JetBird gears up to launch low-cost executive air taxi programme

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This story is sourced from Flight International
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JetBird has raised €21m ($31 million) of new funding, as it moves closer to launching Europe's first low-cost executive air taxi programme in April 2009 with a fleet of Embraer Phenom 100 business jets.

The investment has been advanced by existing and new backers and boosts the value of the company to €100 million. The funding has been underwritten by JetBird chairman Domhnal Slattery through his Dublin, Ireland-based private equity company Claret Capital, which has already committed to investing around $60 million in the venture over the next five years.

JetBird plans to announce its initial operating bases next year which are likely to be major European financial centres including Geneva and Zurich in Switzerland. JetBird has orders for 50 Phenom 100 and an option for an additional 50 aircraft, which it can convert into the larger Phenom 300 light jet.

Meanwhile, JetBird has appointed former Air Berlin chief financial officer Carsten Dettmar as its head of finance. The appointment is the second high-profile signing from the low-cost airline sector, with Sterling Airlines' former chief operating officer Stefan Vilner joining as chief executive in May.