After initial success, marketing of inexpensive fractional-lease programme to intensify

Marquis Jet Partners is stepping up marketing of its short-term business-jet fractional-lease programme after a successful "soft launch". The New York-based company says its Private Jet Card programme, which began last August, has over 200 customers, including 20 in Europe.

Marquis buys fractional shares in aircraft operated by NetJets and resells one-year leases of its shares in increments of 25 occupied hours. "We buy the shares and lease 25h interests to clients," says chief executive Alan Clingman. "We own about eight full aircraft now and every month we increase our position with NetJets."

The Private Jet Card was conceived as a way of bridging the gap between ad hoc charter and fractional ownership, which requires a substantial capital investment and a long-term commitment. Marquis buys the share, signs a five-year agreement with NetJets, and pays the monthly management and hourly occupancy fees.

The cardholder's commitment is limited to a minimum 25h lease, costing $109,000 for a Cessna Citation V and $329,000 for a Gulfstream IV-SP. The lease is valid for one year, but some customers have purchased a 25h interest for a single mission, says Clingman.

Although the programme was launched at the start of last year, it took months to reach agreement with the US Federal Aviation Administration on how the aircraft should be operated, as the passengers are not the owners. As a result, Marquis aircraft are operated under Part 135 rules governing charters and not Part 91 rules applicable to private aircraft.

"NetJets operates our aircraft in a slightly different way," says Clingman. "The most serious impact is that certain runways are too short and there are stricter rules on weather and pilot rest."

Marquis guarantees an aircraft will be available within 10h, the same availability provided by a one-sixteenth share in a NetJets aircraft.

Source: Flight International