Flight Options secures funding for around 20 Phenom 300s

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Flight Options, the second-largest fractional ownership programme, has secured $167 million investment from state-owned Brazilian bank BNDES to finance the acquisition of about 20 Embraer Phenom 300s.

The Cleveland, Ohio-based company placed an order in 2007 for 100 of the light business jets and an option for 50 more.

Flight Options has eight of the jets in service. A further seven 300s should be delivered this year.

"This financing agreement underscores the bank's confidence in our financial stability, operating strength and future prospects," Michael Silvestro, Flight Options chief executive officer, said.

"The fractional jet ownership model is rebounding from the global economic downturn and by extending funding to this sector, Brazil's main, long-term credit provider will help support an emerging recovery in corporate aviation," Kenneth Ricci, chairman of Flight Options, added.

Flight Options saw a 467% increase in fractional jet sales and a 46% hike in sales of its JetPASS charter card programme during the first quarter of 2011, compared with the year-ago quarter.

Fractional utilisation - which measures how actively the company's owner/members are utilising their shares - also climbed during the same period by 8%.

"In response, Flight Options has been recalling furloughed pilots, reopening maintenance centres and investing in customer service and operations," it said.