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Buffett sees 55% increase in new NetJets customers

| Fractional Jet, NetJets | 2013/05/06

Rich people are taking to the air again, according to Berkshire Hathaway.

Its NetJets IP LLC business has signed up 55% more new customers than a year ago, Jordan Hansell, the NetJets boss, told CNBC Monday, without offering anything more specific. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, who sits on the Berkshire BRKB board, glanced at the runway in Omaha this weekend and estimated that 25% more people came to the Berkshire annual meeting by private jet than a year ago. (“He’s in the ballpark,” Hansell says.)

Ferrying people to the Kentucky Derby and its $1,000 mint juleps was strong too. Overall, this past weekend, with two big events in the Berkshire lovefest and the Derby, was one of NetJets’ busiest, Hansell said. (In case you’re wondering, the Sunday after Thanksgiving is the busiest day.)

Read the Rest of Silvia Ascarelli’s excellent article. . .

Read other business aviation articles on MarketWatch

How to evaluate a fractional jet ownership company

| Business Aviation, Fractional Jet | 2012/01/22


How to evaluate a fractional jet ownership company

Whether you’re shopping for a fractional jet for business use or family travel, it’s always good to look before you leap. Before buying into a programme, evaluate the company offering it. The aviation professionals you consult with should be happy to answer your questions and to offer a viable and attractive package to suit your travel requirements.

Here are some key points to consider when investigating a fractional jet ownership programme:


Financial position

The financial strength of the company is very important. You are not only buying an asset, you are also forming a long-term business partnership. A sound financial position is the best way to guard against business failure and to ensure that maintenance, training, service and safety are not compromised, thereby reducing the value of your investment.

Aircraft selection

More is better. The larger a fractional jet programme’s fleet, the more it has to offer and the better it can serve your needs. Here are some questions to ask:

  1. How many planes are in the fleet?
  2. Are planes available in a variety of sizes?
  3. What’s the average age of the planes?
  4. Does the company guarantee aircraft access?
  5. How long is the notification period when requesting a jet?

International travel

With business jets especially, global travel is a prime consideration. Look for a fractional ownership company that provides for global travel and handles it in-house. Safety and service should be the same whether flying domestic or abroad.

Professional experience

The company you are considering should have an excellent track record of safety and service. Some points to consider:

  1. How long has the company been in business?
  2. How many flights are operated annually?
  3. How many destinations are served globally?
  4. What is the company’s safety accreditation?

Safety considerations

  1. How high is the company’s commitment to safety?
  2. Where do pilots receive training, and how reputable is that training?
  3. Does the company employ in-house meteorologists?
  4. Is there a senior supervising pilot available to assist pilots in flight?
  5. How often and where is fleet maintenance performed?
  6. What are the safety records of the planes in the fleet?
  7. Are new additions equipped with state-of-the-art safety systems?
  8. What are the pilot selection and training requirements?
  9. How many training hours do pilots receive annually?
  10. Do the airports served by the programme get audited regularly?

Customer service

More than a factional jet ownership interest, you are also investing in a company that will personally manage your travel arrangements. Consider the following questions:

  1. Does the programme honour its scheduling commitments?
  2. Does it provide ground transportation, security and catering?
  3. How many pilots does the company employ?
  4. Are the facilities state-of-the-art?

Taking an in-depth look at the fractional business jet ownership company you are considering is one way to get the most from your investment. Whether you want business jets, private jets or both, put the same care into your research as you would with any high-end investment.