NETJETS, the corporate jet company backed by legendary investor Warren Buffet, is holding meetings with the Department of Defence officials in the hope of benefiting from the cabinet decision to stall plans to purchase a new executive jet.
Netjets, which offers flexible jet usage on a timeshare basis, believes that it is now well placed to service government's needs, particularly during the EU presidency in the first half of next year.
Netjet had previously been considered an outsider for the 60m jet contract as it was offering an alternate solution to the purchase of a jet. The company offers a range of jet options. It is not clear whether a new tendering process will be initiated for the hire of jets for the presidency.
NetJet claims to have 3,500 customers, "only a fraction of whom are celebrities" a spokesman said. It operates 513 aircraft worldwide, and 250,000 flying hours annually. It has 2,500 pilots and the company only buys new aircraft. Corporate clients include Nokia and GE.
Under the original Netjet proposal, the government would spend some 10m for part-ownership of a jet, which would be co-owned by other clients of the company. The company proposed government buy "fractions" in two jets, a Hawker 800XP and the larger Falcon 2000.
It claimed that the government could purchase a share in a Hawker jet, for example, entitling it to 150 hours of flying for less than 5,000 per hour flown.
The Netjets proposal may have to include flexibility to fly into smaller airports after it was revealed that many irish minister plans to host presidential meetings in their home towns.