A solitary sale of an EADS Socata TBM 700 turboprop to a Luxembourg-based banker was the inspiration for a further order of 10 aircraft needed to set up a new fledgling fractional ownership programme.

The fleet of TBM 700s ordered by Jetfly Aviation will be delivered within two years and will be a significant boost whether European curbs on single engine Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) commercial operations are lifted or not, says a Socata spokesman.

The submission of statistics to authorities in support of safety claims by single engine lobbyists may lead to a lifting of restrictions, which some manufacturers say have slowed sales.

But Socata public relations director Philippe de Segovia says the more flexible conditions applied to private instead of public transportation services, which will be available through the programme, will make up to 3,000 airports in Europe accessible. This is a considerable improvement on the 800 which would be accessible under the more stringent conditions attached to IFR commercial flights.

He also sees significant potential over the long term for Socata in renewing ageing flying school trainers.

A contract that has been concluded by the company will see two TBM 700s delivered as airborne demonstrators for the French defence procurement agency (DGA).

The aircraft will be used for two strategic reconnaissance drone programmes led by EADS Systems & Defence Electronics.

Source: Flight Daily News