Now a minority stakeholder in JetSuite, Inc., Qatar Airways investment is expected to drive growth at both JetSuiteX and JetSuite. Separately, Qatar said its private jet division will open offices in Shanghai and Moscow.
During the Farnborough International Airshow this week Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker, and JetSuite Inc. Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Alex Wilcox, reaffirmed their commitment today to expanding JetSuite and JetSuiteX, in a press conference. In April, Qatar Airways took a minority stake in JetSuite and its JetSuiteX to enable faster expansion of the JetSuite fleet and “its ability to reach new destinations, including the potential to bring the semi-private model to additional U.S. regions.”
As part of the relationship, the JetSuiteX Embraer 135 jet was one of six aircraft displayed by Qatar Airways at Farnborough Airshow. The 30 seat E135s offer an extra six inches of legroom, extra soundproofing, power outlets at every seat and free WiFi. JetSuiteX sells individual seats on scheduled flights, but saves users time by avoiding commercial airline terminals. By using private facilities, users can cut airport to airport travel time by up to half on flights under two hours. It currently operates mainly in California and Las Vegas but has offered pop up flights and seasonal routes to leisure destinations.
Al Baker, said, “Our investment in JetSuite and JetSuiteX is one that we are extremely excited about, and it is a privilege to display the JetSuiteX Embraer 135 at the Farnborough Airshow, providing spectators the chance to see this state-of-the-art aircraft up close. Qatar Airways and JetSuite share many of the same core values. We look forward to seeing JetSuite’s private aviation business continue to grow and flourish, and offer even more air travel choice of destinations on the U.S. West Coast and beyond.”
Wilcox added, “On behalf of JetSuite we are thrilled to showcase our JetSuiteX Embraer 135 aircraft here on the world stage at the Farnborough Airshow. With the recent investment from Qatar Airways, we are looking forward to taking both our JetSuite private charter and JetSuiteX semi-private scheduled service brands to new heights and introducing these premium air travel experiences to new markets.”
According to a press release received by Private Jet Card Comparisons, “The Qatar Airways investment in JetSuite will help fuel the growth of JetSuite’s private aviation business, which currently focuses on light and very light jets. The investment extends to JetSuiteX, the sibling company to JetSuite, further accelerating the expansion of its acclaimed semi-private air service on the U.S. West Coast and beyond.”
JetSuiteX says its Net Promoter Score over 90 is higher than the major U.S. airlines. The Qatar Airways investment will enable faster expansion of its X fleet and the ability to reach new destinations, including the potential to bring the semi-private model to additional U.S. regions. JetSuite recently relocated its headquarters from Southern California to Dallas, Texas.
It’s not the first investment in other aviation companies from Qatar Airways, which already includes investments in International Airlines Group (parent of British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus), LATAM Airlines Group, Cathay Pacific and Air Italy. It had been rebuffed by American Airlines Group before making an investment in JetSuite, Inc. which counts JetBlue as an investor and also offers frequent flier benefits to True Blue members.
Qatar Airways’ Qatar Executive subsidiary is one of the largest private jet operators outside the U.S. and on opening day at the show unveiled its first new Gulfstream G500. In a press announcement, Qatar Executive said it expects to receive eight of 25 additional new Gulfstream private jets it has on order between now and the end of 2019.
Qatar Executive now operates a fleet of 13 Gulfstream and Bombardier private jets, including five Gulfstream G650ERs, three Bombardier Challenger 605s, four Global 5000s and one Global XRS aircraft. In addition to on-demand charter, it offers aircraft management, maintenance and fixed-based operation services.
In May 2018, the private charter provider took delivery of its fifth Gulfstream G650ER aircraft, the fastest, ultra-long-range business jet in the industry, making Qatar Executive the world’s largest owner-operator of this jet type. The G650ER features a 7,500 nautical mile range.
The division also recently announced that it will be opening a new dedicated office in Shanghai meet passenger demand in the market and provide enhanced service to its clients in Asia. It also recently announced plans to open a new office in Moscow later this year.
On the JetSuite side, its current fleet revolves mainly around Embraer Phenom 100s and 300s, both light jets, and the Legacy 650 selling both jet cards via its SuiteKey program and on-demand charter. Wilcox declined to discuss if there are any plans to cooperate with Qatar Executive. For global private aviation users, only VistaJet offers a worldwide fixed rate, guaranteed availability jet card program. The lack of fixed rate programs means for frequent world travelers, the choices are limited to full or fractional ownership and leases which typically require a long-term commitment or on-demand charter which means varying prices, including ferry fees.
According to Private Jet Card Comparisons database of over 250 jet card programs, the only ferry free solutions for North America based travelers to and from Europe are VistaJet’s program, which starts at 50 hours, or the Gulfstream G450 25-and-50-hour Marquis Jet cards from NetJets.