German flag carrier Lufthansa has expanded its top-end Lufthansa Private Jet (LPJ) brand to North America through an agreement with leading US fractional ownership and charter company NetJets. Services are set to start 1 February.

A similar venture between LPJ and NetJets' Lisbon-based sister company NJE has been under way in Europe for a year. This venture, according to Jürgen Siebenrock, Lufthansa's vice-president The Americas, "has been hugely successful in enhancing the region's luxury travel options with service to more than 1,000 destinations" throughout the region.

The North American venture will mirror the European programme, with LPJ providing tailored flights throughout Europe on a fleet of aircraft managed and operated by NetJets. The service will connect more than 3,000 airports from 21 North American cities served by Lufthansa and its Swiss airline subsidiary.

LPJ will have access to NetJets' full business jet line-up - from light cabin Hawker 400XPs to long-range Gulfstream G550's - through an interchange programme with NJE.

LPJ's venture with NJE was rekindled last year after a four-year separation. The original agreement called for NetJets to provide a business jet feeder service for Lufthansa's premium passengers to and from its German hubs. The relationship began to sour when increasing numbers of Lufthansa passengers began using the service for ad hoc flights. This put a strain on NetJets' resources at a time when business was booming.

LPJ has since acquired shares in NetJets' light and midsize fleet, and also has an access agreement to the operator's large and long-range aircraft. The tie-up with NetJets led to the closure of LPJ sister company and operations arm Swiss PrivateAviation and the sale of its four Cessna Citation XLS+ and CJ3 business jets.

Source: Flight International