Air taxi operator Blink optimisic as it adds to fleet
UK-based low-cost pan-European air taxi operator Blink hastaken delivery of its fourth
Cessna Citation Mustang
as theglobal economic downturn brings mixed fortunes forEurope's fledgling air taxi industry.The Farnborough-based
's largest Mustangcustomer, with an order for 30 of the very light jets - says itsbusiness has remained consistently good since it beganoperating last June and five more aircraft will be added to itsfleet as planned by the end of this year."These challenging economic conditions have createdconsiderable interest in our air taxi operation fromcompanies looking to downsize from larger business jets andthose wanting to reduce their travel budgets and increaseemployees' productivity," says Blink managing director andco-founder Peter Leiman. "People still need to travel, butthey are now looking at more cost efficient ways of doingso."
Leiman says the global funding drought has hit many established and start-up operators, but Blink is "fortunate" that itmanaged to raise the requisite $30 million funding in 2007, when the market was buoyant.Blink plans to ramp up its fleet and build its European network as soon as it is viable to do so. "We plan to open a base incontinental Europe in the first half of the year that will allow us to build up our European customer base and deliver anefficient, low-cost air-taxi model."Ireland's
- which plans to be Europe's largest pan-European, low-cost air-taxi operator with up to 100
VLJs - says it is on track to begin commercial services in June as planned. Chief executive Stefan Vilnersays "we have had an overwhelming response to the programme", which will initially focus on the industrial
area of south-west Germany. "Every time there is an economic crisis, people move to a lower-cost alternative. We havealready secured a number of customers and haven't even started our marketing campaign," he adds.
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