FlyExclusive adding Challenger 350 fleet; NetJets grabs Challenger 3500s

Challenger 350s are coming to FlyExclusive as it transitions out of its GIVSP fleet and older Citation Xs while NetJets is the Challenger 3500 mystery customer.

By Doug Gollan, February 21, 2024

FlyExclusive is continuing its fleet modernization with up to 20 preowned Challenger 350s. At the same time, two sources tell Private Jet Card Comparisons that NetJets is the mystery customer for a dozen Challenger 3500s announced by Bombardier in December.

FlyExclusive fleet modernization

For FlyExclusive, the super-midsize jets will replace its Gulfstream GIVSP fleet and its older Cessna Citation Xs.

Last year, the company started transitioning its light jet fleet from a mix of Encores and CJ3s to CJ3s and CJ3+s exclusively.

During an interview earlier today, FlyExclusive CEO Jim Segrave said the experience helped push the company to expand its modernization efforts.

Segrave says dispatch reliability and challenges getting parts due to ongoing Covid hangover supply chain constraints mean older airplanes are more challenging to operate efficiently.

FlyExclusive currently has seven GIVSPs and 13 Citation Xs.

An analysis of the large-cabin Gulfstreams showed that over 95% of the missions it was flying could be flown by the Challenger 350s.

The Gulfstreams were early 2000s vintage, and Segrave says the preowned Challengers will be 15-to-20 years newer.

There are letters of intent for a pair of Challenger 350s, with the first expected to close in the next several weeks.

From there, the aircraft will be refurbished and repainted to FlyExclusive standards at its Kinston, North Carolina MRO facilities.

Some Challengers will be in its partnership program, where the owners enter a triple net lease with the operator.

Plans also call for selling fractional shares.

FlyExclusive entered the large cabin segment when it bought charter operator Sky Night LLC in 2020.

However, it never added a large cabin option to its jet card program, although members could use funds for on-demand, dynamic-pricing charter flights on the Gulfstreams.

According to Segrave, the fleet transition will take place over the next two years and doesn’t impact its plans for new aircraft from Textron Aviation.

Through June, FlyExclusive ranked as the nation’s fifth-largest private jet operator.

The ranking by Argus Traqpak is based on charter and fractional flight hours.

FlyExclusive saw an 18.7% increase.

READ: Why preowned fractional ownership could be hot in 2024

NetJets Challenger 3500s?

In December, Bombardier announced that an undisclosed customer had ordered a dozen Challenger 3500s.

Meanwhile, two sources say the customer for those aircraft is NetJets.

Officials from the Berkshire Hathaway unit declined to comment.

As of December, NetJets was operating 87 Challenger 350s.

Fleet transition

Fleet transitions are not unusual.

For example, NetJets had a larger fleet of Falcon 2000s before exiting the type from its U.S. fleet, selling them to Dumont Aviation.

It was also a large operator of the Citation X before transitioning to Latitudes and Challenger 350s.

Flexjet transitioned its light jet fleet from Bombardier products to Embraer’s Phenom 300 early last decade.

Airshare exited the Phenom 100 to focus on the Phenom 300 and Challenger 3500.

Related Articles

Visit DG Amazing Experiences

Find the perfect solution for your private aviation needs

Make the right decision

If you want a program-by-program comparison of more than 500 products from more than 50 companies covering 65 points of differentiation and over 40,000 data points.