Still Grounded, JetBird’s Phenoms Find Other Nests

 - January 14, 2010, 11:19 AM

JetBird, the Ireland-based would-be air-taxi operator that had hoped to be flying Embraer Phenoms already, says it is now planning to launch operations sometime this year, but news from other quarters suggests obstacles that might go beyond a mere delay. In fact, the aspiring air taxi service recently notified pilots queuing for preliminary telephone interviews that it had temporarily halted the process, saying, “We are writing to inform you that due to unfortunate delays in our launch schedule we are no longer recruiting at present.” The letter went on to say there was “no clear plan” for when recruiting activities might resume. JetBird had placed firm orders for 59 Phenom 100 light jets from Embraer but, according to the Brazilian manufacturer, the air-taxi firm was not able to take any scheduled deliveries last year. “We are therefore working on a new purchase agreement with [JetBird for] aircraft deliveries in the future,” Embraer told AIN. Embraer further said it completed eight Phenom 100s for JetBird last year, and a company spokesman said they will be reconfigured for other customers who will take delivery during the first quarter this year. JetBird originally had been due to start Phenom 100 operations from a base at Cologne/Bonn Airport in Germany in September. When contacted this week by AIN, JetBird declined to comment.