NBAA Convention News

Flexjet adds aircraft management option

 - September 20, 2007, 6:28 AM

Bombardier Flexjet (Booth No. 6418) yesterday announced the launch of Flexjet One, an aircraft management program that the company said combines the advantages of whole-airplane ownership with the benefits of the fractional and jet-card programs.

Under the program, customers purchase 100 percent of the shares in one fractional aircraft, thereby avoiding the start-up fees and hassles associated with purchasing their own aircraft and placing it under the care of an aircraft management program. The Flexjet One program is fully integrated with Flexjet’s fractional and jet-card programs, and aircraft owners will have access to the same programs and products. “There are other [companies] that offer aircraft management programs,” said Michael McQuay, president of Bombardier Flexjet and Bombardier Skyjet, “but we’re the first to offer one of this kind.”

According to McQuay, the Flexjet One program also offers customers a financial incentive to join. Compared with other aircraft management programs, he said, Flexjet One has lower operating costs (cost per hour flown) and efficient-trip pricing, which lowers the base hourly rate by up to 25 percent. Flexjet owners will also have access to the entire Flexjet fleet, and only fractional owners and Flexjet 25 jet-card members– not ad hoc charter customers–will have access to the owner’s aircraft.

Flexjet One owners will also have the same benefits offered to fractional owners, including Versatility Plus, which allows customers to buy or sell up to 25 percent of their allotted hours; access to the multiple-use program, which provides an aircraft owner with access to more than one aircraft at a time; and use of the secondary service area (SSA) program with ferry fee waivers to the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Mexico, Canada, Hawaii and Europe. “All of these programs not only bring a value from the standpoint of dollars, but they also bring incredible value from the standpoint of time,” McQuay said. “And that’s what we’re focusing on.”

He added that the numerous products the company offers combined with cost controls, investments in new technologies and an efficient management style, have all contributed to Flexjet’s first full year of profitability. He conceded, however, that bottom-line profitability was difficult to achieve. “Our business is a very glamorous one, with airplanes flying all over the country and very select, exclusive clientele,” he said. “But the complexities of the business and the logistical disciplines that are required to maintain the fleet add a significant amount of cost.” The cost of deadhead legs, aircraft downtime and the demands of the individual clientele also add to the cost of the business, he added.

He said he is certain, however, that the Flexjet One program will broaden the company’s appeal to potential customers. “We know through experience that we can make this be a viable component of profitability, and we’ll continue to expand these services to our customers and our aircraft.”