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Securing the Skies: Private Flight Who's Who

Matt Smotzer

Fractional Programs
Of the many fractional ownership programs currently available, the main players in terms of size and national scope are NetJets, Flexjet, Travelair, Citation Shares, and Flight Options. While pricing in each category of jets (light, medium, and heavy) is fairly consistent across the programs, this may change as the 15-year-old industry matures and becomes more competitive, analysts say.

NetJets (1.877.NETJETS, www.ejcharter.com) is the 800-pound gorilla in the ring. Formed by Executive Jet in 1986, it is the oldest and largest fractional ownership program, with more than 345 aircraft (15 models from five manufacturers) in the air, many of which are available internationally. A one-quarter share (200 hours) in its lightest jet, the six-seat Cessna Citation V Ultra, is $1,600,000, plus a monthly management fee of $16,392 and an hourly rate of $1,318. The same share in its Boeing Business Jet, which seats as many as 18, is $11,625,000, plus an $82,960 monthly fee and a $4,360 hourly rate.

Flexjet, Travelair, and Citation Shares are owned and operated by specific manufacturers, therefore the variety of craft each offers is more limited than NetJets’ fleet. Flexjet (800.353.9538, www.flexjet.com), for example, is owned and outfitted by Bombardier and offers the company’s Learjet, Continental, Challenger, and Global Express aircraft. It has 115 planes in the air, and each of its six types of craft is available internationally.

Raytheon’s Travelair (888.824.6359, www.raytheonaircraft.com) fleet includes the Premier I and Beechjet 400A light jets, the high-performance Hawker 800XP and Horizon, and the long-range Challenger 601. It has a fleet of 103 planes. Cessna’s Citation Shares program (800.340.7767, www.citationshares.com), with a fleet of 15 planes, offers the Citation CJ1, Bravo, and Excel jets, and can accommodate as many as nine passengers. Flight Options (www.flyaow.com, 216.261.3500) sells shares in pre-owned, refurbished aircraft. It is not affili-ated with any one manufacturer and has a fleet of 92 aircraft from six manufacturers. United Air Lines’ fractional subsidiary is scheduled to begin operating in spring 2002, and it plans to have a fleet of 200 planes in the air within five years.

Charter Services
With nearly 5,000 charter jet operators in the United States and some 500 brokers, it was only natural that some national facil-itators of these services would arise, following the model of the commercial airline research and reservation services that evolved on the Internet. Skyjet (888.275. 9538, www.skyjet.com), now owned by Bombardier, is one such facilitator. It has 235 affiliated charter operators worldwide, representing more than 1,300 jets in all categories. Air Partner P.L.C. (212.252.1002, www.airpartner.com), an international broker founded in the 1980s, gives you access to more than 5,000 fully licensed aircraft worldwide, including the Concorde. FlightTime (888.242.7837, www.flighttime.com), another veteran in the charter industry, offers domestic and international travel on more than 2,000 aircraft. eJets.com (877.463.5387, www.ejets.com) has assembled a network of more than 160 certified air charter operators and over 1,000 aircraft.

Other companies, such as PrivatAir (201. 288.2882, www.privatair.com), manage their own fleets and supplement them with networks of affiliates. PrivatAir operates 50 aircraft around the world and can outsource to an extensive network of business jet operators. Executive Jet Charter (877.356.5387, www.ejcharter.com), which has been in business for nearly four decades, has its own fleet of 65 aircraft in 30 locations worldwide, and together with its affiliated network offers one of the broadest selections of aircraft available. eBizJets (877.324.9538, www.ebizjets.com) has amassed a network of more than 1,400 private aircraft to supplement its own fleet of aircraft, which includes nine different types of jets from six manufacturers.

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