Thanks to the flight aware airline tracker, any aviation enthusiast can log on to the site to learn about the frequent flyers. Besides a few regulars who clock in almost every Thursday, two private aviation giants rank supreme on the takeoff and landing tally. Here’s how Netjets and Flexjet stack up.
Originally launched as a collaboration between Bombardier and AMR Combs, Flexjet was acquired in 2013 by entrepreneur Kenn Ricci, whose firm also owns Skyjet, Sentient Jet and Flight Options. The company is now the world’s second-largest fractional jet ownership services provider. It’s known for a tightly managed fleet of young aircraft with an average age of 5 to 6 years.
Flexjet offers private jets across all size categories, which include light and superlight cabins, like on the Embraer Phenom 300, one of the most requested aircraft for private travel; midsize cabins, like on the Bombardier Challenger 300, a jetfor up to nine passengers that can fly transcontinental distances; and the Gulfstream G450, a 13-passenger top choice for intercontinental flights.
For fractional ownership, Flexjet requires 10 hours’ callout time. For its Jet Cardprogram, a full 24 hours are needed, and 48 hours are needed for peak hours.
Flexjet is tight-lipped on pricing, but, like most private aviation companies, it recommends fractional ownership for those who fly 50 or more hours per year. Flexjet also offers a program called Versatility Plus, which can make unused hours available for purchase from other owners. The Flexjet 25 card, a 24-month term that starts around $160,000, is made for those who fly fewer than 50 hours per year and prefer to eschew an upfront investment.
Although others claim to have invented the jet card concept, NetJets is the originator of the fractional ownership model. The company was established in 1964 as Executive Jet Aviation and was bought and renamed by Goldman Sachs exec Richard Santulli in 1984. The company,which is now a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, currently has a fleet of 700 aircraft worldwide, all owned and operated by NetJets.
The NetJets fleet includes Cessna Citation Excel/XLS, a seven-passenger plane that features amenities of a midsize-cabin jet with the ability to fly into and out of smaller airports; a midsize cabin like that of the Hawker 900XP, an eight-passenger nicknamed the “spacious conference room in the sky”; and a large-cabin category like the Gulfstream G550, an ultralong-range business jet forup to 14 passengers.
NetJets fractional owners are required to give four to six hours’ notice for booking. There are 15 peak period days; 48 hours’ notice is required for travel on these days. For NetJets Marquis Jet Cards, with an 18-month term, plan on 10 hours’ notice. There are 30 to 45 peak days with 120 hours’ notice required. NetJets EliteJet Cards, which are limited to its two Citation light jets, are offered in 25-hour blocks. Twenty-four hours’ notice is required on most days, and there are 45 peak days per year with a 120-hour minimum booking notice.
NetJets ownership allows you to purchase a minimum of a one-sixteenth interest in aspecific aircraft, equivalent to 50 hours of flight time per year. There’s a one-time acquisition cost, plus a monthly management fee and an occupied hourly fee for fuel, maintenance, cateringand landing. After the minimum term, NetJets offers a guaranteed buyback option if you opt out of the program. Made for travelers who fly fewer than 50 hours per year, NetJets Marquis Jet Cards offer prepaid access to the aircraft of your choice. You’re guaranteed 25 hours at a timeover 18 months with the flight time deducted from your card balance. Pricing starts in the neighborhood of $165,000.
Photography by: Extreme-Photographer/istock