Fractional Programs

When you fly fractional, you do not just buy flight time: You invest in a limited partnership of sorts with a fractional provider. As a “limited partner,” you rely on this provider—the “general partner”—to handle scheduling cheerfully and professionally; deliver a safe, well-maintained aircraft with experienced pilots; take off and arrive on time; bill accurately; and, in general, offer outstanding customer service that goes the extra mile. Equally important, though, you rely on this provider to protect your investment and to buy back your share at a fair price when you exit.

When the members of the Robb Report Private Aviation Advisory Board evaluated the leading fractional programs for possible inclusion in this year’s Best of the Best list, we assessed the customer-service capabilities of each, and made sure that these programs have proven track records of operating responsibly in these challenging economic times and safeguarding their customers’ investments.

The programs we have identified as the Best of the Best meet these rigorous standards. They provide excellent service, offer newer aircraft, manage their operations well, and demonstrate flexibility and consistency. They also have shown the strength and capability that should make them good long-term investments.

NetJets has the largest fleet in the industry, and the financial backing of investor Warren Buffett and his Berkshire Hathaway company, which gives it the flexibility to adapt well to changing circumstances and the financial muscle to remain reliable in difficult times. NetJets has also been an industry leader in expanding its service area and, consequently, reducing ferry fees.

Bombardier Flexjet, though somewhat smaller than NetJets, enjoys the backing of Bombardier Aerospace and the decades of private aviation experience that go with it. Noteworthy are Flexjet’s 5-percent charter guarantee, its Versatility Plus program (which allows owners the flexibility to buy and sell unused flight time), and its AnyTime Options program, through which fractional flyers can purchase concessions such as guaranteed upgrades and short-leg waivers.

CitationShares is backed by Cessna, one of the United States’ leading aircraft manufacturers, and, like Flexjet, benefits from an established aviation-industry pedigree. CitationShares offers its customers several innovative, flexible programs, including Citelines, which enables share owners to reduce costs by flying on nonpeak travel days.

Avantair, the exclusive fractional provider of two different Piaggio Avanti turboprop models, is a more cost-effective alternative to many of the fractional jet programs, while delivering excellent performance for appropriate missions.

In these challenging times, the fractional owner—who is not only a flyer but also an investor—rightly requires both superior customer service and a proven track record from any fractional program worthy of being called the Best of the Best. The providers on this year’s list, we feel, meet these requirements.

Companies listed in alphabetical order

Company Avantair

Founded 2003

Headquarters Clearwater, Fla.

Program Aircraft Piaggio Avanti P. 180, Piaggio Avanti II

Services Fractional ownership and Edge Card

Contact 877.289.7180, www.avantair.com

Company Bombardier Flexjet

Founded 1995

Headquarters Richardson, Texas

Program Aircraft Various Learjet and Challenger models

Services Fractional ownership, Flexjet 25 Card, and value-added programs

Contact 800.353.9538, www.flexjet.com

Company CitationShares

Founded 2000

Headquarters Greenwich, Conn.

Program Aircraft Various Cessna Citation models

Services Fractional ownership, Vector Fleet JetCard, and value-added programs

Contact 203.542.3000, www.citationshares.com

Company NetJets

Founded 1964

Headquarters Woodbridge, N.J.

Program Aircraft Various Cessna, Hawker, Gulfstream, Boeing, and Dassault Falcon models

Services Fractional ownership, Marquis Jet Card, and value-added programs

Contact 877.356.5823, www.netjets.com