A Plane Of Your Own

A corporare jet may be one solution to costly business travel. While a private plane can cost up to $38 million, there’s a more affordable option — fractional jet ownership. A one-sixteenth share on Montvale, New Jersey-based Executive Jet’s lowest-cost model (Citation 5 Ultra) runs $389,000. EJ and BusinessJet Solutions sell shares. EJ’s NetJets program has 112 light and midsize Cessnas and Raytheons plus large-cabin Gulfstream jets for transoceanic flights. EJ also has two jets available for use in Europe. BJS’ FlexJets has 33 Challengers and Learjets.

Buyers Purchase a share and pay a monthly maintenance fee. In the FlexJet program, for example, a minimum purchase of 100 hours costs $738,000 for a Learjet 31A. Add to that hourly costs, fixed expenses, and miscellaneous fees, and the total is $1,417,173.

While it’s a hefty price tag, there are benefits, especially for those who fly 50-plus hours annually, says EJ’s senior vice president, Kevin Russell. Planes are available 24 hours a day on as little as four-hour’s notice; flights are direct (no layovers or connections); in- flight meetings are possible; and in-flight meals are customized. A plane purchase is considered an asset for tax purposes. That $1,417,173 figure drops to $850,304 after taxes.

Fractional ownership is catching on. EJ added 240 new owners in 1996, boosting membership to 750. Private companies make up 55% of its owners; 25% are individuals; and are large corporations. Even Tiger Woods just picked up a one-eighth share from EJ.

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