The collapse of fractional start-up Jet Republic will have astonished few. Launching against market leader NetJets Europe - itself troubled - at the dawn of the biggest slump in business travel was always going to be tough. Founder Jonathan Breeze's claim that high net-worth individuals and private companies in Europe were as inclined as ever to part-own a business jet took a bit of believing when excess of any sort has become such an ugly word.

However, as with the failure of even higher-profile US air taxi venture DayJet, Jet Republic's insolvency will further dent the ability of operators to raise finance in a tight credit market. So too confidence in business aviation generally, just as there are signs traffic and used aircraft prices are picking up.

The dropping of a commitment for 110 Learjet 60XRs will not endanger Bombardier in the way that DayJet's demise tipped Eclipse Aviation over the edge. But it is a blow for the programme and another kick in the teeth for Learjet's home town Wichita, where jobless aerospace workers are outnumbering those employed.

It has been a long time since anyone successfully implemented a truly disruptive business model in private aviation - NetJets, in fact, was probably the last. Breeze and Jet Republic may have been unlucky with their timing, but the conservatism of the travelling business community did not help.

Jet Republic Learjet 60XR
 © Jet Republic

Source: Flight International