Funding Problems Ground JetBird

 - December 1, 2009, 10:32 AM

Europe’s JetBird has once again delayed the launch of its air-taxi network, this time on the grounds that it needs to raise fresh capital to support the new operation using Embraer Phenom 100 very light jets. It had been due to start flights from a base in Cologne, Germany, in September and said that initial delivery delays were caused by production hold-ups at Embraer and associated capacity shortages in the pilot training process. But yesterday the Ireland-based company acknowledged that raising the additional financial backing is taking longer than expected and that it still has not started to receive its aircraft from the Brazilian airframer. On November 26, JetBird issued a “protective notice” required under Irish labor laws to indicate that it might have to lay off at least 10 percent of its 40 staff, which includes 14 pilots. Last year, JetBird indicated it had financing in place to cover the acquisition cost of the first 25 of 59 Phenom 100s that it has on firm order. The company was founded in 2006 by Irish investment group Claret Capital.