NetJets in Foster care

As the 62nd Cannes Film Festival takes off this week so do the aircraft which will disgorge innumerable celebs, producers and party organisers at Nice Airport and the private jet stronghold of Cannes-Mandelieu Airport. Taxiiing into these ports will be private planes from the NetJets Europe fleet, a company which is on a creative high thanks to the recent design input of renowned architect Lord Norman Foster. Sat Bal (5 Dec '09)


NetJets Europe is the largest business jet company in Europe and its fractional ownership programmes have long found favour with arrive-and-fly travellers who have rejected  the vagaries of commercial flying. From the NetJets' entry-level Private Jet Card to its Corporate Card programme passenger flying time can start from just 25 hours  over a 12 or 24 month period to over 50 or 100 hours per year.

With costs starting at €131,000 for 25 hours of occupied flight time on a light jet, the quality of the journey is as important as the A-to-B business logistics. Enter Pritzker prize winning architect Lord Norman Foster (pictured above and left). 

His company, Foster+Partners has become the most successful architecture enterprise of recent times with projects including the world's biggest airport in Beijing and London's Gherkin skyscraper. As a pilot and NetJets customer Lord Foster was a natural partner in the design of NetJets' newest and most advanced aircraft, the Falcon 7X.

NetJets' commission of Lord Foster's work marked the largest order in business aviation history with Falcon's manufacturer Dassault. This will see 33 Falcon 7X aircraft added to NetJets' fleet over the next eight years at a cost of $1.5 billion.

Lord Foster's brief was to create a jet that elevated business aviation on all levels for a global clientele. His research involved talking extensively to NetJets’ clients and crew in order to balance the Falcon 7X's internal comforts with a striking exterior. 

The result is a cosseting cocoon of cream and tan colour with Fiddleback Sycamore wood fittings. Redesigned seating integrates the anticipated uses of owners and passengers whether they be business meetings, enhanced sleeping or dining in consummate comfort.

Lord Foster distinguished working areas such as the galley by using a grey and black "industrial" colour scheme in marked contrast with the cream passenger section of the cabin. His enthusiasm for the project spread to the exterior of the jet where he evolved the Falcon's livery, although this wasn't part of the original commission.

The Falcon 7X is one of the aviation industry’s most anticipated aircraft and features include improved fuel efficiency and the most advanced flight control system currently in use. Its flying range means that the Falcon 7X makes light of sectors such as London-New York and Paris-Tokyo. The client was right not to obstruct Lord Foster's creativity - the entire 160-strong NetJets Europe fleet is now to flaunt his distinctive blue horizontal livery design.


What they said:  

“The NetJets 7X is a major aviation milestone in terms of the sheer size of the order. It’s literally a fleet within the NetJets fleet and therefore I felt that this significance should manifest visually both internally and externally.

“Working on a jet was a new challenge for me and one that I accepted unhesitatingly when NetJets approached me. It presented the opportunity to apply my professional expertise, my passion for aviation and my experience as a NetJets customer to one of the world’s most exciting aircraft.”   Lord Foster

“Design is an area that has been given precious little attention in the world of business aviation. Whether a NetJets owner wants their journey across Europe or the Atlantic to be peaceful or productive, the personal and intuitive touches added by Lord Foster to the Falcon 7X will meet their needs in a way never seen before in aviation.” Mark Booth, Executive Chairman - NetJets Europe


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