Flexjet goes for the gold

 - November 25, 2009, 7:39 AM

To mark Canada’s hosting of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Bombardier’s Flexjet subsidiary is offering a special edition of its Flexjet 25 jet card. The Olympic Gold Edition card will include the opportunity for customers to experience some of the most sought-after events of the Vancouver games. “Those who buy [the special edition Flexjet card] will be offered a package of the last three days of the Olympics, hotel accommodations, good restaurants, top-notch tickets to three skating events, the gold medal hockey final and the closing ceremonies,” said Flexjet president Fred Reid, who will be hosting the limited-availability tour.

In addition, each tour package for two people will include Olympics-sanctioned ground transportation, behind-the-scenes sponsor-level VIP access and the chance to meet a world-class athlete. The special-edition card carries a $15,000 premium over the standard Flexjet 25 card, but according to Reid, the company is absorbing much of the actual package cost.

Last year, Flexjet issued a special edition card that gave purchasers their choice of experiences ranging from a poker tutorial by an expert gambler in Las Vegas, to a private fly-fishing tour with a renowned fly fisherman. But with British Columbia hosting the 21st Winter Games starting in February, the company decided to show some national pride. “Our owner [Bombardier] is a Canadian icon with global presence and is a major sponsor of the Games,” said Reid, who also noted that Bombardier designed and produced the more than 12,000 torches that are being used to carry the Olympic flame across Canada.

While the special edition offering is expected to provide a boost for Flexjet card sales, Reid said that jet cards are still only an adjunct to the company’s core offerings. “It’s a new product, it’s a new customer segment, but by no means is it the new fractional, because fractional remains the bedrock of our business. Looking at cumulative jets in fractional and jet card service, it’s about 550 [aircraft], down from 700 two years ago, and 85 percent of the business is still fractional-based.
People have talked about the end of the fractional world, but that’s not happening at all. People are buying more now than they were six months ago; that’s our biggest strength.”