Kate Sarsfield/FARNBOROUGH

Galaxy Aerospace's ambition to enter the fractional ownership market has edged closer after a Galaxy super mid-size business jet was added to the fleet of US charter and management company AvBase Aviation.

Cleveland, Ohio-based AvBase frequently supports Executive Jet's (EJI) NetJets fractional ownership programme. The aircraft was set to enter service late last week.

Galaxy Aerospace chief executive Brian Barents says: "The Galaxy business jet is contracted to provide up to 1,000h of charter a year with AvBase, which we hope will give the aircraft positive exposure to NetJets owners."

Barents believes the $18 million aircraft is well suited to fractional ownership and adds that the Fort Worth, Texas-based company has been talking with fractional providers, including EJI, about placing a number of its 10-seat aircraft in an established programme.

He says Galaxy is considering an independent programme with a third party, which he feels will not present a conflict of interest. "We could support fractional ownership programmes, providing six to eight aircraft a year," says Barents.

"This market represents one of the fastest growing segments in aviation today and we want to be part of that growth. If we follow the industry trend, up to 40% of our backlog could eventually be produced to support fractionals."

Galaxy has 50 orders for the intercontinental business jet, which is manufactured, along with its $12 million mid-size Astra SPX stablemate, by joint venture partner Israel Aircraft Industries in Tel Aviv. The Galaxy is being produced and delivered at a rate of two a month, while production of the SPX has reached 12 a year.

This month, Galaxy will receive the results of the customer survey it issued this year to examine the market for new Galaxy derivatives. "We are committed to a new product line," says Barents, "and are looking at everything from entry level to supersonic, although we will initially concentrate on a medium- and large-cabin aircraft."

Barents says the company is committed to a low-cost approach. "We will design and build a product that provides value to the customer who wants to use their aircraft to its fullest potential. We are looking at ways of improving reliability and increasing aircraft utilisation inspection cycles."

Source: Flight International