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Lufthansa expands private jet fleet

12th March 2008 Print
Lufthansa is building up its own private jet fleet in the course of this year. The first of the new aircraft, a Cessna Citation CJ3, is due for delivery to the airline in April. All in all, nine new private jets will be entering service in the coming months.

Lufthansa is creating its own private jet fleet to accommodate surging demand: In comparison with the previous year, the number of operated private jet flights rose in 2007 by 26 per cent. Customer demand strongly outstripped capacity, over the year by an average of around 25 per cent and in peak months by as much as 60 per cent. Customer satisfaction ratings with the Lufthansa Private Jet (LPJ) service remain consistently at over 90 per cent.

The nine aircraft destined for operation with the new fleet have been chosen from the Cessna and Bombardier planemakers and deliveries begin in April.

“We are the only airline in the world to operate a successful private jet service alongside our portfolio of scheduled flights,” observed Thierry Antinori, Executive Vice President Marketing and Sales at the Lufthansa Passenger Airline. “In the premium segment, we offer our passengers peerless flexibility and exclusivity. With the LPG, we are once again setting the pace in a key trend in air traffic.”

Demand for aircraft especially in the mid to large-size category rose overproportionately in the past year. It was at its strongest among customers from Germany, Scandinavia, France and Italy, where the LPG service was utilised primarily for point-to-point flights between about 1,000 destinations offered in the programme in Europe and the Russian Federation.

A steady rise in LPJ bookings also came from customers in the USA and New Zealand. Overseas customers used the service principally in combination with a long-haul flight operated by Lufthansa and SWISS through the Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich hubs.

In future, Lufthansa and SWISS customers will have a choice between four different aircraft types: Three of the Cessna Citation CJ1+ type (light size – seating four passengers), two of the Cessna Citation CJ3 type (small size – 6 persons), two of the Cessna Citation XLS+ type (mid size – 7 persons) as well as two converted CRJ 200s similar to the Challenger 850 (large size – 12 persons).

Lufthansa will be the first commercial operator in Europe of the Cessna Citation XLS+. The private jets will come in neutral aircraft livery, albeit in recognisable Lufthansa colours. The cabin interior strongly resembles the design, materials and colour scheme of the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt. The Terminal’s interior designer, Bernd Hollin from Frankfurt, was enlisted as consultant on the aircraft design.

Besides operating its own private jet fleet, Lufthansa will additiionally cooperate in future with between two to threee selected and certified partners in order to be able to respond flexibly when demand peaks. DC Aviation (DCA) signed up as Lufthansa’s partner last December after discontinuation of cooperation with NetJets. Seamless transition enabled Lufthansa to operate all flight bookings as planned.

“With our own fleet of private jets and good cooperation with DC Aviation, we will be better able to serve customer demand in future,“ emphasised Thierry Antinori.

Lufthansa Private Jet flies point-to-point in Europe as well as in combination with a Lufthansa or SWISS long-haul flight at an attractive fixed price. The price depends on distance and includes all charges and costs, irrespective of the number of passengers on a flight.

The entire itinerary is organised by an event manager. Simultaneously, a personal service team is available to passengers round-the-clock. Catering and in-flight entertainment is tailored to individual requirements, and passengers enjoy the use of First-Class facilities laid on at airports by Lufthansa, SWISS or Lufthansa partner airlines.