Blink, Europe's first low-cost pan-European air taxi operator, is poised to take delivery of three more Cessna Citation Mustang very light jets as demand for its services has exceeded expectations in its first three months of operation despite the tough economic climate.

The Farnborough-based operator is Cessna's largest Mustang customer to date following its order last year for 45 of the type. Blink launched services in June with a single aircraft that has been heavy utilised by a growing customer-base across Europe. "The first three months have been great, the aircraft has been flying around 12h a day with quick turnarounds" says Blink co-founder and managing director Peter Leiman. "We are optimistic about the future of the air-taxi concept in Europe but we realise it's too early to draw any definitive conclusions about the market."

Leiman says the economic chill is benefiting Blink as many of its customers are existing business jet-users who are electing to downsize for financial reasons from a more expensive larger cabin jet to a VLJ.

Blink Cessna Citation Mustang 
 © Blink Air Taxi

Leiman says he is eager to take delivery of more aircraft to enable the company to build its network of destinations and deliver its low-cost air-taxi model efficiently: "Three more Mustangs will be arriving next month followed by one aircraft a month until all 45 aircraft have been handed over. Full capacity should be reached by 2010," he says. "We haven't decided on the European destinations for the fleet," says Leiman. "We will build up a network based on the schedule of our [corporate] shuttle customers, some of which are on the brink of signing, and early adopters will take the lead."

Blink's aim is to deliver business aviation at a price which is competitive with commercial business-class fares. "We plan to revolutionise how people travel. Businesses in Europe will be able to arrange a Blink flight as easily as ordering a cab to take their executives to a vast network of around 600 airports across Europe." Blink's service allows passengers to travel direct to secondary cities and other locations not currently serviced by scheduled flights," says Leiman. "Gone are the long check-in times, the queuing through security and the waiting at baggage reclaim inherent in conventional air travel. Just arrive at a Blink airport 10 minutes before the flight leaves."

Source: Flight International