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13 October, 2006 - 14:47 By Staff Reporter

Luton to New York service ready to fly January 2007

Silverjet, the Luton-based all business class ‘low-fare’ airline, is now taking bookings for its new London Luton to New York City service after it announced the inaugural flight will take place on Thursday 25 January 2007.Confirmation of the date came after Silverjet reached an agreement with Thomsonfly Ltd for the acquisition of two Boeing 767s for £15.19m. £1.52m has been paid by way of deposit and the balance is payable as to £6.83m upon delivery of the first aircraft by the end of March 2007, and as to £6.83m upon delivery of the second aircraft by the end of October 2007.

Silverjet has already agreed to pay up to £5.5m over three years for two businesses, which will secure it an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC), an Operating Licence and a Boeing 767 that has been earmarked as the airline’s launch aircraft.

The airline has also just been granted an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) who are also expected to grant Silverjet its worldwide schedule Licence over the next few weeks.

Lawrence Hunt , Silverjet’s chief executive officer, said: “The acquisitions we have announced today mean that Silverjet will be ready for take off within three to four months. Launching Silverjet in such a short period of time following our successful IPO is a significant achievement for our management team.”

The acquisition of international carrier Flyjet with its CAA documentation means that Silverjet will not need to outsource the operation of its aircraft to a third party, nor will it need to apply for its own AOC, poroviding significant operating and capital expenditure savings.

The acquisition of Skylease secures the additional Boeing 767 aircraft which will be Silverjet’s launch aircraft. The lease cost of the aircraft is below both current market rates and the parameters in Silverjet’s business plan. Skylease also leases two additional aircraft, both Boeing 757s, which are currently chartered to various tour operators through Flyjet.

The aggregate consideration for Flyjet and Skylease will be between £4.0m and £5.5m, paid in cash over a period of three years, dependent on the performance of the businesses and net assets at completion.

Silverjet recently announced a $37m (£20m) financing deal to fund the purchase of two Boeing 767 – 200 aircraft from Thomsonfly Ltd, scheduled for delivery by no later than 31 March and 31 October 2007.

The airline entered into a letter of intent for the financing with Novus Aviation Ltd to sell and lease back, and to fund the refurbishment and fit out of the two aircraft. The arrangements extend for a period of ten years and include, within the fit out, the purchase and installation of new Sicma flat beds.

Both the Thomsonfly and Novus agreements are scheduled for completion by the end of the year.

Hunt said: “Silverjet is the first British airline to offer an all business class service. Our customers will be able to enjoy an industry beating 30 minute check in from a private jet terminal at London Luton an average £999 return fare and an award winning flat bed.”

Silverjet raised £25.3m when it listed on London’s Alternative Investment Market in May this year and is now valued at around £35m. It intends to fly between London Luton airport and New York’s Newark airport, making it the region’s only British all-business transatlantic carrier.

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