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Flexjet to hire pilots to meet demand for fractional and card programmes

Rising demand for its fractional ownership and jet card programme has persuaded Flexjet to escalate its recruitment of new pilots to satisfy the uptake.

The Bombardier-owned company and second largest fractional ownership operator recently reported a 112% increase in fractional ownership shares between January and June this year, compared with the first six months of 2012. Jet card sales climbed by nearly 70% during the same period.

The 18-year-old company has taken delivery of more than 225 Bombardier business jet types since its inception and currently operates a fleet of 35 Learjet and 44 Challenger-series aircraft

Flexjet is the launch customer for the midsize Learjet 85 - earmarked for service entry next year - and the Learjet 75. The first superlight twin jet - an upgraded version of the 45XR, which it replaces - will be handed over later this year.

Flexjet says it plans to add 20 new pilots to its line-up by the end of December.

Candidates should have at least 2,500h of total flight time, 500h of multi-engine flight time and 500h of turbine time. Additionally, all new pilots are required to have an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate and a first class medical, says Flexjet.

Once hired, new pilots are enrolled in a "comprehensive" one-month training process, says the Richardson, Texas-based company. "The initial 10-day new hire course covers everything from internal topics to Federal Aviation Administration-required subjects. After its completion, crews move into aircraft-specific ground school - ranging from seven to nine days - followed by six simulator sessions prior to their type rating check ride," Flexjet adds.

New pilots are then put through a line-oriented flight training session in the simulator before they move on to the aircraft portion of their operating experience.

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