanted the same capability and reliability, just with more space and speed, so we decided on the King Air 350i. We like the King Air’s record of [reliability], its executive cabin, number of seats, payload and, of course, its short-field capability," said Yurrita. Good looks helped, too.

"The 350i has great ramp presence with its winglets and our paint scheme. It just looks cool."