Charter operator XOJet today announced a firm order for seven Hawker 800XPRs, with delivery of all seven scheduled before the end of the year. With an order option for an additional five aircraft, the value of the deal “represents a potential commitment of up to $50 million,” according to Christi Tannahill, Hawker Beechcraft vice president of Global Customer Support, who spoke at the 64th NBAA Annual Meeting and Convention, held October 10-12 in Las Vegas, Nev.
The acquisition adds a new mid-size dimension to Brisbane, Calif.-based XOJet, which is currently operating a fleet of 20 Citation Xs, nine Challenger 300s and a Challenger 605, all of them Wi Fi-enabled using Aircell’s GoGo Biz broadband Internet system.
“The growth of our business demanded a third fleet type,” said XOJet CEO Blair LaCorte. “We looked at available options for an aircraft that would match the unmet needs of our network and the clear standout was the Hawker 800XPR.”
The HawkerXPR program includes airframe modifications, such as winglets as well the replacement of the existing Honeywell TFE731-5BR engines with the more fuel efficient TFE731-50R.
XOJet, eager to get the new Hawkers into play, will initially fly them with the older engines, replacing them with TFE731-50Rs as they become available. The new XOJet aircraft will also get an avionics upgrade to the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 system, major interior outfitting and custom exterior paint.
“XOJet’s 40-percent growth-to-date in 2011 clearly demonstrates that their innovative business model has been well-received by the private aviation market,” said Tannahill.
According to LaCorte, XOJet has experienced 130-percent growth over the past three years, despite the negative impact of the recession on the industry as a whole.
XOJet now has 250 employees at operations in Sacramento, Los Angeles, New York, and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. And LaCorte expects to add another 13 aircraft to the fleet by the end of this year. Also in 2011, the company built a new 22,000-sq-ft operations center, added more than 50 new pilots and launched two new programs: Coast2Coast for transcontinental fliers, and Preferred Access which allows customization of each flight.