Bombardier and US fixed-base operator (FBO) AMR Combs are planning a business-jet fractional-ownership programme.

The scheme will involve Bombardier Learjet 31A, Learjet 60 and Canadair Challenger aircraft, covering the light, medium and large business-jet markets. The venture is likely to be modeled on Executive Jet Aviation's (EJA) successful NetJets fractional-ownership programme.

New York-based Jet Support Systems, which launched the Share System fractional-ownership scheme in 1994, has sold its four Learjets - two 31As and two 60s - to Bombardier for use in the programme. Jet Support had sold one part-share in a Learjet and has transferred this customer to Bombardier says vice-president marketing and sales Joe Mormando.

Jet Support began talks with Bombardier early in 1995, he says, when it learned that the Canadian Company was planning its own fractional-ownership programme. The company did not believe it could compete effectively, so agreed to sell its aircraft to the manufacturer. Jet Support now plans to operate the Share System scheme using different aircraft, Mormando says.

"Bombardier's move into fractional-ownership validates our original decision to enter the business," says Jet Support president Michael Dolphin, adding: "Recent studies conducted by Bombardier suggest that fractional-ownership growth might outpace aircraft purchases."

Bombardier, which refuses to comment may see fractional ownership, as a way to increase sales particularly of the slow selling Learjet 31A. The company's competitors have been boosted by EJA orders for 25 Cessna Citation Excels, 13 Raytheon Hawker 1000s and seven Gulfstream IVs for the NetJets programme.

EJA president Richard Santulli says he "welcomes the challenge" of new competition, but warns that AMR "may not understand the complexity of a business like this." He says NetJets controls 99% of the US market, with 80% of its customers never having owned an aircraft before.

AMR Combs operates a chain of 11 FBOs in the USA and two in Mexico and, under its Alliance programme, manages a fleet of business aircraft on behalf of their corporate owners. In late 1994, Bombardier purchased four Learjet maintenance centres from AMR Combs.

Source: Flight International