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Onboard Flexjet’s Praetor 600

28 June 2021

April French Furnell

Flexjet, the provider of luxury private jet Shared Ownership and Access programmes, has just taken receipt of its latest Embraer Praetor 600. Citywealth’s April French Furnell was invited onboard to experience the luxurious and technologically advanced aircraft from the Owner’s perspective.

Flexjet’s latest addition to its fleet is an Embraer Praetor 600. An invitation to take a flight across Cornwall and back to experience the Owner’s perspective, couldn’t be turned down.

I arrived to meet the Flexjet team at Farnborough Airport, on a sunny but mild summer’s day. Farnborough Airport is a top choice among business travellers due to its proximity to London and the lack of queuing involved for both passengers and aircraft awaiting take-off. One of its key benefits is the discretion and privacy it affords its passengers. After checking-in in advance of the flight, the chauffeur-driven car was able to drive through security and pull up directly outside the terminal gates, perfect for those wanting to jet off without the worry of press attention.

While COVID-19 has suspended much business travel for passengers, the easing of restrictions worldwide and the speed of vaccinations has opened the doors to leisure travel. And if you are wanting to avoid crowds, sit within the safety of your own aircraft, and be surrounded by your family, there are few better ways to enjoy a safe break this year.

In fact, on boarding the Praetor 600 and being welcomed by VP of Customer Experience Francesco Vanerio (ex-Villa D’Este, who we learned has been training the cabin servers throughout the fleet) our small group were informed of the safety precautions taken for every flight. Along with extensive cleaning, Flexjet use Bacoban, an antimicrobial solution that kills the coronavirus on contact, along with more than 90 other diseases and conditions, including the common cold. It provides one year of active protection but is safe for passengers and their pets. (You can find out more here: https://www.flexjet.com/uk/covid19/)

Back to the jet itself, a few facts and statistics for those who like their numbers:

  • The Flexjet Praetor 600 seats nine passengers, six in club seats and three on a divan.
  • The height inside the cabin is 6 foot, width is 6ft10.
  • High speed cruise is 466 ktas/863 km/h
  • Takeoff distance is 4717ft/ 1,438m
  • Range with four passengers is 7,441km
  • Maximum travel range of 8 hours

One of the first things you notice once the aircraft is in the air is the ultra-quiet environment. You can enjoy conversations throughout quite comfortably. I was sat in one of the club seats towards the back of the jet, and I could clearly hear the pilot who was standing by the galley.

The seats themselves are spacious and roomy, with a fully reclining design. The set-up for work or enjoying a meal is well thought-through with stowable tables and separate holders for your drink. Owners in-flight meals are included in their annual fees and they can call upon the Flexjet team’s expertise to ensure the taste is not going to be impaired by the altitude on any selections they make. You might be pleased to learn champagne is one choice which isn’t affected, however older wines are not encouraged. We were treated to dining from the 2-star Michelin chef Tom Kerridge including beetroot and apple tartare with smoked yoghurt tarts, and mushroom ‘risotto’ with barbecue oyster mushroom, pea and broad bean fricassee.

Many travellers at present are travelling to a destination for leisure, but a typical Flexjet Owner is an entrepreneur and work is never very far from their minds. Having tested the WIFI (with a video call) I can attest to its high quality and consistency.

Why choose to be an Owner of a Praetor 600?

Whilst we flew from Farnborough Airport over Cornwall, I took the opportunity to question Marine Eugène, Flexjet’s Managing Director for Europe, on her top three reasons why Owners should choose the Praetor 600.

Marine said: “The number one reason for me is the level of comfort onboard. From the noise insulation, to the wide flat floor, to the best-in-class cabin altitude which keeps you feeling fresh and rested, the Praetor 600 punches well above its closest competitors. Secondly, is the range that this super-midsize jet can fly. New York to London and Dubai to London are all possibilities. Thirdly, it’s because it’s operated by the Flexjet team. Our crew are passionate and they deliver on service. It’s these soft touches which make all the difference to Owners”.

Each aircraft is individually customised, and we were informed that Chairman Kenn Ricci is actively involved in the selections (fun fact: he was once the pilot for Bill Clinton during his 1992 presidential campaign). There are more than 40 different interior designs across its fleet. This latest Praetor 600 has Italian leather seats, and a driftwood theme throughout. It’s luxurious but comfortable.

Another fact we found out is that Flexjet operates a dedicated crew to each jet’s specific tail number. Not only does this mean Owners can become familiar with the crew, it has also been proven to limit maintenance on the jets as the crew take such good care of them.

At this point you might be thinking why not buy your own aircraft? There’s a lot more hassle involved than you might think, or be prepared to take on. The benefit of shared ownership with Flexjet is that they take care of this for you.

We also learnt that the trend towards last minute booking of private jets is becoming the norm. Flexjet’s sister company PrivateFly recently reported that 73 per cent of bookings flew within a week, compared to 60 per cent in Q1 of 2020. As a Flexjet Owner, the jet becomes yours with just 12 hours’ notice required, and the team are on hand to personally tailor your trip to suit your plans and needs.

If you needed more convincing on why choosing Flexjet is a good idea, their commitment to the future of private aviation and building a sustainable future is another market differentiator. At present, all flights go beyond carbon neutral by offsetting total emissions by 300 per cent at no extra cost to the Owner. Flexjet’s fleet is among the youngest in the sky with an average age of six years, which means the aircraft are less polluting than older fleets and looking further ahead, Flexjet’s parent company Directional Aviation has recently acquired Halo Aviation, positioning itself to become a leader in vertical lift with an order of 200 Eve Urban Air Mobility vehicles expected to be delivered in 2026.

As we landed back at Farnborough Airport and I reluctantly departed the jet, we walked back to the terminal where Flexjet had arranged for chauffeured cars to drive us home. Within five minutes of leaving the aircraft, I was settled into the back of a car and on my way back home (and to reality).

To join Flexjet’s shared ownership scheme: https://www.flexjet.com/uk/programmes/shared-ownership/

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