Flexjet Applauds National Mediation Board Ruling Declaring It and Sister Company Flight Options Are Recognized as a Single Carrier
October 1, 2015
NMB Decision Comes as Continued Investment and Growth Create One of the World’s Largest Families of Pilots and Private Jet Fleets
Dallas, October 1, 2015 – Flexjet LLC, a member of the Directional Aviation family of companies, applauded the September 30, 2015 National Mediation Board (NMB) ruling that it and its sister company, Flight Options, will be recognized as a single carrier within Directional Aviation, although the brands and service offerings of the two companies will remain distinct.
Since acquiring Flexjet, Directional Aviation has combined the operations of Flexjet and Flight Options where it made sense, such as using the same operating platform and combining functions that not only maintain, but also enhance, the outstanding Owner service at the two companies. One of the final steps was to eliminate the separation of Flexjet and Flight Options employees; the official recognition of these companies as a single transportation system will allow them to continue to grow and thrive together.
“I am pleased by the National Mediation Board’s ruling that Flexjet and Flight Options constitute a single carrier, which is something I have been working toward since the day we acquired Flexjet,” said Flexjet Chairman Kenn Ricci, who also is principal of Directional Aviation. “Being recognized as a single transportation system allows us to bring a consistent set of work rules to both pilot groups and will provide the necessary foundation to complete our growth plan. Our pilots are the face and foundation of our operations, and we are committed to carrying on the long tradition of providing them with the highest caliber of training, compensation and benefits in the industry.”
Ricci said the company is poised for growth in the U.S. and international markets, adding, “The initiatives that we have recently undertaken and brought to market have Flexjet positioned as the most forward-looking fractional provider of private jet travel.”
Some of the initiatives Flexjet currently is undertaking include:
New Aircraft and Travel Demand Drive Hiring of Pilots
In response to the increase in business and substantial investments Flexjet has made in its fleet, the company reports that it plans to hire more than 100 experienced pilots over the next 12 to 18 months.
Flight Options, which had furloughed pilots during the industry downturn in 2008-09, also has been hiring pilots and recently exhausted its pilot furlough list. All of the Flight Options pilots who were on furlough either have been offered their old jobs back and are currently flying at either Flight Options or Flexjet or have gone elsewhere.
The addition of these full-time positions will raise the combined pilot force to more than 750.
Unprecedented in the Industry, Flexjet Accelerates Delivery of New Gulfstream Jets, Enters into Order with Embraer and Continues Challenger and Learjet Deliveries
To meet market demand, Flexjet recently announced it is accelerating deliveries of aircraft from iconic business jet manufacturer Gulfstream, a division of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD). Flexjet, which took delivery of its first two G450 jets in June, will have six of them flying in its fleet by the end of 2015. This accelerated delivery schedule is unparalleled in the fractional jet market, and is part of an order placed for up to 50 new aircraft from Gulfstream’s line of business jets which includes the G450, G500 and G650.
Flexjet also has announced that it will add the Embraer Legacy 450 to its new-aircraft collection, bringing one of the world’s most innovative midsized aircraft to its fleet. Flexjet will be the first and only fractional provider to offer the new Legacy 450, and is finalizing the development of the Flexjet-exclusive LXi artisan interiors for the aircraft, with deliveries beginning in 2016. The Legacy 450 will be Flexjet’s fourth new-aircraft program in the past year. In addition, Flexjet has been taking delivery of new Challenger 350 super midsized aircraft and Learjet 75LXi super light jets from Bombardier throughout 2015.
“In the fractional jet industry, you hear a lot about orders for new aircraft being delayed or cancelled – not accelerated. And you certainly do not hear of companies adding four different families of aircraft in a single year,” said Ricci. “With the G450, Legacy 450 and other advanced new aircraft entering our fleet, we are ready to meet the needs and expectations of today’s fractional fliers.”
According to Flexjet, the new aircraft will better enable it to capitalize on the growth of the international market, in which there are only 110 fractionally owned aircraft competing for at least 800,000 flight hours a year. This compares with about 700 fractional private aircraft competing for 1.2 million flight hours per year within the U.S.
Red Label by Flexjet Raises Standards
Flexjet also recently announced that it is launching Red Label, providing innovations never before seen in the fractional market. Among the new features are flight crews dedicated to a single aircraft, artisan interiors and access to the world’s youngest fractional jet fleet.
Red Label’s “One Crew, One Aircraft” model, under which one crew is assigned to fly a single Flexjet aircraft, is a completely new take on aircraft crewing under the fractional model. “When one crew is assigned to fly a single Flexjet aircraft, a higher level of confidence and consistency is delivered,” added Ricci. “This is a model that has been used by the military for years. It instills a sense of pride and ownership in the aircraft and allows pilots to become more intimately familiar with their aircraft. Red Label pilots will be exclusive to their very own Flexjet aircraft, akin to what both pilots and Owners experience when they own a whole aircraft.”
The aircraft interiors under Red Label include innovative cabin design elements unique to Red Label, including such features as hand-stitched leather and suede seating, a distinctively warm, welcoming color palette and customized seating configurations such as the fold-down ottoman in the forward club of Flexjet’s Learjet 75LXi. Together with an exclusive level of service, Red Label provides amenities and features not available through any other fractional provider.
The Red Label fleet includes the Learjet 75LXi, Challenger 350, Legacy 450 and Gulfstream G450, G500 and G650.
Flexjet is optimistic about continuing the growth it has experienced in recent years, especially since it has the capacity in terms of both flight crews and aircraft to serve a larger market. “Nobody knows the fractional market and the needs of fractional fliers like our team here at Flexjet,” said Michael Silvestro, Flexjet chief executive officer. “The third and fourth quarters of the year are typically the most robust, and we are headed into the busiest part of the year with great momentum.”
Flexjet, LLC first entered the fractional jet ownership market in 1995, and celebrated its 20th anniversary in May 2015. Flexjet offers fractional jet ownership and leasing. Flexjet’s fractional aircraft program is the first in the world to be recognized as achieving the Air Charter Safety Foundation’s Industry Audit Standard, and Flexjet is the first and only company to be honored with its 16th FAA Diamond Award for Excellence. Flexjet’s fractional program fields an exclusive array of business aircraft—some of the youngest in the fractional jet industry, with an average age of approximately six years—including their LXi Cabin Collection consisting of the Learjet 75, Challenger 350, the Embraer Legacy 450, Global Express and the Gulfstream G450, G500 and G650 business jets. In addition, the overall jet collection includes the Embraer Phenom 300, Challenger 300 and Challenger 605. Flexjet is a member of the Directional Aviation family of companies. For more details on innovative programs and flexible offerings, visit www.flexjet.com or follow us on Twitter @Flexjet.
About Flight Options
Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Flight Options, LLC, provides a full suite of offerings, including fractional ownership, leasing and the 25-hour JetPASS card program. The company’s fleet consists of the Nextant 400XT, Citation X and Embraer Legacy 600®. With as little as 10 hours’ notice, Flight Options flies owners to North America, the Caribbean and Europe. Exceeding the highest standards in aviation safety, Flight Options holds the prestigious honor of being the first fractional jet operator to receive the ARG/US® Platinum Safety Rating, and the only provider to have received the rating for 14 consecutive years.
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The Hubbell Group, Inc.