While there has been chatter for a while that Flexjet was readying the launch of a program to target customers in Europe, an announcement is apparently getting closer, the company confirmed.
In the past two weeks Flexjet posted openings for captains and first officers based in Amsterdam, Basel, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Cologne, Copenhagen, Dusseldorf, Edinburgh, Geneva, London, Manchester, Milan, Munich, Nice, Paris, Stuttgart, Vienna, and Zurich.
A company official tells Private Jet Card Comparisons, “Flexjet is in the process of recruiting pilots based throughout Europe as we continue to take our next steps on the continent. The groundwork being laid will lead to an announcement of European-based aircraft and access programs tailored for customers throughout the continent, as we move to expand our operations beyond just providing lift within Europe for our North American customers.”
Speculation earlier this year had been that Flexjet was on the verge of another billion-dollar Gulfstream order, however, when the customer was finally announced it turned out to be Qatar Executive, a subsidiary of Qatar Airways.
Earlier this year when Flexjet announced its new day-based fractional share and lease offering for its Gulfstream G650 fleet, it said it was targeting customers based in New York and London.
In terms of Europe, Flexjet has been building its presence since 2016 when it acquired charter operator Flairjet from Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group.
At the time, Kenn Ricci, principal of Flexjet parent Directional Aviation said, “Our acquisition of FlairJet enables us to operate a European-based fleet of aircraft within our system and consistent with Flexjet’s impeccable service and quality standards,”
The move was positioned as a connector for U.S. clients. “Once North American Owners make their crossing in one of Flexjet’s large-cabin, long-range aircraft, they will be able to remain within the Flexjet family for consistency of service and operations while using aircraft better suited for short-haul travel within Europe, the Middle East, and Africa,” the company noted.
The Flairjet URL now redirects to Flexjet’s website. Amstat shows a total of 10 aircraft in its fleet, nine Nextant 400XTi jets and a Phenom 300. Flairjet had served as the operator for Surf Air’s attempt to launch European service with the Phenom.
Now, it appears Flexjet on its own is ready to take on NetJets Europe, VistaJet and other European charter operators by targeting locally based customers.
Directional’s subsidiary PrivateFly, a leading charter broker which it acquired last September, earlier this year rolled out an array of fixed-rate prices between on key European routes, many using the Nextant. It’s not known if it was the Flexjet fleet supplying inventory.
Who else will be in the fray? In terms of providers who can offer solutions that work on both sides of the pond, Air Charter Service and Air Partner, both brokers, each sell jet cards in Europe and the U.S. with the latter recently launching fixed-rate, guaranteed availability for transatlantic flights. Previously, Wheels Up has said it believed there was an opportunity to have a King Air fleet based in Europe.
A pilot who said he had interviewed for one of the Flexjet openings, put it this way: “As for future plans, they are definitely expanding with some pretty big goals in mind along with an increase in fleet size and aircraft size.”