NetJets also placed firm orders for 25 Cessna Latitudes and options for another 125 with a total value of $2.3 billion. Deliveries of this new model, now in early development, are planned to begin in 2016.
Hansell would not comment on the specifics of this new deal, notably the inclusion of trade-ins, which are widely believed to have played a significant role in the earlier agreements with Bombardier and Embraer.
The new orders are part of NetJets’ “10-year business plan, which includes continuous renewal of its current fleet of more than 725 aircraft,” the company says. The contracts were designed so the orders could either expand NetJets’ fleet or simply replace existing aircraft over the next 10 years, depending on market conditions, says Hansell.
He adds that the fractional market has been slowly improving “from a very low base” that was dramatically affected by the global economic downturn that started in 2008.
As for moving into head-on competition with Flexjet, Hansell says the decision was made more than two years ago to look for the best available aircraft and that the competitive aspects were not a factor in the negotiations.
The new fleets all are tailored to NetJets specifications. The fractional ownership provider says the Signature Series marks the first time it will have helped design the aircraft “from start to finish” covering everything from interiors, including cabin entertainment packages to equipment in the cockpit.