UAL's first assault on business jet market will focus on chartering aircraft to fly executives on domestic and international routes not served by airlines

The corporate shuttle element of United Airlines' ambitious plan to enter the business aviation market will involve the lease of a single Embraer Legacy for the first year of operations. Airbus or Boeing aircraft, and others operated on behalf of their owners, could be added later.

United's parent UAL has revealed more details of its plans in a filing with the US Department of Transportation (DoT) for approval to provide corporate shuttle and on-demand air charter services using executive-configured large jet aircraft.

UAL has formed a new company, United Biz Jet Holdings, to enter the business aviation market. This has three subsidiaries:

Biz Jet Charter, which will provide on-demand charter services using smaller aircraft operating under Part 135 rules; Biz Jet Fractional, which will sell shares in business jets and operate aircraft on behalf of their owners; Biz Jet Services, which will provide corporate shuttle and charter services under the Part 121 rules governing large aircraft operations.

Biz Jet Services will be the first part of UAL's new venture to begin operating aircraft. The company plans to lease a Raytheon Hawker 800 mid-size business jet for use during US Federal Aviation Admin-istration certification of the operation. The Legacy will be acquired once Biz Jet Services has received its Part 121 certification. The business plan calls for delivery of the aircraft by October, allowing revenue operations to begin in November.

According to the DoT filing, Biz Jet Services plans to provide companies with dedicated corporate shuttle services, both domestic and international, particularly between cities with minimal or no direct airline service. The company will also contract to manage aircraft for other parties, including corporate flight departments, governments and individuals.

UAL has previously said that Biz Jet Fractional plans to begin selling shares in June and will start operating aircraft early next year. The company intends to operate up to 200 business jets by 2005, and has memoranda of understanding with Dassault and possibly, Gulfstream.

Source: Flight International