NetJets launches FAA-backed advanced qualification programme


NetJets has launched an advanced qualification programme (AQP) for pilot training, the first of its kind for a part 135 business aviation operator to receive FAA backing.

The AQP will run in NetJets’ fractional share operation. The first fleets due to make the transition will be the Citation Sovereign and Latitude, with the Citation XLS next on the schedule. They will be followed by the Bombardier Global, Embraer Phenom 300, and Bombardier Challenger 350 fleets later this year. While other fleets such as the Challenger 650 and Gulfstream will be added to the AQP next year.

AQP heightens pilot training levels significantly compared with traditional business aviation processes. “What we have found is AQP allows NetJets to develop a training programme that’s appropriate for us and our pilots,” said Sean Kennedy, NetJets director of operations. “They can focus on where they need to improve and be better prepared for our flight operations.” A fundamental part of AQP is adding real-world scenarios to flight training, based on flight operations quality assurance (FOQA) information taken from the NetJets fleet.

Kennedy continued: “It’s a custom programme for NetJets and the FAA to look at data and decide what do you need to meet the next cycle [of training]. The requirements change every year. It’s relevant to what’s happening in the industry.

“NetJets prides itself in our unwavering commitment to safety,” said NetJets chief operating officer Alan Bobo. “We are thrilled to be the first private aviation company to receive support from the FAA under this new programme . The standards for safety have always been the top priority for NetJets and we look forward to continuing to evolve our service, safety, and success with AQP.”

NetJets implemented a higher standard of training over 10 years ago—under a programme where the FAA recommends that charter operators train pilots to Part 121 standards – and did so until 2018. An aviation safety action programme (ASAP) and FOQA programme were both established as result of the training. NetJets also initiated an air carrier designated examiner programme where FAA inspectors oversee all training and checking and are dedicated to the NetJets’ operation.

The safety levels that NetJets attained through those processes meant it had almost achieved AQP level. With that in mind, the FAA encouraged NetJets to launch the APQ and achieve full status.