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A Quick Guide to Fractional Private Jet Ownership

Companies sell shares in their aircraft, then handle the operational and maintenance demands.

By Elite Traveler |  March 30 2020


The uncontrolled global spread of the coronavirus Covid-19 has sent the commercial aviation industry into lockdown. Outright bans and travel restrictions have put a hold on movement across the world.

For those who absolutely need to travel by air, private aviation offers levels of safety, security and reliability that the commercial industry cannot. As a result, private jet companies have reported a huge increase in inquiries from new clients, up to 400% according to one company.

There are a lot of people considering private aviation for the first time, but may not know the numerous ways to access the industry. Here, we present a quick guide on fractional private jet ownership.

by Dave Higdon

Fractional ownership provides almost all the same tax advantages as full aircraft ownership, minus the burdens of hiring a crew and arranging maintenance and storage, among other things. Companies sell shares in their aircraft, then handle the operational and maintenance demands. Shares come as small as 1/16th of a jet for 50 hours of flying, and as large as an entire plane offering 800 hours of flight time a year. Many fractionals even allow sharing the use of aircraft larger or smaller than the one in which you own a share, adding to fractional ownership’s flexibility and appeal.

While fractional ownership offers the most tax benefits due to the ownership being shared, all methods of flying privately have certain tax benefits when used for business. For personal use, tax benefits can be limited to depreciation of the aircraft as a personal asset.

NetJets

You need flexibility for personal trips with the family, but also a jet with more business appeal for company trips that come along. If experience and diversity are important elements in your aircraft choice, NetJets should be on your radar as the leader among fractional programs. NetJets tops the field as the world’s largest operator of private jets, flying a diverse global fleet in nearly every size ranging from the light Cessna Citation XLS to heavy jets, like Gulfstream G450s, and the company continues to invest in a wide variety of planes for every mission.

Thirty-two years after the launch of its shared-ownership program, NetJets serves more than 7,000 owners annually using more than 750 aircraft on 300,000 flights between 3,200 airports in 150 countries. And at some of the world’s largest events, owners have access to exclusive NetJets parties, including the PGA Tour, The Masters, Snow Polo World Cup, Auction Napa Valley, Cayman Cookout, Art Basel and the Super Bowl. netjets.com

Flexjet

Flexjet entered the fractional jet-ownership market in 1995 as a division of Bombardier Aerospace and weathered the Great Recession of 2008. Now under the umbrella of Directional Aviation, Flexjet serves more than 2,200 owners worldwide. Today, Flexjet markets three programs, but its flagship program is fractional ownership.

Offering traditional shares, in 2015 it launched the Red Label program, which dedicates a specific flight crew to each enrolled aircraft, making it feel more like outright ownership. And Flexjet continues to grow. Since 2015, it has taken delivery of 95 jets, from light Embraer aircraft to super-midsize Bombardier aircraft. For those who want to live life at the highest speed possible, Flexjet also holds orders for 20 new Aerion AS2 supersonic business jets, a Mach 1.4 (1,000 mph) aircraft expected to fly in 2023. flexjet.com

Image credits: Paul Bowen Photography

PlaneSense

No matter your destination, be it a dude ranch or a country-club airport in an urban area, PlaneSense’s aircrafts get you as close as possible at a share cost that’s among the lowest in its field. It also flies one of the youngest fleets out there, operating two Pilatus aircraft models — 36 of the PC-12 propjet singles and five PC-24 jet twins (more to be delivered in 2020). It’s these two Pilatus models that give PlaneSense its operational edge of superior runway performance. Both models excel on short and unimproved runways, which opens up access to thousands of airfields that larger planes can’t access. The PC-24 delivers on jet speed, but the PC-12 is the short-runway champ.

Regardless of the aircraft, count on comfort and privacy: Despite the smaller aircraft sizes, this fleet still delivers with all the modern-day amenities you’d expect from a private aircraft, including refreshment centers, a private lavatory, generous leg and headroom, and flat floors for passengers and their furry companions. planesense.com

This story is adapted from a story that originally appeared in the Winter 2019 issue of Elite Traveler.

Related: A Quick Guide on How to Charter a Private Jet

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