NetJets is adding the large-cabin Bombardier Challenger 650 to its European fleet beginning in 2022 as it continues to see “unprecedented demand, for which interest does not appear to be slowing,” the fractional operator announced this week. “We’re thrilled to be expanding our European fleet, adding one of our most-requested aircraft to our growing portfolio,” said NetJets Europe executive director Christian Luwisch.
The 11-passenger twinjet features a cabin with the same width as NetJets' flagship Bombardier Global 6000, and it will come equipped with Ka-band Wi-Fi and wireless entertainment. NetJets will showcase the new model during a roadshow tour in Europe next year.
Addition of the Challenger 650 to the fractional provider's European fleet comes as the company responds to a level of demand for private flying it said it has never seen. As a result, it is pulling aircraft deliveries forward where it can and pausing aircraft dispositions. It expects to take delivery of more than 125 new aircraft by the end of next year, with at least 25 arriving in the spring.
Hiring at NetJets is also on the increase, with 550 new employees—250 pilots and 300 non-crew—hired so far this year. Recruitment is underway for another 100 pilots and 120 staff. Additionally, the company put all jet card requests on a waitlist earlier this year and now has a backlog for such requests numbering more than 1,500. The company also paused share and lease sales for immediate access, which have eased the strain on the availability of aircraft for its shareowners.
NetJets' fleet currently consists of more than 760 light, midsize, super-midsize, and large-cabin, long-range jets from Bombardier, Cessna Citation, Dassault, Embraer, and Gulfstream. The planned additions to its European fleet follow last month’s announcement at NBAA-BACE that the operator plans to acquire up to 100 Phenom 300Es from Embraer in a deal valued at $1.2 billion. Other new aircraft types planned for NetJets service include the Global 5500 and 7500.