Flexjet is gearing up for what it predicts will be another record year as the first Learjet 40XR light jets enter service with the Bombardier-owned fractional ownership operator.

“2005 was our best year to date [in terms of customers and shares sold] and 2006 could be even better if the resurgence in demand for fractional ownership continues,” says Mike McQuay, president of Bombardier Aircraft Services.

He says Flexjet is the third largest fractional ownership programme with 620 shareholders, and since 2002 the company’s marketshare has more than doubled from 7% at least 16%. Flexjet’s extension and retention rate at over 80% for fractional ownership has exceeded expectations. The introduction of “high value” incentives including the multiple use and Versatility Plus programmes as well as removal of ferry fees to Europe and Hawaii, have boosted Flexjet’s popularity, McQuay says. “These have been a critical component in keeping customers in the programme and converting owners from other programmes.”

The stable of new aircraft is also a vital component in Flexjet’s growth strategy. “We operate a fleet of 84 business jets and are planning to take 50 new aircraft over the next three years,” McQuay says, including seven Learjet 40XRs, of which three are already in service, and four Learjet 45XRs in 2006. Flexjet is also the launch customer for the 60XR and co-launch customer for the Challenger 605, which are set to enter service in the first and third quarters of next year, respectively.

The Learjet 40XR was launched by Bombardier 15 months ago as an upgrade to the Learjet 40.


Source: Flight International