Aircraft earmarked for longer-haul routes and those with load factor of more than 65%

Club Airways, Europe's sole members-only business airline, may introduce large-cabin aircraft types next year as it races to achieve a target of 5,000 members by the end of 2004.

Hans Schwab, Club Airways founder and chief executive, says the company is eyeing the Bombardier CRJ100/200 and Embraer Legacy, which he says offer a large passenger cabin and low operating costs and are ideal for intercontinental travel.

"Although there are few Legacys in operation in Europe," Schwab says, "we are not worried about aircraft availability in this economic climate." He says the large cabin types would be earmarked on routes with a load factor of over 65%, such as Geneva to Paris Le Bourget, and on longer-haul routes like Geneva and London to Moscow Vnukovo.

Club Airways, which was launched in February, operates scheduled services from its Geneva base to business aviation centres in Basle, London City, Paris Le Bourget, and Milan. The route network is serviced by Cessna Citation Bravos, Citation IIs and Dassault Falcon 20s owned and operated by Club Airways operating partners Jet Aviation of Switzerland and Elbe Air and Triple Alpha of Germany. Last week UK operator Bookajet International began services for Club Airways, using its BAe 125-700 and Raytheon Hawker 800s.

Schwab says early next year the company will introduce new routes and establish bases in key German business centres. "We expect the German market to be very popular," he adds. Club Airways will first launch the Düsseldorf to London service, followed by Munich, which will link Geneva, London, Paris and Zurich. "Frankfurt will follow later in the year," Schwab says.

The company's rapid expansion has resulted in over 550 members in under 10 months, of which over 100 are in the UK and the rest in Geneva. Over the next 12 months Club Airways will create an operating structure at each destination in an attempt to build up regional membership.

South African members-only business class shuttle service SunAir is hoping to add routes to its network as part of a liberalisation of scheduled services from Johannesburg's Lanseria corporate jet airport. The company, majority-owned by venture capitalist CIRC, started a shuttle between Lanseria and Cape Town International with a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 in September. This was Lanseria's first scheduled service. Resultant rule changes mean the operator may add a shuttle to Virginia airport in Durban.



Source: Flight International