Business aviation firm NetJets is moving a Bombardier Challenger 650 aircraft to its European fleet amidst “unprecedented demand” for private jet travel.
The Challenger 650 will be delivered to Europe from the existing NetJets fleet in 2022 and the company will host a roadshow across the region to showcase the aircraft.
NetJets told AeroTime that it was experiencing unprecedented demand for private travel, welcoming more than three times as many new customers in 2020 as in recent years.
“In Europe, we have been experiencing daily flight volumes which are higher than pre-pandemic levels and these numbers do not appear to be slowing,” the company explained.
According to Eurocontrol data published on October 19, 2021, only business aviation and all-freighter flights have managed to surpass 2019 pre-pandemic levels of traffic in Europe. Business aviation traffic has been some 20%-30% above 2019 since August 2021, Eurocontrol noted.
The comments from NetJets echo those from other private jet companies. Charter firm ACS has also described to AeroTime how it has seen an influx of new customers during the pandemic.
In particular, the grounding of many commercial flights means many wealthy travelers or, more recently corporates, have turned to private jets as a way to get to where they want to be. Health reasons also mean some customers have turned to flying on private jets as a way to reduce interaction with others.
NetJet’s Challenger 650 seats up to 11 passengers and offers Ka-band high-speed satellite WiFi and wireless entertainment.
“We’re thrilled to be expanding our European fleet, adding one of our most requested aircraft to our growing portfolio,” Christian Luwisch, Executive Director, NetJets Europe said in a statement.
The wider NetJets group has plans to increase its fleet further, announcing in October a $1.2 billion agreement with Embraer for the purchase of 100 Phenom 300E aircraft. It has hired more than 550 people in 2021, including over 250 pilots, with plans to recruit at least another 100 flight crew.