It has been a while since I have discussed the status of European operators, but an article in Time magazine recently highlighted the efforts of both Blink and Jetbird. The article entitled “Private Jets: Air Pressure” discussed again the projections about the number of vljs operating in Europe in the future and how that might impact airspace traffic and congestion - especially at the higher altitudes where fuel efficiency is the greatest.
Blink, which will be flying the Cessna Citation Mustang, and Jetbird, which has chosen the Phenom 100, are both discussed in the article. Based in Dublin, Jetbird’s website is still calling for a 2009 launch while Blink — claiming to be Europe’s “first air taxi service” — with its headquarters in London has indicated it will begin operations this month. The article also discusses a concern of Eurocontrol with the potential adverse impact of vljs (that I discussed here a few months ago):
It notes that “[i]n October, Eurocontrol will conduct a simulation in Budapest that will flood air-traffic control with hundreds of microjets. If the test suggests that the safety of larger planes could be compromised, Eurocontrol may push regulators to mandate dedicated flight paths and better collision-avoidance gear.”
My sense is that ultimately the European market and customers for air taxis are somewhat different from that in the US with much greater initial attraction to leisure and vacation travel in Europe in addition to business travel. It will indeed be interesting to compare the two markets as they emerge. While there might be quite a few differences, one thing is the surley same: the common themes of improvements in quality of life and efficiency and renewed enjoyment in air travel are shared by both current US operators and prospective European operators.