DC Aviation (stand 1029) has introduced a loyalty programme in a bid to soften the impact of the downturn on its small-jet business.

The Stuttgart, Germany-based business jet operator has a fleet of 30 aircraft, ranging in size from the Airbus A319CJ down to the Bombardier Learjet 40.

The current "difficult environment" has had a greater impact on its smaller to midsize jets than on larger ones, prompting the company to create the "DC Aviation Loyalty Club" aimed at stimulating the charter market within a defined area.

The central European area in question includes Austria, Germany, the Benelux countries, eastern France, northern Italy, Switzerland and the UK's London area.

The pool of aircraft available to club members comprises four Learjet 40s, one Learjet 45 and one Learjet 60. Members are not required to make a commitment up front. Rather, they pay on a sliding scale.

Within the first year of the programme -running from 1 June 1 to 31 May2010 - members pay €4,500 ($6,100) per hour for the first 10 hours, €4,250 for each of the next 10, and €4,000 for each of the next 10. No positioning charges apply within the defined region. If the aircraft is moved out of the region, a positioning charge is applied, but the hours are still credited to the member's loyalty programme. The member must select an airfield within the defined area as its home base.

Kraft says the programme is designed for potential customers unsure of their level of demand and therefore reluctant to make commitments. DC Aviation hopes the programme can bridge a gap until demand returns and customers are more prepared to purchase blocks of small-jet capacity.

Source: Flight Daily News