As Europe edges closer to recession and fuel prices creep upwards, private aircraft operator, Jet Republic, has placed an order for 100 Learjets worth US$1.5bn.
The company claims this is the largest single European order of business aircraft in history and will “redefine the private jet business” in Europe. Its fleet would link 1,000 airports across Europe, starting from next month.Headquartered in Lisbon, Portugal, Jet Republic will serve the Western Europe and Russia. It said it is targeting the three million super-rich across Europe and that the number was set to grow by 250,000 next year, despite the economic downturn. It expects its core market to be the UK and Ireland, and it is also targeting wealthy Russians and Eastern Europeans.
According to the company, Jet Republic has been able to secure “substantial” financial backing from private Austrian bank Euram and a consortium of its clients. Jet Repubic’s president, Viktor Popovic, is also Chief Executive Officer of Euram Bank, which counts a number wealthy Russians as its clients.
At a launch event at Farnborough airport, the 36-year-old former RAF pilot, brushed off suggestions that this might not be the best moment to launch a new private jet company.
Jonathan Breeze, founder chief executive of Jet Republic, said: “Despite the current economic climate, the private jet market is enjoying strong growth.”
“This is a sensible, profitable, logical business,” he added. “I think the challenge in the financial markets simply changes the metrics… If anything it probably strengthens the proposition,” he said.
Jet Republic said it was offering fractional ownership of a jet for around €7,500 per flying hour as well as other pre-payment card plans.
He said the prices would be the same as rival operators such as Net Jets, where several key staff had previously worked. However he believes the company would beat rival by offering better service and perks such as in-flight service attendants and proper espresso coffee.