Carrier and NetJets Europe form joint venture to offer elite passengers connections to over 1,000 airports

NetJets has formed a partnership with Lufthansa to offer the airline's elite passengers business jet connecting flights throughout Europe. The partnership is "exclusive" to Lufthansa, says Richard Santulli, chief executive of the world's largest fractional-ownership company, and may be replicated in the USA and the Middle East where NetJets fractional programmes also exist.

The venture, set for launch on 29 March, will initially be focused on the German flag carrier's second hub at Munich, from where customers using the airline's long-haul flights will be offered business jet connections to more than 1,000 airports in Europe. Point-to-point flights will also be available.

"What is different about Lufthansa is that they realise most airlines try to sell a commodity product," says Santulli. "Lufthansa has made people realise there is a difference – this is not a commodity product." He says NetJets was first approached by a US carrier "eight to nine years ago" but has only now decided to go ahead with such an airline partnership.

Branded "Lufthansa Private Jet", the service will be operated by NetJets Europe using superlight Cessna Citation Excel and Bravo light business jets. The operation will undergo six months of "market tests" targeted at a "select group" of first- and business-class passengers, says Lufthansa.

Munich is not slot-constrained like Lufthansa's Frankfurt base, though the latter accommodates most of the airline's long-haul flights. Lufthansa chief executive Wolfgang Mayrhuber says that if popular, the sevice will be extended to other German cities. Santulli says: "If we are doing one, two, three flights a day on average for the first three months, I would consider that successful."

A typical business jet flight from Munich to Lugano would cost €4,550-5,650 ($6,030-7,480) depending on the aircraft type, and up to €300 is charged for each additional passenger.



Source: Flight International