Swiss PrivateAviation to manage ‘bizliners’

 - May 4, 2010, 11:32 AM

Swiss PrivateAviation, the Swiss International Air Lines subsidiary that expanded its sales activities in March by taking over responsibility for Lufthansa Private Jet, announced here at the show yesterday that it is actively seeking to manage larger private aircraft, including the Airbus A380. It will do this by leveraging the resources of the wider Lufthansa Group in areas such as maintenance and training.

The Zurich-based company currently fields a fleet of 10 aircraft, seven of its own and three that it manages for third-party owners and offers for charter. According to CEO Peter Koch, the owned fleet consists of three Cessna Citation CJ1+ light jets, two CJ3s and two XLS+s, while the fledgling managed aircraft fleet consists of a CJ1+, one CJ3 and one Hawker 800.

The group also has options to acquire two Challenger 850s. Its focus will be on VVIP charters and building the network of partners, which was started by Lufthansa Private Jet with properties such as DC Aviation.

Sabine Dörflinger, Lufthansa’s director global premium customer management, said the expansion coincides with next month’s arrival of Lufthansa’s first Airbus A380 and with it the new first-class offering.

Passengers will be able to purchase a first-class ticket and charter a private jet for a connecting flight on what is branded as Lufthansa Private Jet, although Swiss PrivateAviation operates it.

The company is targeting first-class passengers who often experience long waits for airline connections, many of whom have upgraded when offered the private-jet service, said Dörflinger.

She added that the group’s charter business had grown by 12 percent between 2008 and 2009, bucking the wider trend, and that for the first three months of this year business has been up 30 percent over the same period last year.

Meanwhile, Lufthansa is dispatching teams to research the U.S. and Asian markets for partners that can offer services similar to those offered by Swiss PrivateAviation at long-haul destination airports. The company told AIN that the details of this initiative will likely be its focus at next year’s EBACE.

Lufthansa Private Jet is celebrating its fifth anniversary during EBACE this year. Dörflinger said it currently offers “seamless connections” between Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Dusseldorf and wherever its clients wish to go. “It’s easy, simple and you can fly wherever and whenever you want,” he added.