International aircraft charter broker Air Partner has launched a business jet service with British Airways whereby the London Gatwick-based company provides a global executive jet service to the airline's passengers.

The new service, launched on 30 April, is designed to complement BA's scheduled service network. It provides BA passengers with the ability to charter a corporate aircraft to airports not served by the airline. The service is initially being targeted at BA's UK and European customers, with the next target market identified as the USA, says Justin Barber, manager of Air Partner's executive aircraft division.

Air Partner, whose chairman Tony Mack approached BA with the idea, will manage the scheme. It is branded Business Jets, with services subcontracted to Air Partner's licensed operators. The aircraft charter broker will provide a dedicated 24h telephone reservation line, with aircraft capable of being booked at 2h notice. The scheme is geared to first time bookers of aircraft, says Barber, with a very simple and transparent pricing structure. The service will be as "easy as hiring a car", according to BA, with daily rates which include a free allocation of miles.

Various aircraft are offered, ranging from twin-engine turboprops to large corporate jets, with types split into four categories - turboprops, small, medium and heavy jets. The daily rate for chartering a turboprop, such as a Beech King Air 200, is £2,900, which includes 500 miles. There is a £5 charge for every additional mile, says Barber. Small business jets, such as the Canadair Learjet 31 or 45 and Cessna Citation CJ2, will be charged at a £3,900 daily rate including 600 miles and £6 per mile thereafter; while medium business jets, such as the Learjet 60 and Raytheon Hawker 800XP, will cost £6,900 daily including 700 miles and £7 for each additional mile. Prices for large jets, including the Gulfstream GV, Dassault Falcon series and Canadair Challenger 604, will be available on request.

Barber declines to comment on the expected market for the scheme, but predicts a "very high usage" among BA's premium class passengers. He adds that Air Partner expects the initiative is going to "drastically transform" the charter market.

Source: Flight International