By Kate Sarsfield in London

Switzerland’s JetBird is working on the next phase of its on-demand charter operation, which is scheduled to start in April 2009, with 50 Embraer Phenom 100 very light jets and Phenom 300 light business jets on order. Key objectives, says JetBird founder and chairman Domhnal Slattery, are to appoint a chief financial officer and a head of sales and marketing and start recruiting early next year.

Slattery says his strategy is to build the JetBird brand before its launch. “To help us do this we plan to target two to three core clients, such as pan-European travel companies and large corporations, which will buy into the JetBird [on-demand charter] concept.” Slattery would also like to team with “like-minded companies, or stakeholders, such as fixed-base operators or regional airport owners who will help to establish and grow the brand”, he says.

“We plan to be a true low-cost provider of business aviation for people who are seeking out value for money. The entry-level price point for business aircraft travel hasn’t been low enough to date to bring mass appeal. We intend to change all that,” Slattery says.

JetBird’s first operating base will be in Zurich or Geneva, or both, says Slattery. “We will build critical mass of around 15 aircraft in each geographical region and expand our base organically,” he adds.

JetBird is scheduled to take delivery of up to 15 aircraft in the first year of operation and 20 aircraft in the second, but Slattery says he does not want to “over-market” the company too early in case the demand for aircraft outweighs supply.

Source: Flight International