Flight Options has introduced a pre-paid, block charter-based jet card for its fractional-ownership customers, but has no immediate plans to offer it externally.

Called Access 25, the scheme is targeted at owners who have a short-term increase in demand for lift or for customers who wish to temporarily switch to another business aircraft type, says Flight Options chief executive John Nahill. He says the Raytheon-owned company will only launch Access 25 externally when it is confident it can supply enough aircraft to satisfy demand.

"We could roll it out tomorrow if we were confident it would not impact our existing owners," Nahill says, adding: "If you reach the stage where there are 32 owners per aircraft, the market cannot support it and you then begin to alienate customers."

The pre-paid jet card is becoming an essential marketing tool for fractional operators. It is designed to plug the gap between fractional ownership and charter, and lower the cost of entry into business aviation.

Flight Options is the only leading fractional player not to offer a jet card on the open market. Market leader NetJets and Bombardier Flexjet offer a 25h card through third parties - NetJets through New York-based Marquis Jet Partners and Bombardier through Delta AirElite Business Jets. Cessna and Tag Aviation will from early next year market the 25h Vector jet card programme through their CitationShares fractional ownership brand (Flight International, 14-20 October).

The joint-venture partnership has begun to offer CitationShares nationally after three years as an East Coast and central USA-focused operator.

Cessna president Charlie Johnson has retired after a period of ill-health. Jack Pelton, senior vice-president of product engineering, will take over leadership "until further notice".

Source: Flight International