Eight of Europe's major business air charter companies have joined together to form a strategic alliance under the name AirClub. Modelled on the alliances formed in recent years by groups of airlines, it is thought to be the first such cooperation between business operators.
Founding members ACM Air Charter, Air Alsie, Air Hamburg, Corporatejets, FlyingGroup, GlobeAir, Masterjet and PrivatAir aim to offer their customers increased flexibility and availability, while enhancing customer service.
The partners, which are based in seven different countries, will accumulate their resources and know-how, providing a wider range of solutions and more tailored approaches to their customers' needs. They believe that AirClub will enable its members to offer custo-mers those services and products that as individual operators they would not be able to provide; asset management of many diverse aircraft types, greater choice of charter aircraft ranging from very light jets to corporate airliners, as well as a broader selection of home bases.
Christian Hatje, svp business aviation of PrivatAir and chairman of AirClub, says: "History has been made. AirClub is the first ever alliance of business jet operators and will operate more than 100 business jets. We will combine the strength, purchasing power and expertise of some of Europe's leading players within the industry to provide clients with premium service, top aircraft availability and flexibility as well as the highest possible standard of safety and comfort.
"I believe that we will see the same phenomenon as in commercial aviation 15 years ago; either you are part of a great, solid group of players – an alliance – or you will struggle to survive in this increasingly challenging industry. Having all kinds of different operators within AirClub will be a huge benefit, as it allows us to learn from and complement each other. We are confident that our wide variety of experts pooled with our different backgrounds and networks make us stronger than any other player in the industry."
Hatje adds: "We will strive to launch our own AirClub online booking system, allowing customers to choose from a vast, diversified fleet located all over Europe, as well as a special member's programme to complement the latter early next year. Booking a private jet through our online system will be as easy as renting a car."
Mauro de Rosa, chief marketing officer Europe at GlobeAir AG and deputy chairman of AirClub, says: "GlobeAir is very proud to be a part of the first, and so far only, corporate jet alliance. We are always looking for ways to upgrade our customer service and partnering with other operators offers our customers the benefit of an extended fleet.
"AirClub is an absolute milestone in today's business aviation and we are convinced it will further enhance our standing as an industry."
Other operators may be invited to participate in AirClub in the future.