Lufthansa is to provide business jet service using its own aircraft beginning this month. Lufthansa Private Jet will take delivery of its first of nine aircraft, a Cessna Citation CJ3 light jet, later in March.
The German airline launched its private jet subsidiary in 2005, with fractional operator NetJets Europe as its service provider. But in December 2007 Lufthansa announced it would purchase its own business jets and cease cooperation with NetJets.
The nine aircraft scheduled to enter service over the next year are three Citation CJ1+ four-passenger light jets, two six-passenger CJ3s, two seven-passenger Citation XLS+ superlight jets and two Bombardier CRJ200 regional jets converted to large 12-passenger business jets similar to the Challenger 850.
Lufthansa Private Jet provides point-to-point service in Europe and direct connections to long-haul flights operated by Lufthansa and Swiss International Airlines from Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich. The company says 70% of flights are point-to-point, and 30% are connecting flights.
According to the parent airline, the number of flights operated by Lufthansa Private Jet in 2007 rose 26% over the previous year, with demand outstripping capacity over the year by an average of 25%, and by as much as 60% in peak months.
To cope with demand peaks, Lufthansa says it will also cooperate with "two or three selected and certified partners". German charter operator DC Aviation, formerly DaimlerChrysler Aviation, signed up as a partner in December when Lufthansa dropped NetJets.