‘ShAirForceOne’ plans ‘frax’ BBJ2 ops by pax hours, not aircraft hours

 - May 19, 2008, 4:56 AM

“The ShAirForceOne program will deliver the ultimate corporate flight experience with respect to safety, security, comfort and productivity,” Art Brown, president of New York City-based ShAirForce, told AIN. “And we’re doing it at a price that is competitive with both the airlines and other fractional programs.”

The company will be acquiring Boeing BBJ2s outfitted for 36 passengers; the airplanes will fly on fixed schedules between city pairs. Each aircraft will be assigned to a given city pair and the number of round trips per day will be based on a 2,000-hr-per-year aircraft utilization target. The longer the stage length, the fewer round trips per day.

According to Brown, long cross-country routes such as New York to Los Angeles would be assigned at least two aircraft and offer at least two round trips per day. Shorter routes, such as New York to Washington, might have one aircraft doing three round trips per day. The aircraft will be operated under FAR Part 121 by an as yet unnamed airline.

Entitlement to Pax Hours

The ShAirForceOne concept is based on entitlement to passenger hours, not on entire aircraft hours. The program is aimed at corporations and high-net-worth individuals who want to fly on a secure private jet and avoid the costs of traditional fractional-ownership programs and private charters, as well as the inconvenience and security risk inherent in commercial flights.

The company has identified 250 of the most frequently traveled city pairs in the U.S. and 58 international routes. Brown said his company is selling shares and putting the money in escrow. The company must sell 100 percent of a route before it begins operation. Should a route not be completely sold, the money will be returned. A minimum ownership share is 50 passenger hours annually for $62,500. The cost goes up incrementally for 100-hr and 500-hr shares. It is anticipated that most owners will opt in at the one-sixteenth share level, allowing them 2,400 passenger hours per year. A monthly maintenance fee is still being developed, but according to Brown it will be in line with those of other fractional providers.

Flying by First Quarter 2003

Brown said the net cost would vary anywhere from “41 percent to 97 percent less than traditional fractional ownership or private charter programs on a passenger-hour cost basis.” Owners buy a share of an aircraft assigned to a city-pair combination, but they may use aircraft on any of the routes.

The company has started a limited direct-sales campaign, but it will intensify its efforts this summer. Brown said he anticipates the first aircraft will be in operation no later than the first quarter of next year.