German start-up JetEight is preparing to launch a business aircraft membership club in the third quarter of 2017, offering an all-you-can-fly scheduled service for a fixed monthly fee. The venture is targeting travellers in Germany and Switzerland initially, but will expand across Europe as demand grows.
“We are currently talking to a number of small and medium-sized companies, whose executives regularly use commercial airlines for short hops,” says JetEight founder Ruben Portz. “There has been a lot of interest so far, and we are confident we can sign up around 100 members by the time we launch.”
Portz says JetEight will fill a gap in the market for affordable, efficient and reliable business transportation.European airlines, he argues, have not treated their business-class passengers well.
“These carriers are losing focus on value and underserving their business-class passengers,” he says. “While trying to compete with low-cost carriers, they have forgotten what short-haul business class stands for. Whereas the business traveller would like to travel quickly from A to B, he or she ends up in dreadful security checks, slow boarding procedures and waiting for transfer passengers.”
JetEight will operate from VIP terminals at commercial airports, which Portz says will cut travel time significantly.
The service will launch with three routes – Berlin to Zurich, Frankfurt to Zurich and Frankfurt to Berlin. For a monthly subscription fee of €2,500 ($2,680), members will be able to make an unlimited number of flights on the network. “Our plan is to expand to all European business centres when demand is strong enough,” says Portz.
JetEight will offer a range of light business jets and turboprops, including the Cessna Citation CJ-series and Beechcraft King Air family. Services will be operated on its behalf by a handful of local charter companies.