A new fractional ownership scheme has been set up in the USA, providing business aircraft at less than half the cost of existing programmes.

AVLink, a College Station, Texas-based management company, has started operating one Cessna Citation 1 and has plans to add more to the fleet.

"We have signed two customers and are talking to a number of interested parties," says AVLink president Dewayne Eidson. A second Citation 1 is scheduled for delivery in September and a third by the end of 1998. "In five years time we plan to have a fleet of about 22 Citation 1s. We are also exploring the possibility of adding a Raytheon Hawker 800 in around 2002," he adds. AVLink is aimed at first time aircraft buyers and small US-based companies that produce an annual turnover of around $10 million. "We are appealing to a more economical and cost conscious market," says Eidson.

AVlink sells shares in a "corporation", the only asset of which is the aircraft, unlike the situation in existing programmes, where shares are sold in an aircraft. "This not only provides the customer with liability protection against a potential law suit in the event of an accident, and the obvious tax deduction, depreciation and expense privileges, but it offers complete security," says Eidson.

AVlink also claims to sell its shares at prices much below those of rivals like Bombardier's Flexjet and Executive Jet's Netjets fractional ownership programmes.

"A one-eighth share [100h annual utilisation] in a Citation1 costs $265,000. Flexjet's lowest available price is for a Learjet 31A, which costs $773,000 for an equivalent share. Of course the customer has to sacrifice an extra seat and cruise speed is slower, but it depends what they consider to be more important," says Eidson.

The client will pay a monthly management fee of $3,400 and a charge of $989 per in-use hour - "significantly less than existing programmes", he adds.

Source: Flight International