TAG Aviation will early next year step up marketing for its light jet management programme, targeted at customers with business jets up to the size of the Cessna Citation CJ3. The move will coincide with the formal launch of its VLJ Flying Club fractional ownership scheme, a collaboration between TAG and aviation investor Rolf Ilsley, and a catalyst for the light jet programme.
"We realised while working on the VLJ fractional programme that there is much interest from owners of small jets for a professional management company that can leverage all the benefits of a large organisation," says TAG light jet programme manager Matthew Sheble.
Although Swiss-headquartered TAG has traditionally specialised in the management of mid-size to VIP airliner business aircraft, Sheble says the credibility of the TAG brand has extended to owners of new and current owners of small business jets who do not want to manage or fly their own aircraft. "We are not a start-up company for a start-up category," Sheble says.
The VLJ Flying Club, which is Ilsley´s brainchild, received its first 500 VLJ - serial number 12 - in September and nine more will be handed over during the first half of 2008. "We have leased the first aircraft back to Eclipse while our pilots complete their training. We should get it back next month," Sheble says.
He says the aircraft, which will be crewed by two pilots, will be sold in quarter shares and scaled to a daily, rather than an hourly, rate which is synonomous with traditional fractional ownership programmes.
North American general aviation fractional operator OurPlane has taken delivery of its first Eclipse 500 very light jet. The aircraft - serial number 066 - is the first of 21 Eclipses 500s the London Ontario-based company has ordered. It also operates a Cirrus SR22 light single-based fractional programme.