Graham Warwick/WASHINGTON DC

Cessna-backed fractional ownership programme CitationShares is to add the manufacturer's CitationExcel superlight business jet to its fleet. The company currently offers shares in the entry-level Citation CJ1 and Citation Bravo light jet.

The move, in response to demand from customers for a larger aircraft, would appear to bring the company into direct conflict with Executive Jet's NetJets fractional ownership scheme, Cessna's largest customer for the Excel and other Citations. But CitationShares, based in Greenwich, Connecticut, says its programme is strictly regional, limited to the eastern USA. NetJets is national.

CitationShares, a joint venture between Cessna and TAG Aviation, was launched in July last year to provide the lowest cost of entry into the fractional ownership of Citation business jets. As a result, the Excel programme is likely to offer lower monthly management and hourly occupancy fees than NetJets' Excel fractional scheme.

The current CitationShares fleet includes seven company-owned Citations - one CJ1 and six Bravos. Delivery of customer-owned aircraft begins in July. The company says it has signed up around 75 owners so far.

The first Excel will arrive in November and six new CJ1s and six new Bravos will be added this year. In 2002, the company plans to add seven more Excels, 11 CJ1s and 13 Bravos.

By the end of next year, the CitationShares fleet will exceed 60 aircraft, with Raytheon Beech King Air C90s and B200s taken over from TAG's original StarStares programme.

Source: Flight International