European business aircraft start-up operator Jet Republic has launched an ownership programme aimed at companies and individuals seeking to ease the burden of owning and operating a business aircraft.

The launch comes as the Lisbon-based company prepares to take delivery of the first Bombardier Learjet 60XR demonstrator.

Jet Republic says the "Free to Fly Programme" offers customers "discounts in excess of $1 million on the purchase of the midsize business jets, of which it has 110 of the types on order.

"The idea came about from a prospective customer who wanted to know if he could buy a greater share of an aircraft, but fly only a few hours a year [as means of offsetting the capital ownership against tax]," says Jet Republic chief executive Jonathan Breeze.

Jet Republic Learjet 60XR
 © Jet Republic

Members can purchase a new 60XR, he says for $13.5 million compared to a full list price of $14.6 million, which Jet Republic will buy back at a pre-determined market rate five years later at 50% of the original cost.

"The customers gets up to 200h guaranteed flying time a year for free," says Breeze. "They will incur no extra costs at all as the scheme enables us to lease the remaining hours [around 600h] to other Jet Republic customers."

Jet Republic says the scheme gives the customer an estimated annual saving on the operational costs of owning a mid-size jet of $2.1 million a year over a five-year period.

"Given the growing pressure on purse strings and based on our initial discussions with prospective clients from across Europe, we believe that this area of our business will see significant growth in the next few years," Breeze says.

The first Jet Republic-configured aircraft is earmarked for delivery in October and up to four aircraft will join the fleet by the end of the year. A further 14 aircraft will be added in 2010.

Source: Flight International