Austrian air taxi company GlobeAir is planning to launch scheduled services with its Cessna Citation Mustangs, as part of its strategy to provide a range of offerings to existing and potential customers of the entry-level jets – for which it is the oldest and largest operator in the world.
GlobeAir has a fleet of 16 Mustangs. It took delivery in May of two low-time, pre-owned models, which are being readied for service entry before the end of June.
"Our plan is to have a fleet of 20 Mustangs within the year, which will give us critical mass and pan-European coverage," says GlobeAir founder and chief executive Bernhard Fragner.
GlobeAir was launched in 2007 with ambitions to offer a low-cost, pan-European air taxi service using a fleet of six-seat Mustangs. While the 2008 financial crisis and ensuing downturn in the business aircraft charter market slowed its expansion, the company has continued to grow year on year since its conception, says Fragner. "We have grown slowly but strongly, and are now the market leader in the entry-level charter segment," he continues.
"A fleet of 20 aircraft will not only give us more buying power in terms of fuel and other fixed-base operator [FBO] costs, it will also allow us to position aircraft in or close to the most popular destinations. This will reduce empty legs and positioning fees and lower the cost of charter considerably for our customers," says Fragner.
Demand for short-haul air taxi services is stronger today than it has ever been, he notes, particularly on routes such as London to Paris and Geneva.
To take advantage of this boom, GlobeAir is looking to establish a per-seat, scheduled service connecting the UK capital with Paris's dedicated business aviation airport, Le Bourget, and Geneva international airport. A Le Bourget to Geneva route is also under consideration.
"These are our most popular destinations and there is certainly enough demand on these routes for a regular, per-seat scheduled service," says Fragner.
It is too early to say from which London airport this service will operate, but London City – in the heart of the capital's financial district – is a strong contender, following GlobeAir's recent partnership with the downtown hub.
Under the terms of the agreement, reached in May, the company will base a Mustang at London City, and will promote the airport's Private Jet Centre FBO to its customers in return for favourable pricing.
"Competition for London-bound business aircraft is very fierce," says Fragner.