French business-aircraft operator Wijet has teamed up with Air France to offer private jet services to the flag carrier’s first-class passengers.

The collaboration is designed to enhance Air France’s premium offering in what has become a competitive and lucrative niche.

Lufthansa blazed a trail nine years ago with the introduction of its Lufthansa Private Jets (LPJ) service, which the German flag carrier offers in partnership with the world’s largest business-aircraft operator, NetJets. “LPJ has grown year-on-year since services began,” Lufthansa says, although it remains tight-lipped on passenger, revenue, and flight numbers.

LPJ offers Lufthansa passengers onward travel via the NetJets fleet throughout Europe and North America. It also offers ad-hoc point-to-point business jet travel. “LPJ is a business that continues to add value to our customers and ourselves and helps to promote our premium service,” Lufthansa says.

The Wijet/Air France service was officially begun on 3 July using a fleet of Cessna Citation Mustangs. The charter operator says that in April, May and June, it performed “test flights” which “proved very popular”.

The service is targeted at “La Premiere” long-haul passengers flying into Air France’s Paris Charles de Gaulle hub. These customers can charter the entry-level jet to and from their final destination at a cost of €2,400 ($3,300) per hour. The connections are available to or from 1,200 airports located within 3h of Paris.

Wijet currently operates four Mustangs, is scheduled to take delivery of a fifth this quarter, and will accept another pair of four-passenger twinjets by year-end.

The Le Bourget-headquartered company is to add new bases in Brussels, Geneva and Luxembourg in September and October.