The delivery of Flexjet’s largest airplane on October 4, a Gulfstream G650, marks the fractional-share operator’s move into a new realm of service for customers that want to fly long-range trips. Flexjet celebrated the arrival of the new jet on October 6 during a ceremony at its Cuyahoga County Airport headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio. The company’s second G650 joins the fleet this week.
“We’ve been envisioning this for many years,” said Flexjet CEO Michael Silvestro. The two G650s are part of a $2.5 billion, 50-airplane order that Flexjet made with Gulfstream two and a half years ago. Flexjet also became the exclusive fractional-share provider for the G650, G650ER and G500.
So far Flexjet has taken delivery of seven G450s, and early next year expects to take delivery of its first G500, for which it is the North American launch customer. Four G500s will join the Flexjet fleet next year. “We picked the airplanes we wanted to move forward with in the fleet,” he said, “and they’re newer, bigger and larger.” Customers have been asking for longer-range trips, he explained, and plan to use the new jets for international travel and to supplement their existing lift capability.
The G650s are part of Flexjet’s Red Label fleet, which assigns dedicated flight crew to each jet. As there won’t be enough G650s in the fleet in the short term, Flexjet plans to offer quarter shares to buyers who want to fly long trips. “We can’t oversubscribe a fleet that isn’t there yet,” Silvestro said. The G650 order includes a total of six.
The Flexjet G650s are equipped with a customized four-zone interior with two staterooms. The aft stateroom can double as a crew rest area if a trip is long enough to require an augmented crew. There is also a crew rest area near the forward galley. Flexjet is adding its own interior modification to the G650s, a cabinet with a 42-inch TV opposite a divan in zone three that Flexjet certified itself.
The Gulfstream order reflects a shift in Flexjet operations away from lighter aircraft. “We made a decision to put our capital focus on larger aircraft,” said Flexjet chairman Kenn Ricci. “Uber-ization seems to be coming to the light end of the market.
“Aviation has always been in my heart,” he said during the ceremony. “The G650 says something about our journey.”