Two Canadian fractional-ownership schemes have begun operations with Cessna business jets. Calgary-based AirSprint, which has been operating single-turboprop Pilatus PC-12s for two years, has added its first Citation Excel, with a second aircraft due in February, while Jet-Share has launched operations with a Toronto-based Citation Bravo.

AirSprint operates eight PC-12s, divided between east and west Canada, and the first Excel is being used to link the two fleets, says president Judson Macor. The second will join the eastern fleet and a third Excel is being considered. The company has a "couple of dozen shareholders", he says.

Jet-Share is operating one Bravo, with a second to arrive this month. It plans to have five in service by early next year: three based at Toronto Pearson Airport and two at nearby Buttonville Airport. Much of Jet-Share's flying is between Toronto and Florida, says president Michael Bannock. The company plans eventually to expand to Calgary and Vancouver in the west and Montreal and Halifax in the east.

The schemes are modelled on US fractional-ownership programmes and both companies express hopes of teaming up with providers south of the border. "We would hope to join forces with a US fractional in 12-24 months," says Macor.

The introduction of fractional ownership to Canada has been delayed by the need to change rules governing aircraft ownership. In the USA, fractionally owned aircraft can be operated under rules governing private aircraft, but in Canada fractional providers are required to lease aircraft back from owners and operate them under commercial air transport rules. US programmes such as NetJets and Bombardier FlexJet have Canadian shareowners, but rules prevent flying customers within Canada.

Proposed fractional-ownership provider ShairForce has cleared a hurdle in its bid for US Department of Transportation (DoT) approval by finding an airline partner to operate its planned Boeing Business Jet fleet. The New York-based company will operate BBJ2s under the Part 121 scheduled-airline operating certificate of North Carolina-based Pace Airlines. ShairForce says the deal will avoid the "excessive costs of Part 91 fractional-ownership programmes and private charters".

Additional reporting by chris kjelgaard in Washington DC

Source: Flight International