Kate Sarsfield/LONDON

Bombardier is planning to launch its Business Jet Solutions fractional ownership programme in Europe by the end of the year. An announcement could be made at the National Business Aviation Convention in October.

The Dallas, US-based programme, arguably the world's second largest fractional ownership scheme, will become the third shared aircraft operator in the region, following industry leader Executive Jet (EJA), which launched its Netjets Europe programme in June 1996. The smaller specialist company Corpavia Club was set up the same year, offering shares in two Raytheon Beechjet 400As from its Geneva, Switzerland, base.

Although Bombardier declines to disclose details of the programme before the launch, it is likely to be similar in nature to Netjets Europe, which operates three Cessna Citation SIIs and four Citation 650s. The company, a joint venture between EJA, Air Luxor of Portugal and Zimex Aviation of Switzerland, is also scheduled to take delivery of its first of 20 Raytheon Hawker 800XPs in the first quarter of 1999, and the first "of many" Dassault Falcon 2000s in the year 2000.

Bombardier has been eyeing up the European business aircraft market to build on the success of its US operation which uses Challengers, Learjet 60s and 31s.

The Canadian manufacturer last year abandoned plans to establish a charter operation on the continent with joint venture partner Lufthansa CityLine. "Research told us that there were not enough customers who were interested in this service," says the German airline. Bombardier already has a business jet maintenance tie-up with Lufthansa Technik.

Source: Flight International