Major European airlines are expanding private jet capacity to compete against charter companies and retain first-class passengers. Lufthansa is acquiring two CJ3s and two XLS+ adding to a previous order for four of the CJ1+. Scheduled for delivery between March 2008 and mid-2009 they will operate in the Lufthansa private jet fleet which provides point-to-point flights among 1,000 destinations in Europe and Russia. But the target is to have a total of nine corporate jets operating within one year.
KLM, the Dutch subsidiary of Air France-KLM has investigated the potential for a VLJ service. It is among several other airlines that have considered the benefit of a private charter arm. And JetAlliance, the Vienna-based charter operator, reports rising demand for the services of Austrian Business Jet, its private jet service connecting clients´ chosen journey starting points to Austrian Airlines´ intercontinental flights.
Lufthansa says the private jet service offers Lufthansa and Swiss long-haul flights exclusive, seamless travel to onward regional airports. Analysts say that there is an established trend for companies to commit resources to the high-end of the market - in partnership or on their own account. Goodwood Travel, for example, which ceased trading after the retirement of Concorde in 2003, will now use Twinjet´s 34-seat A319, for high-end tourism connoisseurs prepared to pay EUR 14,950 per person.
Raphael Bejar, Airsavings´ ceo comments: "Lufthansa is continuing its strategy of catering to exclusive clientele that desire more autonomy in terms of scheduling and services. It first offered business class only trans-atlantic flights and then subcontracted Netjets to provide additional services to first class passengers arriving into Europe."