The Jet Set
CEOs and Entrepreneurs Queue Up To Buy the Ultimate in Private UltraLong- Distance Jet Travel
From the Print Edition:
Ernest Hemingway, Jul/Aug 99
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Bombardier saw fractional ownership as a way to sell its own Lears, Challengers and Global Expresses, so in 1995, it started Flexjet. The Dallas-based Flexjet now has 65 jets with 350 individual customers, with 90 jets and 500 customers anticipated by the end of the year, according to Steve Phillips, director of marketing. Share owners can upgrade or downgrade the type of jet according to their needs, says Phillips, using a Lear jet for a Manhattan to Chicago trip, for example, while taking a Global Express for a Los Angeles to Tokyo flight. Flexjet also offers its customers the use of more than one jet at the same time. As far as availability, "We don't have an issue of supply," says Phillips. "When we need jets, we get them."
The third major player is Wichita-based Raytheon Travel Air, which offers its parent company's Beech King Air turboprop as well as the Beechjet 400A and Hawker 800XP in its fractional ownership portfolio, though none of them are ultralong-range jets. Clients have the option of choosing among the aircraft to suit their needs.
Like Boeing's Boeskov, Santulli has been surprised by who is buying fractional shares in its ultralong-range business jets."We thought it would be more skewed to large companies," Santulli says. "If you asked me last year, I would have said 70 percent of the buyers would be Fortune 200 companies." Instead, those companies account for less than half.
The number of individuals and corporations willing to spend $35 million on superlong-range business jets proves that timereally is money.
Barry Rosenberg is a New York-based journalist specializing in business and technology.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, contact the manufacturers at the following numbers: Airbus (703/834-3434); Boeing (206/655-9800); Bombardier (514/855-5000); and Gulfstream (912/965-5555). For additional information about fractional ownership plans, call Executive Jet (and the NetJets program) at 800/821-2299; Flexjet at 800/FLEXJET; and Gary Hart, president of Raytheon Travel Air, at 316/676-8222.
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