How The Rich Fly
I’ve always wondered how celebrities always seem to have a private jet at their disposal, even when they don’t seem to have the finances necessary to own one. Well, the mystery is solved people. It’s something called fractional ownership.
NetJets, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, offers fractional ownership and rental of private business jets. With fractional jets, customers (referred to as “owners”) buy a “share” of a plane, rather than an entire plane. The price is pro-rated from the market price of a full aircraft. Owners then have guaranteed access (50-400 hours annually or a certain number of days of the year, depending on share size) to that plane with as little as four hours’ notice. Fractional owners pay a monthly maintenance fee and an “occupied” hourly operating fee. Usually the latter is charged only when an owner or guest is on board, not when the plane is flying to a pick up point, or returning to base after completing a mission.
Owners have access to the full fleet of planes and may upgrade or downgrade for specific flights. At the end of the contract the owner can sell their share to the market whether that be the company or another owner waiting for a position.
Being an owner offers customers the convenience, access, and time advantages of flying point to point in private jets. This also allows the owner access to more, often smaller, airports; possibly shortening travel to both arrival and departure point. Arrival and departure points along with departure time are chosen by the customer for each individual trip. Costs are higher than flying commercial carriers but lower than purchasing, staffing and maintenance of a similar private jet.
Netjets have recently announced that they will be adding free in-flight Wi-Fi services on select midsize and large cabin aircraft starting this summer. Aircell which is the leading provider of Wi-Fi for airplanes under its GoGo name is going to be providing NetJets with the service. The process of adding the technology on the company’s 250 aircraft will be completed within 24 months and will be done during regularly scheduled maintenance in order to prevent disruptions. In the future, NetJets plans to equip all light cabin aircraft with Wi-Fi capability.
Now that’s what I call high flying. I’m working on getting to that point soon. Private jets all the way!