EBACE: Fractional operator NetJets Europe to move into aircraft management

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NetJets Europe is making its first foray into the aircraft management arena. The move is designed to complement its fractional ownership and charter card programmes and provide another revenue stream for the Lisbon, Portugal-based company.

The new venture, named NetJets Aircraft Management, will provide crew recruitment and training, flight planning, crew planning, aircraft hangarage, maintenance, and all related activities, says the company.

"An increasing number of aircraft owners were asking us why we weren't in the aircraft management business, given our expertise in the business aircraft services market," says NetJets Europe chairman and chief executive Eric Connor.

"Our sister company in the US has been offering aircraft management for many years through its Executive Jet Management arm, so it seems a natural progression for NetJets Europe to move into this area."

The European management arm will operate under a UK AOC - for which NetJets has applied - rather than its established Portuguese AOC. "We want to keep the two businesses separate," says Connor. "But until approval has been granted, we will continue to use the Portuguese AOC."

Management customers can generate income by making their aircraft available for NetJets.  This, Connor says, will also give the operator additional capacity and reduce its reliance on third-party charter providers.

Management charges will be calculated on the number of flying hours undertaken - borrowing a core principle from NetJets' fractional ownership model - rather than the "flat" management fees commonly associated with the management market.

"Our focus is on the large cabin and midsize markets - no smaller than the Cessna Citation XLS," Connor says. "There are plenty of players in the lighter end of the market to we want to position ourselves at the upper end of the spectrum."

NetJets is the largest business jet operator in Europe with 130 aircraft in its fleet. "Together with our sister company in the US, we have a bargaining power that no-one else enjoys in the market and are able to deliver better value to our customers. With the backing of Berkshire Hathaway, we can provide unparalleled financial security and scale for our customers."