Gulfstream Aerospace and GATX Capital have formed a joint venture to make the Gulfstream IV-SP and V business jets available on short-term operating lease. The venture has agreed to purchase five GVs and one GIV for $210 million and has taken options on three more of each.

Unlike the company's existing Gulfstream Shares fractional-ownership scheme, the new Gulfstream Lease programme will allow access to an aircraft with no capital investment. Lease terms ranging from two to five years will be available.

Gulfstream Aircraft president Bill Boisture says the lease programme is "...conservatively sized initially and could grow substantially". The first six aircraft are scheduled be delivered between 1999 and 2001, and the option aircraft between 2001 and 2004. The venture "...could absorb them faster, but it is a big commitment", he points out.

Gulfstream GATX Leasing will be 85% owned by GATX and 15% by the business jet manufacturer. GATX, which is the world's fourth largest aircraft lessor, will handle account management while Gulfstream will tackle marketing, sales and maintenance.

The manufacturer will offer to operate aircraft on behalf of lessees under its Gulfstream Management programme.

Boisture expects availability of short-term leases to expand the market for Gulfstreams, in the same way that fractional ownership has made its aircraft affordable to a wider range of buyers. There are now 19 GIVs in the Gulfstream Shares programme operated by Executive Jet, which has just ordered three more to replace used aircraft in the company-owned core fleet. This takes orders for Gulfstream Shares to 30 GIVs, plus two GVs.

A further 12 GIVs have been sold to Middle East investors to expand the fractional-ownership programme into that region. The first aircraft will be delivered to Gulfstream's completion centre later this month and is scheduled to enter service in the first quarter of 1999, says Boisture.

Source: Flight International