Just weeks after placing a 1,000 aircraft order with Eclipse Aviation to create an air-taxi network in North and South America, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Nimbus Group has signed a letter of intent to create an affiliate operation in the Middle East. Kuwait-based Beidoun Holdings will make an equity investment in Nimbus and the two companies plan to form a joint venture to operate a service using Eclipse 500 personal jets.

Nimbus is in talks with Eclipse in an effort to secure extra early delivery slots for the Middle East operation. "This was not part of our 1,000-aircraft order. It was not on our radar initially," the company says. Nimbus believes there is a "huge need" for air taxi service in the Middle East.

Eclipse 500 deliveries to Nimbus under the 1,000-aircraft order are set to begin in 2004. The US company is proceeding "aggressively" with efforts to set up an alliance of air charter operators and brokers under the Nimbusjets brand. Nimbus will own the aircraft, which will be leased to operators, and will manage the internet-based booking system, in a return for a share of revenues.

Source: Flight International