Turboprop fractional ownership programme Jet Fly Aviation is set to sign its first customers from non-French-speaking countries by the end of next month. The Luxembourg-based company will sell shares in its seventh aircraft to Netherlands and UK customers.

Jacques Lemaigre du Breuil, managing director, says that breaking into other European markets is a priority. Currently, most flights last around 1h 15min and start in Brussels, Geneva and Paris airports.

Jet Fly is offering EADS Socata TBM700 single-engined turboprops in corporate configuration. The cost per hour is around half that of a jet, enabling companies to buy larger shares, says Lemaigre du Breuil. Only one of Jet Fly's customers, all large Belgian, French or Swiss industrial companies, has bought the smallest share of one eighth costing €335,000 ($295,000).

Lemaigre du Breuil believes a lower hourly rate of €1,600 compared to jets is not a turboprop's only attraction, as the aircraft can fly higher than pistons and land at shorter runways than jets. But Jet Fly is unable to charter downtime like other fractional owners as single-engined turboprops are barred from flying commercially under instrument flight rules (IFR) in Europe. Although Jet Fly has no plans to offer this service, a change in the rules would be welcome, says Lemaigre du Breuil. Jet Fly aircraft operate under private regulations.

The company negotiated a deal to sell 10 TBM700s for EADS Socata last February. EADS is keen to retain the aircraft in high-profile air-transport roles ahead of any change to Joint Aviation Authorities IFR rules.

"At the beginning of 2000, it was very difficult to get hold of the aircraft. But now we have preferred positions on the line and can get an aircraft in three months," says Lemaigre du Breuil.


Source: Flight International