Flexjet Europe is accelerating its fleet growth and widening its service offering, in response to stronger-than-anticipated demand for bespoke charter services.
The London-headquartered company plans to add the first of several super-midsize business jets to its all-light jet line-up before the end of the year, and is preparing to introduce a range of membership-style programmes for its European and US customers.
The service was launched in March to provide onward travel to Flexjet’s North American customers wishing to travel within Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The fleet consists of three Nextant 400XTis, which according to chief executive Ray Jones have flown 50% more hours than originally forecast. “It's been overwhelming," he says. "To satisfy the demand we plan to add up to five more 400XTis by year-end."
The six-seat aircraft are popular on routes of no more than 2,000nm (3,700km) or 2h in duration, putting the southern Mediterranean within reach. However, Jones says some customers are looking to travel longer distances and with more passengers, so larger types have become a necessity.
“We will start with super-midsize types such as the [Embraer] Legacy 600. This aircraft can seat eight passengers and fly distances of more than 3,000nm – reaching popular cities like Moscow with ease,” he says. “We will look to introduce large and long-range aircraft at some point, to give our customers even more choice.”
As with the 400XTis, the Legacy 600s will be refurbished in the USA by Flexjet’s sister company Constant Aviation. The first examples will enter service early next year.
Constant, Flexjet and Nextant are owned by US private investment firm Directional Aviation Capital.
“The next piece of the jigsaw is to widen our offering with the introduction of a collection of membership-style programmes,” says Jones. Although remaining tight-lipped on the nature of these offerings, he says at the top end they will provide “a whole aircraft ownership experience”, reflecting the Red Label programme offered by Flexjet’s US sibling. This service provides dedicated crews on a range of luxury business jets.