NetJets' European division is set to make an operational profit next year as it ramps up operations to accommodate Europe's largest-ever order for business aircraft.

NetJets Europe signed a $160 million contract last week with Raytheon Aircraft for 25 Hawker 400XP light jets, with 10 aircraft scheduled for delivery next year (Flight International, 23-29 November). Previously, NetJets Europe had taken aircraft from existing NetJets US orders, growing its fleet to a mixture of 55 Cessnas, Dassault Falcons, Gulfstreams and Hawkers. Mark Booth, Netjets Europe chief executive, says: "The economics of the marketplace here in Europe make this order viable. It's going to be a very big business."

The division has seen its customer base grow by 600% in the past 24 months and it will reach 1,000 customers across its fractional and Private/Corporate Jet Card block-charter programmes by the end of next year, says Booth. The growth figure will translate into revenue increases "roughly in line", with an operational profit now forecast for 2005, he adds. NetJets Europe will start repaying the start-up capital it used from NetJets corporate in 2006, if market conditions remain buoyant, says Booth.

Initially, the 400XPs will only be available to NetJets fractional owners, but as the fleet expands the operator says it will offer the type to jet card members. The company will start retiring its three Citation Excels as the 400XPs enter the fleet and will migrate pilots to the new types.


Source: Flight International