Switzerland’s VistaJet (Booth No. 483) didn’t have to travel far for its appearance at EBACE this year, but it seems just as comfortable projecting a presence half-way around the world, where it has just agreed to establish a Southeast Asian regional headquarters at SkyPark Subang outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
VistaJet Holding SA
Switzerland’s VistaJet today launched its so-called Flight Solutions Program, on which it hopes to pin much of its planned expansion into the Asia-Pacific market, Europe and beyond. VistaJet’s new program consists of private jet partnership and ownership “solutions.” The partnership component allows customers to commit to 100, 200, 300 and 400 hours per year in exchange for a monthly fee.
The number of deliveries of new business aircraft is expected to increase substantially in the next 10 years, but this will be accompanied by a reduction in orders, especially in the short term, according to new Bombardier Aerospace statistics.
Executive charter group Air Partner has received a green light to proceed with its plans to create a purpose-built business aviation enclave at London Biggin Hill Airport (Booth No. 1653). Valued at almost $14 million, the project includes construction of a 40,000-sq-ft hangar on a site leased from the privately run airport.
Bombardier’s new Flexjet Asia executive charter program began operations on February 22 in a bid to make business aviation more readily available to visiting Westerners and the continent’s indigenous business community.
Bombardier Aerospace’s business aircraft market forecast, released last week, predicts that 1,320 business jets, ranging from light twinjets to corporate airliners, will be delivered annually over the next 10 years. According to the Canadian aircraft manufacturer, this is more than a twofold increase from the industry average of about 620 business jets delivered annually between 1998 and 2007.
Competition in the fractional-ownership market is intense, and the players are constantly changing. Inevitably, as in any emerging market, those with the soundest, strongest and most aggressive business plan will likely expand and grow.
Fractional aircraft owners who were assured five years ago–when business aviation was booming–that their shares would retain 75 to 80 percent of their value are discovering to their dismay that those shares have in some cases retained as little as 50 percent of the original worth. “It’s the first real test of the fractional-ownership system,” said one observer, “and some of the share owners aren’t liking what they’re seeing.”
Bombardier has relaunched its Flexjet Europe business aircraft shared-use program under the name Jet Membership. The new program, which was unveiled February 12 in London, will use an all-Bombardier fleet of some 40 aircraft operated by 10 approved executive charter operators around Europe and will offer hourly rates that are 10 percent lower than the original Flexjet Europe concept.
This year’s Olympic Games in Beijing could provide the catalyst for Chinese authorities to adopt a more user-friendly attitude toward business aviation, according to Judith Moreton, managing director of Bombardier’s Skyjet International block charter program.