Flexjet Launches First-of-Its-Kind Crew Ferry Program to Limit Exposure of COVID-19 to Passengers and Flight Crews
March 19, 2020
- Flexjet Suspends Reliance on Commercial Airlines by Transporting Its Pilots to and from Flight Assignment Locations Via Flexjet’s Own Aircraft
- Industry-First Crew Ferry Program Will Comply With CDC-Recommended Group Size Limits
- Company Decision Driven by Concerns Over Disease Exposure and Commercial Air Travel Cuts
- Announcement Comes Just as Company Has Completed Treating all of Its Aircraft Interiors with MicroShield 360
Cleveland, March 19, 2020 –Flexjet LLC, a global leader in fractional private jet travel, today announced that its pilots and flight crews will no longer rely on commercial airlines to travel to or from flight assignments but instead on Flexjet’s private fleet. This unprecedented method of crew transport has been put in place to protect the health and safety of Flexjet Owners and flight crews during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“Historically, flight crews in both commercial and private aviation regularly have used commercial airlines to travel from their home base to reunite with their aircraft for their flight assignment,” said Flexjet Chairman Kenn Ricci. “But, given the threat posed by the novel coronavirus and the illness COVID-19, we felt it was in the best interests of our Owners and flight crews to take this risk out of the equation and transport our flight crews on our own aircraft, which have been treated with MicroShield 360, a protective coating that kills 99.99 percent of pathogens.”
Taking its pilots and flight crews off of commercial airline carriers also enables Flexjet to comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations that groups be limited to no more than 10 people for the next few weeks. Flexjet is implementing this effort, internally named Project Lift, for all U.S. domestic flights as well as internationally bound flights still permitted by the U.S. and other governments.
Every business is finding ways to provide safe working environments for employees and customers, and the private jet industry is no different. Ricci has long been an innovator in private aviation, and this move comes just as Flexjet has completed treating its fleet interiors with MicroShield 360. As seen with other industries, competitors are coming together to find innovative solutions to navigate this unique environment. Ricci committed to assist any competitors in the private aviation industry who need help designing safety measures for their organizations.
“This change in our business model reinforces two of our three guiding principles – ‘Employees Are the Foundation of a Service Company,’ and taking a ‘Long-term Approach to Relationships,’” said Flexjet Chief Executive Officer Michael Silvestro. “While there is no regulatory obligation demanding we make this move, we believe it is the most prudent decision based on the information available today.”
In order to implement the program, Flexjet pilots and flight crews will drive to one of seven strategically located hubs around the country, where they will be ferried aboard a controlled and select group of Flexjet aircraft to reunite with their flight assignments. Through careful scheduling, using Flexjet’s proprietary software, and extension of tour lengths, the new shuttle system will remove flight crews from the commercial airlines with minimal disruption.
“Decisions about safety can never be made based on their impact on the bottom line,” said Ricci. “There’s no doubt that this will have a cost impact on Flexjet, but it’s the right thing to do for our employees and it’s the right thing to do for our Owners as we move ahead through this global crisis.”
The measure to remove flight crews from commercial airline travel continues a long commitment to safety by Flexjet:
- Flexjet recently earned its 21st consecutive Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Diamond Award of Excellence for Aviation Maintenance Technician Training.
- Flexjet holds the Aviation Research Group/US (ARG/US) Platinum Safety Rating, among the most esteemed aviation safety ratings, which it has earned every two years since 2008.
- Flexjet is IS-BAO compliant at level 2, based upon a global, voluntary code of best practices with a safety management system, and was the first fractional jet ownership program to meet the Industry Audit Standard of the Air Charter Safety Foundation, perhaps the most demanding standard for Part 135.
Flexjet first entered the fractional jet ownership market in 1995. 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, is the first and only company to be honored with 21 FAA Diamond Awards for Excellence, upholds an ARG/US Platinum Safety Rating and is IS-BAO compliant at Level 2. 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. In 2015, Flexjet introduced Red Label by Flexjet, which features the youngest fleet in the industry, flight crews dedicated to a single aircraft and the LXi Cabin Collection of interiors. To date there are more than 40 different interior designs across its fleet, which includes the Embraer Phenom 300, Challenger 350, the Embraer Legacy 450 and Praetor 500, Global Express, the Gulfstream G450, G500, G650 and G700, and the Aerion AS2 supersonic business jets. Flexjet is a member of the Directional Aviation family of companies. For more details on innovative programs and flexible offerings, visit flexjet.com or follow us on Twitter @Flexjet and on Instagram @FlexjetLLC.
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