Business aircraft operator Indigo was poised to kick-start its public charter service on 3 March with two of the 25 Embraer Legacy business jets it has on order. The Chicago-based company became the US launch customer for the ERJ-135 regional jet derivative following delivery of the first aircraft last December.

The 16-seat Legacy Shuttle will relaunch Indigo's regular and frequent charter service linking Chicago Midway with New York Teterboro which has been dormant since the end of last year, when its ageing Dassault Falcon 20 fleet was finally phased out.

Indigo chairman and chief executive Peter Pappas says: "We plan to have nine aircraft in the fleet by the end of July. Then we will take a recess before starting deliveries again in 2004." As well as the 25 aircraft on order, Indigo has 50 options, which Pappas says it will exercise as demand builds up. "This is the beginning of a new niche in aviation offering a first-class, customised, hassle-free, time-saving service at a competitive rate," he says.

Indigo expects to operate to a full schedule of up to four round trips a day, five days a week on the route, says Pappas. A second route will open up in April between Midway and White Plains, New York, and Indigo has also identified other "potential" routes to general aviation airports in Atlanta, Boston, Denver and Philadelphia, Pappas says.

Source: Flight International