EBACE Convention News

Lufthansa Private Jet builds fleet with XLS+s

 - May 11, 2009, 7:46 AM

Buoyed by the first European deliveries of Cessna’s new Citation XLS+ aircraft, Lufthansa Private Jet is now offering “exclusive and flexible” flight options on its own fleet of Citations–a Citation CJ1, two Citation CJ3s and two new Citation XLS+ medium-cabin jets. The charter network is currently operating an average of about 10 flights each day.

The fleet is operated by Swiss PrivateAviation, a charter/management subsidiary of Swiss International Airlines, founded in 2008. Swiss PrivateAviation is responsible for management of the Lufthansa Private Jet fleet. Within the Lufthansa Group, it has access to facilities for crew training, as well as airline security, quality processes and worldwide sales channels.

In addition to using its own business jets, Lufthansa says it will continue cooperating with “selected and certified” partners, such as DC Aviation and Jet Alliance to maintain peak-demand flexibility. It may also make use of other managed jets that enter into service with Swiss PrivateAviation.

Lufthansa Private Jet is the first commercial operator in Europe of the XLS+, a seven-passenger twinjet with an improved thermal/ acoustic barrier to reduce cabin noise. The cabin itself reflects the design, materials and color scheme of the Lufthansa German Airlines first-class terminal in Frankfurt. The terminal’s designer, Bernd Hollin, was a consultant in design of the Lufthansa Private Jet Citation interiors.

Lufthansa Private Jet (Booth No. 342) flies point-to-point in Europe, as well as in combination with Lufthansa code-share partner Swiss International Airlines long-haul flights through Frankfurt, Munich, Dusseldorf, Zurich and Geneva at fixed prices. From Frankfurt, nonstop flights are available to destinations in the primary operating area as far away as Naples, Italy; Dublin, Ireland; Vilnius, Lithuania; and Barcelona, Spain. Currently about 30 percent of private jet flights are connecting with scheduled airline long-haul services.

Prices depend on distance between specified geographical zones and include all charges and costs, without regard to the number of passengers on board. There are no repositioning charges, nor extra fees for delaying flight departures or using particular airports.

The entire itinerary is coordinated by a Lufthansa event manager, and personal service is available to passengers around the clock. The aircraft themselves all have a standard interior and design but carry fairly subtle Lufthansa branding. A flight attendant can be assigned to a flight when needed.

Passengers also have access to the first-class lounges available through Lufthansa, Swiss International or any of Lufthansa’s code-share partner airlines.
Customers also earn frequent-flier points, equivalent to those earned for first-class scheduled flights, under Lufthansa’s Miles & More program.

“The current economic downturn has meant that travelers still have a need for mobility, but the price has to be even more attractive,” said Lufthansa vice president for sales and services in Europe Dr. Karsten Benz. He told EBACE Convention News that the charter service is attracting customers who have previously owned their own aircraft.

And at a time when the use of business aircraft has attracted unfavorable attention, Lufthansa Private Jet also offers discretion because bookings are issued a standard first-class Lufthansa airline tickets, which is how they appear for billing purposes. The ticket is in the name of the first specified passenger and the other passengers travel “free,” in administrative terms.

Dr. Benz indicated that Lufthansa has all the flexibility it needs when its private jet flights are arriving at busy hubs like Frankfurt, despite slot problems experienced by other business aircraft operators. Passengers are transferred via limousine from the general aviation terminal directly to the airliner for their connecting scheduled flight.