JetAlliance CEO Lukas Lichtner-Hoyer signed a contract here yesterday for 25 Cessna Citations valued at $280 million. Some of the aircraft will be used by Austrian Business Jet, a new operation launched on Monday by JetAlliance and Austrian Airlines to integrate regional private jet and intercontinental airline travel.
Based in Oberwaltersdorf, near Vienna, JetAlliance already has 22 Cessnas, with another 22 due for delivery this year and 25 more slated for next. The latest order–involving one CJ1+, six CJ2+s, five CJ3s, three XLS+s, one Sovereign, two Citation Xs and seven Citation Mustangs–are due to join the fleet starting in 2009.
“We are very proud to be a partner of Cessna,” said Lichtner-Hoyer. “We have a unique product that provides not just an airplane but also the operating package, financing and maintenance. That is very important for opening up the booming Eastern market.”
Austrian Business Jet will be using part of the JetAlliance fleet, Lichtner-Hoyer said. “With Austrian Airlines we will offer a service to people who like short- and medium-range business jet travel but don’t want the big numbers that come with long-range private jets.”
Christina Debbah, Austrian’s sales director for business travel, said the idea is to fly customers from Eastern Europe to Vienna aboard the Citations. At the airport they will be accommodated in the JetAlliance VIP lounge and use exclusive passport control and security facilities before being transferred by limousine to the airline’s long-haul flights. The service can be booked through a call center or on the Internet.
JetAlliance currently operates 40 aircraft, Lichtner-Hoyer added, some of them long-range types, “but we manage only Citations.” His company will retain some of the new aircraft to ensure it has full access. “Our own fleet is diminishing as we are selling them because of the strong market,” he said. “The number of owned aircraft is down to about 25 percent and we are trying to increase that percentage.”