Virgin Charter has opened its online marketplace, marking the conclusion of a 14-month evaluation and testing period during which a group of "invited" corporate and individual buyers used the free online marketplace.

Virgin Charter says the backing of Virgin Group chief executive Sir Richard Branson, coupled with Virgin's strong global brand, should help the company to become a major player in the online charter market.

Virgin says its technology allows customers to compare offers based on price, aircraft, quality and safety. It is also evaluating similar products in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.