By Henry M. Holden
NetJets Europe expanded its partnership with Dassault Aviation in September, signing a contract for 24 Falcon 7X jets valued at $1.1 billion. Founded in 1996, NetJets Europe is the largest operator of business jets in Europe, with 100 jets and more than 1,200 customers. This agreement, between the largest European operator and the principal manufacturer, marks a significant moment in business aviation development in Europe.
Dassault says the order will have a tremendously positive effect on the European market. The company expects the agreement will support about 2,500 jobs over the next six years in France, throughout Europe and here in the United States.
The deal signals a coming of age for both NetJets Europe and private aviation in Europe. NetJets has about 50 percent of the business jet market, according to Aviation Research Group. That compares with 30 percent for its closest competitor, and NetJets has more customers than all the other fractional ownership programs combined.
The NetJets order is the largest business jet order in European history. NetJets Europe is the largest Dassault operator on the continent, with a fleet of 15 Falcon aircraft. The company took delivery of a Falcon 2000EX and a Falcon 900EX earlier this year and will receive another Falcon 2000EX in December.
The order is Dassault’s second largest and the company’s largest private jet sale. Delivery of the 24 aircraft will begin in the first quarter of 2008 and continue through 2014.
“We’re extremely pleased that NetJets Europe has selected the Falcon 7X for this order,” said Charles Edelstenne, Dassault Aviation chairman and president. “We believe it’s the perfect aircraft for NetJets to continue building its long-range business.”
The addition of the 24 Falcon 7Xs will consolidate NetJets’ long-range operation, as the new jets are capable of flying nonstop from London to Los Angeles or Edinburgh to Tokyo. The Falcon 7X flies faster, farther and higher than any other aircraft model in the Falcon range, and has the ability to fly 5,950 nautical miles nonstop.
“This deal is very important to Dassault and underlines our increasingly close relationship with NetJets Europe,” said Edelstenne.
Mark Booth, NetJets Europe chairman and CEO, said the historic order reinforces the company’s desire to provide customers with the best aircraft and product options to meet their business aviation needs.
“The Falcon 7X is a magnificent aircraft, and we expect fractional demand for it to be robust,” he said. “The size of this order clearly demonstrates the significant demand for our product, which has effectively revolutionized travel on this continent. That makes us very happy.”
NetJets’ business has grown more than 1,250 percent since 2002, when it had just 89 customers and 14 jets in Europe. Currently, NetJets Europe has 20 percent of the ultra long-range aircraft on the continent. This order will significantly increase its share of the market.
Since it was announced at the 2001 Paris Air Show, the Falcon 7X has received high praise throughout the marketplace. Dassault expects certification in early 2007. Excluding this order, Dassault Aviation has more than 90 orders for the 7X.
For more information on Dassault Aviation, visit [http://www.dassault-aviation.com]. For more information on NetJets, visit [http://www.netjets.com].