Virgin Charter formally launched its online marketplace for buyers and sellers of business aviation after a nine-month evaluation and testing process.

"We launched a beta product in January inviting a small number of operators and users to test the technology and give us feedback on the product," says Virgin Charter founder and chief executive Scott Duffy. This launch has been widened to include around 100 "invited" operators and end-users, covering established travel agencies, brokers and flight departments that have access to 700 aicraft to date, Duffy says. Virgin Charter will be rolled out to all charter buyers on 1 February next year.

Duffy says the backing of Virgin Group chief executive Sir Richard Branson, coupled with Virgin's strong global brand, should help Virgin Charter become a major player in the online charter market: "We have ambitious plans, which include launching Virgin Charter in Europe as soon as we can, followed by the Middle East and Asia," Duffy says.

Source: Flight International