United Airlines' parent UAL has branded its business aviation subsidiary Avolar and is seeking private investment for the next stage of development for the "standalone" company. UAL injected around $250 million to kick-start the venture, launched as United Bizjet.

The announcement comes three weeks after Avolar's planned unveiling at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) convention, which was postponed following the terrorist attacks in the USA. A scaled-down version of the NBAA convention has been rescheduled for 12-14 December in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Chicago-based Avolar is developing a fractional ownership programme, aircraft charter and management as well as shuttle operations. The company has firm orders for 12 Gulfstream GIV-SPs and GVs, with options for another 23 aircraft. Orders and options for 100 Dassault Falcon jets - a mixture of Falcon 900s and 2000/2000EXs - have also been placed.

Despite the problems of its sister company United Airlines, Avolar is keen to accelerate its entry into the buoyant business aircraft market, which is widely predicted to flourish in the aftermath of the terrorist assault, even during the US economic slowdown.

Avolar will initially concentrate on its fractional ownership operation in which it has begun selling shares. The first aircraft, probably Gulfstream types, are expected to enter service in the second quarter of next year. The fleet is to grow to around 22 jets by the end of the year, and 200 jets by 2006.

Source: Flight International