US fractional-ownership company Flight Options plans to purchase 15 additional aircraft soon after its takeover by Raytheon is completed. The additional new and used business jets will boost the fleet to 220 aircraft. Negotiations for Raytheon to take control of Flight Options in a debt-for-equity swap are expected to close this month.

Within 60-90 days of the deal closing, Flight Options will buy three Beechjet 400A light jets and two mid-size Hawker 800XPs new from Raytheon. These are covered by an existing agreement to order 115 aircraft from Raytheon as part of last year's merger of the manufacturer's fractional subsidiary Raytheon Travel Air with Flight Options. The company will also purchase four Cessna Citation Jets, two Citation IIIs, two Citation Vs and two Citation Xs, all used.

Under the deal, Raytheon will become majority owner (it already owns 49.9% of the joint venture) and take over operation of the company in return for injecting fresh equity (Flight International, 18-24 March). The fractional, formed in 1998, has yet to make a profit and is not generating enough cashflow to finance operations. Flight Options expects the restructuring to cut operating costs enough for the company to be sustainably profitable on owners' fees and not dependent on new sales of aircraft shares.

The Raytheon Aircraft Services chain of fixed-base operations will become the preferred maintenance provider, and other cost savings accruing from the takeover will include access to factory parts and better fuel purchase agreements.

Source: Flight International