Flexjet’s long-planned expansion into Europe is still on track, the company told Private Jet Card Comparisons.
Several pilots commenting on chat board PPRuNe, which stands for Professional Pilot Rumor Network, had raised the question if Flexjet’s Europe launch was on hold.
One poster wrote in mid-December, “It appears that not many people are being hired in Europe. Though they have had plans for a large expansion onto the European market, they seem to have been reduced substantially, however.”
Another posted, “Buddy of mine was accepted for the next stage back in the summer but still has to get the invite for the interview and the assessment. He is in doubt about how serious they really are with their recruitment.”
“It’s gotten real quiet on Flexjet Europe. Anyone heard anything? Anyone been invited or hired recently? What are their plans for 2020,” another poster wrote in late January.
Recently, speculation was a lack of response to their job applications might be a sign Flexjet was having second thoughts.
Surf Air, after a brief entry into Europe also closed and liquidated its operation there.
Earlier this month, Fly Victor parent Alyssum Holdings went into receivership. Company filings showed cumulative losses of over $50 million. Management is attempting to buy the charter broker.
However, Flexjet says it is on track with its plan.
“Our European expansion is precisely on target with the timeline laid out in October of last year when we introduced Marine Eugène as our Managing Director of European operations and opened Flexjet House in London’s Mayfair neighborhood,” said a Flexjet spokesperson.
In a written statement, he added, “We experienced great success in hiring pilots in the fourth quarter of 2019, and we will resume additional pilot hiring as new fleet deliveries begin to come online.”
In terms of timing, he said, “During the first quarter of 2020 we will finalize our go-to-market strategy, operational processes and staffing needs at our London corporate office, European Tactical Control Center north of London near Luton Airport, and our maintenance facility at Milan Linate Airport in Italy.”
Flexjet previously said some aircraft from its $1.4 billion Embraer order will be headed to Europe. The deal includes Praetor 500s and 600s, plus more Phenom 300s.
Since buying Flexjet in 2013, Kenn Ricci’s Directional Aviation has been increasing its global focus.
Last year it launched a new program for its Gulfstream G650 fleet targeting customers in New York and London. Flexjet also became the U.S. launch customer for the new Gulfstream G700.
The spokesperson said, “With these building blocks coming together we are targeting the second quarter of this year when we will announce, and begin bringing to market, new European-based aircraft and access programs.”