European Skytime has started a helicopter fractional leasing programme based in the London area 15 months after the UK operator began its Flight Commitment Programme selling block hours in business jets.

The UK company says there is a growing demand for swift connections to and from London's airports - Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted, Farnborough, Biggin Hill and Northolt - and Battersea heliport. "Flights outside of the London airports zone are possible but not guaranteed," says Skytime.

Under the helicopter Flight Commitment Programme, customers purchase a minimum of 25 block hours a year for c87,500 ($77,800), equivalent to c3,500 for a one way/hour trip. This entitles the customer to a 24h guaranteed response time in a two-pilot, instrument flight rules, five-seat helicopter. Existing customers can interchange some of their jet hours into helicopter shuttles.

If the programme is successful, European Skytime plans to launch a similar venture in another European city.

Source: Flight International