Bombardier and fixed-base operator AMR Combs are to begin operating a joint- venture fractional-ownership programme in June, following the official launch of the scheme in New York on 3 May.
Business JetSolutions, in which customers participate in a shared- ownership programme, will eventually involve the Canadian manufacturer's full range of business aircraft (Flight International, 3-9 May, P5).
The venture joins a growing number of aviation time-share companies, including pioneer Executive Jet Aviation (EJA), which offers an alternative to outright ownership of a business aircraft by a single customer. Unlike other aircraft time-share firms, however, Business JetSolutions is the first where an aircraft manufacturer is directly involved in the business.
Company officials believe that the programme responds to a growing demand for fractional ownership. Business JetSolutions, which is offering the FlexJet aircraft time-share programme, has also taken over AMR's Alliance scheme and created the AlliancePlus (Learjet/ Challenger) programmes in which aircraft owners can reduce their costs by chartering otherwise- unused aircraft time.
The venture will be headed by Robert Gillespie, president of Bombardier's new Business Jet- Solutions division and AMR Combs veteran Dale Niederhauser, head of the Business JetSolutions flight operations company. Gillespie will concentrate on marketing and sales, while Niederhauser will run day-to-day operations. The joint venture is headquartered at the AMR Combs site at Love Field in Dallas, Texas. The partners will not reveal their partnership stakes.
The joint venture still awaits final regulatory approvals, from the US Department of Transportation and the US Federal Aviation Administration. FlexJet operations are scheduled to begin in June. Sales efforts are already under way, and Gillespie says that he is "in advanced stages of negotiations with several prospective customers".
Bombardier's main contribution to the company is aircraft. Initially, ownership shares will be available in ten new and four used aircraft. New aircraft include four Learjet 31As, four Learjet 60s and two Canadair Challengers. In addition, New York-based Jet Support Systems, which launched the Share System fractional-ownership scheme in 1994, has sold two 31As and two 60s to the joint venture.
The late-model Learjets are being refurbished and updated with new avionics. The first of the aircraft will be available in June, and all will be in service by October 1995. Gillespie "...fully expects that the project will expand to include the new Global Express".
As with similar ventures, customers are guaranteed an aircraft within 4h. The company also sells eighth (100h/year) and quarter (200h/year) shares in aircraft. For each share, the owner signs a five-year management agreement, and pays a monthly management fee and hourly flight fees.
Source: Flight International