Thanks to the flightaware 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 Bombardierand AMR Combs, Flexjet was acquired in 2013 by entrepreneurKenn Ricci, whose firm also owns Skyjet, Sentient Jet and Flight Options.The company is now the world’s second-largest fractional jet ownershipservices 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 flytranscontinental distances; and the Gulfstream G450, a 13-passenger topchoice 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 neededfor peak hours.
Flexjet is tight- lipped on pricing, but, like most private aviation companies, it recommends fractionalownership for those who fly 50 or more hours per year. Flexjet also offers a program calledVersatility 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 fewerthan 50 hours per year and preferto 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 RichardSantulli in 1984. The company,which is now a subsidiary ofWarren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, currently has a fleetof 700 aircraft worldwide, allowned and operated by NetJets.
The NetJets fleetincludes Cessna Citation Excel/ XLS, a seven-passenger plane that features amenities of a midsize-cabin jet with theability to fly into and out ofsmaller 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 are15 peak period days; 48 hours’ notice is required for travel on these days. For NetJetsMarquis Jet Cards, with an 18-month term, plan on 10hours’ notice. There are 30 to45 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-hourminimum 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 timeacquisition cost, plus a monthly management fee and an occupied hourly fee for fuel, maintenance, cateringand landing. After the minimum term, NetJets offersa guaranteed buyback optionif you opt out of the program. Made for travelers who flyfewer than 50 hours per year, NetJets Marquis Jet Cardsoffer prepaid access to the aircraft of your choice. You’reguaranteed 25 hours at a timeover 18 months with the flighttime deducted from your cardbalance. Pricing starts in the neighborhood of $165,000.