A 36-year-old former British air force pilot and his financial backers have placed the biggest ever order for Learjets — worth $1.5b — in the belief that the global credit crunch will not affect high net worth individuals and their need to travel around the world on private aircraft.
Jonathan Breeze, chief executive of the newly launched Jet Republic, has placed an order for 110 Bombardier Learjet 60XRs which will provide customers with airborne internet connections for their BlackBerry mobile phones, special security systems and multilingual flight attendants.
Mr. Breeze, who claims his company offers “a five-star boutique hotel in the sky” believes that the banking crisis could work in his favour and he says the company is quite different from airlines such as Silverjet, EOS and Maxjet that catered for the business community and which have all ceased trading this year.
He believes some successful entrepreneurs and high-net worth individuals could ditch plans to buy their own jets and buy space on his craft which will fly to more than 1,000 airports in Europe. The company, which will be based in Lisbon, Portugal, is promising to use offsetting to ensure carbon-neutral travel.
“We have obviously been following the credit crunch but our opinion is that some people might drop plans to invest $15m to $20m on their own private business jet and come to us,” Mr. Breeze said.
Bob Horner, senior vice-president for sales at Bombardier Business Aircraft, said the private jet market was going from strength to strength.
— © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2008