JetLimited, the new fractional aircraft ownership program from Rifton Aviation, believes it sets itself apart from other regional and national frax programs in several ways, all intended to result in more personalized service to its target Northeast U.S. customers than other frax operations.
Thanks to a group of academic economists from Harvard and Stanford, we now know that the U.S. economy has been in a recession since last March. But despite academia’s confirmation of what most of us had already figured out on our own, the World Wide Web–and by extension the e-commerce business model–is not on the verge of extinction.
With the coming introduction of the Global Express into the Bombardier Flexjet fractional-ownership fleet, allocated usage will be based on days or hours, a departure from other fractional programs. A one-eighth share will provide up to 30 days or 125 hr a year and a half share entitles owners to 120 days or 500 hr.
Flight Options and Raytheon Aircraft are combining their fractional-ownership programs into a new company in which the “new” Flight Options will hold 50.1 percent and Raytheon will hold 49.9 percent. The new Flight Options will account for more than 1,600 share owners, 200 jets and 900 pilots. Raytheon Aircraft will also supply Flight Options with 115 new business jets.
The 843 pilots hired by six major fractional aircraft ownership companies in the first nine months of this year were about 30 percent fewer than the 1,210 frax pilots hired in the same period last year, according to employment tracking firm AIR. Nearly 1,400 frax pilots were hired during all of last year, compared with just 581 in 1999.
The demise of Avolar before it really got started is not an omen for the fractional aircraft provider industry. Introduced with much fanfare a year ago, Avolar was barely off the ground when its parent, UAL Corp., pulled back the power and shut off the fuel. Avolar failed for the most part because it wasn’t able to muster the significant upfront investment needed to launch a fractional operation, not because the fractional market is waning.
“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.”
Piaggio Avanti fractional provider Avantair is narrowing its losses and on course to reach profitability in the near future, company CEO Steven Santo said yesterday during a quarterly investor conference. In the first three months of this year, the Clearwater, Fla.-based operator increased its year-over-year revenues by 51 percent, to $29.9 million, and decreased its net loss by $2 million, to $5.4 million.
Executive Jet is holding a vendor forum for its NetJets Europe fractional aircraft ownership program at this month’s European Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition in Geneva. NetJets will use the meeting, to be held on May 29, to brief existing and prospective vendors on its objectives and required service standards.
With the consummation of the Flight Options/Raytheon Travel Air merger on March 21, the fractional ownership business is “a two-horse race between Flight Options and NetJets, relegating the other providers to boutique markets.” So says Flight Options CEO Kenn Ricci, characteristically confident in the future of the frax operator he founded in 1998.