DUBAI Dec 13 Out-of-favour corporate jet
ownership is fuelling growing demand for flights offered by
business aircraft operator VistaJet, the founder and chairman of
the Malta-based firm said.
"The purchase of a business jet is not necessarily seen
favourably by the boards or by the shareholders," Thomas Flohr
told Reuters during a visit to Dubai on Tuesday.
However, executives still want the flexibility to "travel to
more destinations in the shortest period of time," he added.
VistaJet will carry 50,000 passengers and operate 20,000
flights this year, which Flohr said represents growth of between
20 and 25 percent. In the U.S. and the Middle East and Asia
regions growth is as high as 50 percent, he said.
And it expects to increase annual aircraft usage by 50 per
cent to 1,200 hours by 2019, more than three times today's
industry average, Flohr said.
This year, average business jet usage is around 340 hours,
according to according to New York-based aviation research firm
JetNet, while VistaJet, which operates a fleet of 72 Bombardier
aircraft, is on track to reach 800 hours.
VistaJet, which launched in 2004 and originally registered
in Switzerland, charges customers on average between $11,000 and
$16,000 per flight hour.
It competes with NetJets, owned by Warren
Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc, who pioneered the
"fractional" ownership model in the U.S. in the 1980s, where
customers buy a share of a plane in return for guaranteed access
for a fixed number of hours or days in a year.
Flohr, a former asset finance executive, said VistaJet is
making money, but declined to comment on revenue or profit.
VistaJet's fleet is made up of Bombardier Global 5000s and
Challenger 350s, with ten of its jets based in the U.S. and
operated and managed by General Dynamics unit Jet
Aviation. A single jet in China is managed and operated by Apex
Two new planes will be added this year and a third in 2017,
fulfilling a firm order for 75 Bombardier jets, Flohr said,
adding that VistaJet is unlikely to need new aircraft until
(Editing by Alexander Smith)