NetJets, Raytheon Shake Hands Again

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And the big get bigger. NetJets, widely considered the largest fractional-ownership operation in the world, is buying another 40 aircraft from the Raytheon Aircraft Company -- a mix of 20 Hawker 800XP mid-size jets and 20 Hawker 400XP light jets -- in a deal announced Monday. Total value of the contract will exceed $300 million, according to Raytheon, and the new aircraft will be based in Europe and the United States. Deliveries are set for the 2005-2007 time frame. This agreement between the two companies is the most recent in a spate of NetJets purchases from Raytheon starting last year. In December, NetJets ordered 50 new Hawker 400XPs and eight Hawker 800XPs. Then, in February, the two inked a 10-year maintenance contract for the present and future Hawkers in the NetJets fleet. Also in February 2004, NetJets ordered two additional Hawker 800XPs. The December order of 58 new jets came at Cessna's expense, which saw NetJets cancel plans to buy 50 Citation CJ3 aircraft. "This agreement recognizes that the growing NetJets worldwide customer base prefers roomy cabin interiors offered by both the Hawker 400XP and Hawker 800XP," said Jim Schuster, chairman and CEO of Raytheon Aircraft. For his part, NetJets Chairman Richard Santulli said, "Raytheonís commitment to customer service and quality aircraft were key factors in our decision. NetJets guarantees aircraft availability 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and we need a superb service organization to back us up," he added. The total value of all transactions is approximately $1 billion, according to Raytheon.