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Thursday, 15 November, 2001, 11:58 GMT
Business demand for air taxis
Citation aircraft
Air taxis offer a cost-effective method of transport
The BBC's World Business Report's Alex Ritson looks at how private aircraft charter firms are benefiting from the troubles afflicting the aviation industry.

It is no secret that the aviation industry is in crisis.

Many airlines were in trouble even before the attacks on the United States.

Flight schedules have been cut and thousands of staff laid off.

But business people still need to travel and private aircraft charter firms are reaping the benefits by offering services that are in some cases cheaper then ordinary flights.

'Viable alternatives'

There are two reasons why people have not used air taxis much in the past, according to Patrick Margetson-Rushmore, chief executive of the small charter firm, London Executive Aviation.

"Firstly, there is lack of knowledge - people have not thought about air taxis as an option," he said.

"Secondly is perception - September 11 has acted as a catalyst and people are looking for viable alternatives."

There are also other benefits, such as less formal pre-flight checks, which could be very attractive to some business travellers.

Financial Sense

Jennifer Palmer of the US-wide private charter website,, says, "Private jets can be a very practical business tool, it's not just about luxury."

"The cost of taking six or seven people on a small business jet can be less than the full fare paid with a larger airline."

For example, a business class day return from London to Frankfurt with a regular scheduled airline for six people would cost $4,600.

The same journey for six in a private turboprop would cost barely $3,500.


Mr Margetson-Rushmore said his customers appreciate other advantages, such as privacy.

"Once they are on the aircraft they can hold meetings and talk about company business," he said.

"There is also security and flexibility - you can delay or advance your time of departure."

Getting cheaper

But if you are still worried about justifying the cost to shareholders, private charter could be about to get cheaper.

Northern Ireland-based inventor Ajoy Kundu has designed a new type of small aircraft, and is currently looking for financial backers.

These smaller air companies could remain attractive until customers decide it is time for them to start travelling with the larger airlines again.

The BBC's Alex Ritson
"Private charter could be about to get cheaper"
See also:

12 Nov 01 | Business
BAA sees no pick-up in air users
13 Nov 01 | Business
Further blow to troubled airlines
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