Another Light Jet Joins The Race

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Avocet Aircraft Announces ProJet ...

Avocet Aircraft LLC and Israel Aircraft Industries LTD (IAI) have signed an agreement to jointly investigate the development and marketing of the Avocet Professional Jet, a next-generation jet designed specifically for the requirements of the air-taxi and fractional operator markets. The company claims the Avocet ProJet "will have an acquisition price and operating costs substantially lower than today's private aircraft."

The Avocet ProJet is a six-seat, twin-engine jet that will sell for approximately $2 million, and will be the first jet to be purpose-built for the high-utilization needs of the emerging air-taxi and fractional ownership markets.

Avocet Aircraft LLC -- headquartered in Westport, Conn. -- is led by former investment banker Carey Robinson Wolchok along with Chief Executive Officer David Tait OBE, formerly of Virgin Atlantic Airways.

... Keeping It Under Wraps

Avocet has been collaborating with IAI on this aircraft for over a year and is now entering the final definition phase.

Bob Crandall, the former chairman and CEO of American Airlines, added: "The Avocet ProJet program, like other efforts to build an affordable small jet, will be a substantial challenge. If IAI and Avocet accomplish their goals, I think this new airplane will have a profound impact on U.S. aviation and will dramatically alter the way Americans travel."

Avocet expects to begin accepting firm orders later this year, and first flight is expected in 2005 for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2006.