Services to London City start in September after Farnborough experiment abandoned, with Paris shuttle in the offing

Swiss corporate airline Club Airways is set to relaunch scheduled routes to London after changing its aircraft provider. The company also plans to start services linking London and Paris.

In March, Club Airways was forced to abandon its launch route between its Geneva base and Farnborough after only four weeks because of negative customer feedback, says sales director Raphaël Garcia. "Everyone said that the time they saved in Geneva was completely lost getting from Farnborough to the City," he says.

Club Airways is to start twice-daily services to London City Airport from 1 September using an eight-seat Cessna Citation Bravo business jet.

Club Airways had originally planned to launch services with four Bombardier Learjet 45s provided through a "partnership" with Bombardier's Flexjet Europe block charter programme (Flight International, 21-27 January). In addition to the cessation of Farnborough services, Club Airways failed to launch proposed routes to Frankfurt and Munich due to logistical problems.

It is understood that the Swiss operation did not occupy sufficient hours to make the agreement viable and the relationship with Flexjet ended in May for "flexibility and cost" reasons, says Garcia.

Garcia says the relationship with Bombardier remains "good" and adds that Club Airways could use a Learjet for services to Munich now set to start in the fourth quarter.

The programme charges an annual membership fee of €1,500 ($1,690), plus fares for each leg taken. Garcia says the programme's route between Geneva and Paris Le Bourget has achieved average load factors of about 50% and the company is studying plans to launch a shuttle between London and Paris early next year.

The company also launched a weekly service to the Italian resort of Olbia via Cannes, France, "at members' requests" which is "almost full" and could be followed by other weekend leisure services, says Garcia. Club Airways, which has about 300 members, also has plans to expand the shuttle service to other European business centres including Amsterdam, Brussels and Madrid.

Source: Flight International