Graham Warwick/WASHINGTON DC

The four largest US fractional ownership programmes increased their combined fleet by 42% last year, adding 148 aircraft for a year-end total of 503, according to analysts Aviation Research Group/US (ARG/US). The company is projecting rapid growth over the next five years.

Based on registration data provided to the US Federal Aviation Administration by the fractionals, ARG/US calculates the four leading programmes added 1,039 share owners last year, for a combined year-end total of almost 3,600.

According to ARG/US, Executive Jet's NetJets programme ended 2000 with a 47% market share in terms of aircraft share owners, followed by Bombardier's FlexJet and Raytheon TravelAir with 19% each and Flight Options with 15%.

The Cincinatti, Ohio-based company says NetJets led US domestic fractional sales last year, selling 61.25 aircraft. Surprisingly, Flight Options climbed from fourth to second place, with 31.75 aircraft sold. Travel Air ranked third with 26.63 sales, while Flexjet was fourth, selling 20.06 aircraft.

ARG/US says the most popular aircraft programme with fractional buyers last year was NetJets' Cessna Citation X scheme. NetJets' Citation Ultra and Travel Air's Raytheon Beechjet 400A programmes tied for second place, with Flight Options' Beechjet 400A and Flexjet's Bombardier Learjet 60 programmes in fourth and fifth place, respectively.

Across the four programmes, the most popular aircraft was the Beechjet 400A, says ARG/US, with 27 aircraft sold by Flight Options and Travel Air. The Raytheon Hawker 800XP was second, with 19.94 aircraft sold by Flight Options, NetJets and Travel Air. The Citation X and Ultra ranked third and fourth, with NetJets selling 15.88 and 13.75 aircraft, respectively, while Flexjet sold 10.75 Learjet 60s, placing it fifth.

ARG/US expects the US fractional fleet to grow to over 1,400 aircraft by 2005. The company projects around 80 light jets and almost 70 midsize jets will be added a year, plus a total of 60 turboprops over the next five years.

Source: Flight International