It’s been 21 years since Richard Santulli opened the doors of NetJets, having figured out a way to lower the barriers to entry to business aviation by selling fractional shares in corporate jets. Now all sorts of industries that sell expensive products have latched onto fractional shares; the latest are companies that sell specialized manufacturing equipment to factories that need to switch production lines to new products quickly.
Fractional-ownership management company OurPlane announced the launch of the first fractional Eclipse 500 VLJ program, based in Jacksonville, Fla.
When Kenny Dichter and a buddy from college first had the idea for Marquis Jet, the travel card program that sells time aboard NetJets business jets in 25-hour increments, “We had a vision that this business could be a very big one,” he said.
But the pair didn’t exactly have aviation flowing in their veins, as they say, making Marquis Jet’s overnight success story all the
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.
Fractional operator Flight Options has expanded into the realm of aircraft management.
UK charter operator LyddAir has launched its own fractional ownership program, offering shares in a variety of pre-owned twin-engine piston and turboprop airplanes. Initially, the company is offering shares in a pair of Piper Chieftains and a Beech Baron B58, but it is preparing to add a King Air 200 to the fleet.
Holders of the Marquis Jet Card will have new restrictions requiring that they book flights further in advance during peak travel times due to unexpected growth in flying hours by NetJets share owners over the last year, according to NetJets chairman Richard Santulli. Marquis flights are operated under Part 135 by NetJets, or NetJets-approved charter operators, and Marquis owns about 10 percent of the NetJets’ fleet.
NetJets, the founder of fractional aircraft ownership and the world’s biggest purchaser of business jets, put some more distance between itself and mere market mortals yesterday with an order for 96 new Cessna Citations valued at more than $1 billion.
At the Embraer booth (No. 7510) yesterday, fractional operator Executive AirShare announced an order for seven Phenom 100 very light jets (VLJs) for delivery in the summer of 2010, with options for seven more. Embraer also revealed that Premier Aviation signed a contract at EBACE for four Phenom 100s that were already included in the Phenom backlog.
Block charter has evolved as the primary alternative to fractional ownership in Europe, with providers continuously vying to offer greater flexibility and value. Operators and brokers are now competing to find new incentives to influence customers to abandon airlines in favor of charter services.