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Flexjet celebrates 20 years as a fractional jet leader

Company marks two decades of service with multi-billion dollar investment, global expansion.

DALLAS – Launched on May 15, 1995 as a venture of Bombardier Aerospace Group, Flexjet LLC was founded at the dawn of the fractional aircraft industry “to provide affordable access to an increasingly important competitive tool – the business jet – to a much broader range of companies and individuals.” As it celebrates the 20th anniversary of its founding, Flexjet has fulfilled that promise, ranking it as one of the world’s largest providers of private jet travel. The growth has continued in 2015, with fractional sales in the year’s first quarter up 70 percent over 2014.

In its only ownership change since its founding in 1995, Flexjet was acquired in 2013 by Directional Aviation, whose principal, Kenn Ricci, is also Flexjet’s Chairman. “The world around us has changed a great deal in 20 years, and Flexjet has changed with it. We’re bigger, more global and more technology-driven than ever before,” said Ricci. “We have a great foundation and a phenomenal heritage, but the best is yet to come. We are building on the progress of our first 20 years by investing billions of dollars in a fleet that is distinctive, technologically advanced and capable of providing direct connections to the global destinations our Owners want to visit. For us, every anniversary is a time to acknowledge the past and celebrate the future.”

Michael Silvestro, Flexjet’s Chief Executive Officer, added, “Twenty years ago, Flexjet was an upstart, providing access to private jet travel for people who previously could only dream of enjoying the speed, efficiency and comfort of flying on private planes. The company has come a long way since then, but we are no less single-minded about offering the newest, most luxurious and most capable fleet in the fractional ownership industry. In this, our 20th anniversary year, we really begin to deliver on the promise of our future.”

In 1995, Flexjet offered only Bombardier’s Learjet 31A, Lear 60 and Challenger 601-3R, none of which is currently on its roster. Today, its fleet includes such Bombardier marques as Learjet, Challenger and Global, which have been the backbone of its offering for two decades. Flexjet’s fleet also includes aircraft from such business jet manufacturers as Gulfstream, the iconic manufacturer of a series of large-cabin aircraft, and Embraer, which makes some of the world’s leading light-plane products.

Backed by the resources of Directional Aviation, Flexjet is making a major investment in its fleet, with firm orders for 207 new planes and options from Bombardier, Gulfstream and Embraer that could bring the total number of aircraft to 445, an investment that potentially could top US$8 billion.

Among the planes already being delivered under various contracts is the Challenger 350LXi, the successor to the venerated Challenger 300. The Learjet 75LXi is the latest super light aircraft to join the Flexjet fleet, along with the Embraer Phenom 300. In addition, large-cabin aircraft including the Bombardier Global Express have joined the fleet and will be complemented as the iconic Gulfstream G450TM, Gulfstream G500TM and Gulfstream G650TM begin to enter the fleet, greatly expanding the company’s ability to provide nonstop service to Europe, Asia and South America. Flexjet will serve as the North American launch customer, and exclusive fractional provider, for the G500 unveiled by Gulfstream last year, making it one of the private jet industry’s most attractive offerings.

To kick off the 20th anniversary celebrations, Flexjet will begin taking deliveries of its first G450 business jets in June 2015. From there, it will take delivery of the immensely popular G650 in 2016. Although the waiting list to acquire this plane is upwards of three years, Flexjet is scheduled to take delivery of its first G650 early next year, and will be the exclusive fractional provider offering this plane.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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