With a firm order for 10 Eclipse 500s and an option for 10 more, London, Ontario-based OurPlane became the first fractional customer for the very light jet, scheduled to enter service early next year. Prices for a one-quarter share of the Eclipse 500 start at $349,900, with a monthly fixed cost of $3,500 and hourly operating costs of $369, without a pilot.
Charter and Fractional
News and issues concerning the aviation charter and fractional-ownership industries and markets, including company announcements, regulations, new developments and labor issues.
Fractional operator Flight Options expanded its 75/25 program to include the Citation X and Embraer Legacy, in addition to the Hawker 400XP and 800XP. With the purchase of a single share, owners get 75 percent of occupied hours in one aircraft and the remaining 25 percent in another aircraft of their choice.
NBAA released the “Aircraft Charter Consumer Guide,” intended to provide charter users with a means for locating and evaluating charter operators. It is available free of charge at www.nbaa.org/charter.
Fractional operator Flexjet has increased the seating capacity of its Challenger 604s from nine to 12, creating a four-seat conference grouping in the aft cabin. The company is also introducing satcom and DirecTV programming on all its 604s, as well as reducing the monthly management fees and hourly rates for new Flexjet fractional owners purchasing a 50-hour share in the 604.
In last month’s overview of the fractional aircraft industry, several consultants characterized Cleveland-based Flight Options as the least financially sound of the four major fractional providers. While official Flight Options pronouncements paint a rosier picture, recent data suggests that the fractional consultants weren’t far off the mark.
The U.S. DOT’s unwillingness to ease unpopular restrictions on foreign charter operators flying into the U.S. is jeopardizing moves on the other side of the Atlantic to reform rules covering fractional ownership.
Dutch start-up Helinet will offer scheduled helicopter flights among cities in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. The Amsterdam-based company first wants to build heliports at or near office areas outside city centers. Under a joint venture with Dutch government-owned public transport operator Connexxion, the company is due to start operations with Eurocopter EC 130s in the second quarter of next year.
Two leading providers of charter industry information are embroiled in a heated legal dispute focused on the alleged acquisition and misuse of proprietary data. A North Carolina judge issued an injunction in July against charter facilitator CharterX, its new Wyvern Consulting charter audit unit and a former ARG/US employee, Cliff Maurer, for allegedly using proprietary information from ARG/US computers without the company’s permission.
Cleveland-based fractional provider Flight Options last month launched Fractional First, which it describes as a “purchase and use program designed to deliver up to a 15-percent increase in value through access to more hours or savings on long-haul trips.” All new Flight Options contracts will include Fractional First, while existing customers have the option to transition to a new Fractional First agreement for the remainder of their current
It’s one thing to find a new way of doing business. It’s quite another to make it work. Paul Touw, founder and CEO of Xojet (pronounced exojet) in San Carlos, Calif., believes he has done both.