Start-up very light jet management company JetAviva says it will follow the Southwest Airlines model to keep its costs down by having "one type of aircraft, one type of pilot, and one type of mechanic".

"There's no one out there that has this focus," says Cyrus Sigari, president of the Van Nuys, California-based company. "Others manage many aircraft types and there's variability in terms of operations, pilot to pilot, maintenance shop to maintenance shop."

The company, led by Sigari and other ex-Eclipse Aviation employees, is quickly getting the chance to prove whether such a model will do for general aviation what Southwest has done for the airlines. The company formally launched its service offerings this month when three managed aircraft joined the fleet Eclipse 500s. "We believe the product is just fantastic," says Sigari.

Services offered to new owners of the VLJ include pre-delivery and acceptance service, providing cost off-setting revenue for owners who want to maximise use of their assets, aircraft trade-in services, maintenance management and pilot staffing.

Sigari says his company has performed most of the aircraft acceptance tests for Eclipse jets delivered to owner-pilots to date, checks that include a pre-delivery flight test, an 800-point technical inspection of the aircraft and a cosmetic inspection. Sigari, a former propulsion system engineer with Eclipse, was the project leader on for the non-Halon PhostrEx fire-suppression system for the engines.

The company has four trained pilots on staff, most of whom fly with owners who are pilots themselves, but want a professional pilot in the cockpit for safety, a practice Sigari says can cut insurance rates by as much as half.

The company charges customers a monthly management fee and hourly costs for pilots. Owners who allow JetAviva to use their aircraft for Part 91 revenue opportunities have their monthly management fee waived and are paid an hourly rate for the use of the aircraft, Sigari says.

JetAviva plans to open offices in Florida later this year coincident with "a number of" Eclipse 500 deliveries to members in the state, and is planning for additional expansion as well. Sigari says he has a Part 135 application on file with the US Federal Aviation Administration and plans to be approved for air taxi flights in the first quarter next year.

Source: Flight International