Kate Sarsfield/LONDON

FlightTime.com plans to expand its on-line charter reservation service to Europe, Asia and the Middle East within the next year and is preparing a multi-million dollar investment to promote the brand across the regions.

FlightTime.com chief executive Jane McBride says: "We hope to bring the service to Europe initially, with the launch planned at the Farnborough Air Show in July. We believe Europe is ready for FlightTime.com and we shall inject up to $15 million to market the service."

On-line charter reservation is a new concept for Europe, but McBride concedes the "overburdened traveller" will embrace the service once the benefits are realised. "FlightTime.com is designed to simplify travel booking," she says. "With a few clicks a customer can research a flight from Geneva to Vienna for example, instantly obtaining a range of quotes, a choice of aircraft, seating capacity and enroute times."

She says that chartering is often overlooked in Europe as a viable business travel option, particularly for large groups, for example financial road shows and product launches. "As Europe's airports become increasingly congested and travellers are held in fortress hubs, aircraft charter will become a more attractive option," says McBride.

The Boston-based company, which has offered conventional charter broking services since 1985 under its former title, Flight Time Corporation, recently acquired international aviation safety auditor Wyvern which evaluates corporate services providers, including flight departments, brokers and aircraft operators. McBride says: "There will be new on-line charter companies entering the market over time. We want to remain ahead of the game by building a reputation for being a serious, reliable and safe global operation."

Source: Flight International