BAE Systems is venturing into the fractional ownership market with the launch of a joint venture with Corporate Aircraft Partners (CAP), offering time shares in 10 leased Jetstream32EP turboprops.

Georgia-based CAP plans to begin flying from 23 October, equipped with the first reconfigured 10/12-seat corporate version of the Jetstream. The aircraft will feature a small galley and a phone/fax facility.

The company will take the remainder of ex-Trans States Airlines Jetstream 32EPs by the third quarter of next year and has secured options to take a further 10 aircraft.

CAP has taken differing head leases on the aircraft, the earliest of which expires in 2006. BAE will hold "approximately a 20% stake" in CAP, which is run by former Great Lakes Airlines executive Rolly Bergeson and former BAe executive Tom Keough.

The company is initially seeking two to three timeshare users for each aircraft at a cost of $75,000 per year, a monthly charge of $12,500 and $750 per occupied hour for a period of two years. "Our prices are significantly lower than fractional jet operations," says Bergeson, adding that its scheme does not entail any equity or concern over residual value.

CAP is initially targeting small and medium-sized businesses with $150,000 per annum travel budgets. Operations will initially be confined to the region within the aircraft's 1,110-1,300 km (600-700nm) range.

The company hopes to expand services beyond its Cartersville, Georgia, base to other areas east of the Mississippi River and claims to have attracted strong interest in the Washington Dulles locality. "Our business plan calls for a rapid expansion in the Eastern USA and going to 16 aircraft by the end of next year."

Source: Flight International