Raytheon Aircraft has secured a second large business aircraft deal for the NetJets fractional ownership programme, following an order from Executive Jet for 20 Hawker 800XPs and an option to supply a further 16 corporate aircraft.

The bulk of the mid-size business jets will be used by the Montvale, New Jersey-based company's NetJets Europe operation, which it jointly owns with Switzerland's Zimex Aviation and Air Luxor of Portugal.

The contract matches Executive Jets order, which it placed in May 1997 for 20 Hawker 800XPs and brings the total value of the on-order and optioned aircraft to around $670 million.

NetJets' US programme already operates the world's largest Hawker 1000 fleet, with 25 aircraft "-and will manage the largest 800XP fleet when all 40 aircraft are delivered," says Raytheon. First aircraft deliveries from the 1997 order are scheduled to begin in early 1999 and will continue at a rate of five to seven deliveries a year for the next five years.

The Wichita, Kansas-based manufacturer maintains there is no conflict between NetJets and its own fractional ownership programme, Travel Air, for which 25 aircraft are operating.

"Of course NetJets is a competitor, but our programme offers a range of aircraft, [Beech King Air] that NetJets does not offer," says Raytheon Aircraft president, Art Wenger.

The Raytheon contract marks the second deal in as many days for Executive Jet, which announced an order for 12 Dassault Falcon 2000s for NetJets Europe and brings to 38, the total Falcon 2000s on order - with a value of $820 million. "Around 40% of our total fleet operate in Europe. We now have 40 customers in the region which we expect to grow to 200 in four years," says Richard Santulli, Executive Jets chairman. In contrast the US operation has 1,050 customers and is forecast to grow to 2,500 customers during the same time frame.

"We will have a recession, but we don't expect to see a degradation in our business. Fractional ownership will become more appealing to large companies which don't want the expense of aircraft ownership," he claims.

Santulli admits, however that the economic crisis in the Far East has led to a delay in launching a fractional ownership programme in the region, "We were going to announce Asia six months ago, now we will wait until 1999."

Source: Flight International