fractional ownership

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Supplemental Lift for Your Business Jet: What's Best for You? (Pt 1) see more

    NAFA member David Wyndham, Vice President with Conklin & de Decker, discusses whether Charter, Jet Card or Fractional Ownership is better option for your supplemental lift. 

    Are there some business travel needs your aircraft can’t fulfill? David Wyndham explores the option of supplemental lift. What is supplemental lift, and how can you use it as an appropriate add-on in your current aircraft operations?

    Supplemental lift may be a logical alternative to your current aircraft. As the term implies, supplemental lift is an add-on to your current operation – it is not a replacement for your current aircraft. What it does is to achieve a means of expanding your operation without adding another aircraft, extra crew, and support.

    It may be that you have a specific need for short-term lift if an aircraft in your operation is undergoing a major maintenance event. Or you may need extra flight hours beyond what your current aircraft can support.

    Alternatively, there may be several unique missions on the horizon for which your current aircraft is unsuitable. Perhaps you simply wish to bridge the gap before acquiring another aircraft as your flight operation grows.

    Thankfully, there is a range of supplemental lift options available that offer a modest number of additional flight hours without the costs associated with actually owning an extra aircraft.

    Within this article, we will consider the following questions:

    • What are aircraft charter, jet cards and fractional ownership?
    • When does supplemental lift make sense?

    What are Aircraft Charter, Jet Cards & Fractional Ownership?

    Aircraft charter enables you to rent an aircraft for a trip. With charter, you pay the entire time the aircraft is flying (including any unoccupied i.e. ‘deadhead’ legs without you aboard). Therefore, charter costs are minimized with round-trip travel. Aircraft charter tends to work particularly well if one or more well-qualified providers operate the aircraft type you need close to your location.

    Jet cards are a form of pre-purchased charter. Some jet card programs are aligned with a major fractional ownership company (such as NetJets). Other providers offer a broker arrangement where they sell you the time and find the qualified operator for you. Most jet card providers offer both one-way and round-trip pricing.

    Fractional ownership enables you to purchase or lease a share of an aircraft in proportion to the additional flying that you plan to do. This may be a good way to bridge the gap between insufficient current aircraft availability and developing sufficient need to justify buying an additional aircraft outright. Operators who purchase a fractional share can choose to sell it back to the provider at the end of the contract.

    When Does Supplemental Lift Make Sense?

    As highlighted through the different options, supplemental lift can be a short- or long-term solution. The hours can vary with your needs. To illustrate, and also highlight how and when supplemental lift makes sense, following are some real-life examples.

    Extended Downtime: One operator I work with has an aircraft that’s almost 12 years old. They fly regularly and the aircraft is fast approaching a major maintenance check and engine overhauls. The avionics suite is outdated and the principal wants to add in-flight cabin connectivity. Additionally, the paint and interior are in need of a refresh.

    Having conducted a financial analysis, the operator concluded that the aircraft value prior to the work being done is lower than they would sell it for. Moreover, the cost of a newer replacement aircraft is more than they wish to spend. The plan, therefore, is for them to complete the overhauls and upgrades at the same time, with an expected downtime of at least four months.

    This means a temporary solution is required that effectively replaces their aircraft for the time it will take to complete the maintenance and upgrades.

    An estimated 120 flight hours will be needed over those four months, and the operator has chosen aircraft charter as the right option to fulfil this demand.

    Fortunately, they’re located in a city with several large charter operators nearby and were able to negotiate a block of hours with a local provider with a top safety rating.

    Expanding Mission Need: A different corporate client recently expanded operations to a distant city and their current aircraft cannot make that trip non-stop. The client estimates flying one trip per month for approximately eight flight hours, representing a 20% increase in their flying activity. To upsize to a larger aircraft would increase the operating budget by almost 90%.

    The cost to buy the larger business jet is nearly three times what their current jet is worth. Over the course of a year, the client would need less than 100 hours flying a longer-range jet and their demand analysis indicates this utilization is likely to remain steady and long-term.

    In addition, avoiding a fuel stop on 20% of the trips wouldn’t be worth the added investment in a new, larger jet. But what if the client were to supplement their operations with added lift?

    The client was able to find a fractional ownership solution to meet their needs at a fraction of the cost of replacing their current aircraft. When they near the end of their current contract, they will reassess their need and budget, revisiting the question of acquiring a larger business jet.

    Growing Operation: One last example is of a flight operation growing at 15% per year. Corporate projections indicate that this rate of growth will continue and there are new departments asking for use of the aircraft.

    In their analysis, the client’s aviation department estimates that they can meet the additional demand for the next 18–24 months by hiring a new pilot and combining a few trips each month. Acquiring another aircraft may take between six and nine months.

    The company hired a consultant who performed an aircraft needs analysis. The report confirmed the aviation department’s internal findings and recommended that a second aircraft be purchased within the year. The report also recommended adding supplemental lift within the next six months to maintain the department’s ability to meet trip requests without any disruption.

    Accordingly, they purchased a jet card offering them the additional projected flight hours. The card program includes price guarantees for 12 months with the initial purchase.

    Simultaneous Travel Needs: One more consideration might be the scenario where you occasionally need simultaneous aircraft. If you anticipate multiple overlapping requests for the aircraft, a supplemental option, such as a charter, jet card or fractional ownership might make sense.

    Next month we will continue our discussion with consideration of how to choose the right aircraft, and then manage the supplemental lift as you grow into another aircraft.

    This article was originally published on AvBuyer on June 21, 2019.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Understanding Popular Private Jet Share Options see more

    NAFA member, H. Lee Rohde, III, President and CEO of Essex Aviation, discusses Private Jet Share options.

    Private jet shares are a popular alternative for frequent fliers who want to enjoy the benefits of private aircraft ownership without the longer-term commitment or larger financial investment typical of purchasing a whole aircraft. In this blog, we’ll take a look at some popular private jet share options, as well as pros and cons for each.

    What is a Private Jet Share?

    As implied by its name, a private jet share refers to any private aviation program in which you own or lease a share of an aircraft rather than own it outright. There are multiple private jet share options to choose from, including fractional aircraft ownership, private jet membership or card programs and private jet chartering.

    How Are Private Jet Shares Structured?

    The private jet share structure depends entirely on which program, aircraft model and hours of utilization you require.

    Fractional Ownership
    Those interested in fractional ownership purchase a private jet share of a specific aircraft type and agree to an annual amount of allotted flight hours. Most fractional ownership programs require a minimum share size of 50 hours of flight time per year; the maximum share size is 800 hours of flight time per year, which is equivalent to ownership of the entire aircraft.

    Fractional ownership shares are acquired from the company that operates the aircraft and has a designed shared ownership program and services agreement that all share owners participate in. This company is also responsible for employing pilots and flight attendants, administering maintenance, airport and hangar fees and insurance, which can be attractive to individuals who want to avoid managing the details of full aircraft ownership. Some fractional ownership programs also provide the option to upgrade or downgrade the aircraft size depending on your trip requirements.

    Compared to other private jet share models, fractional ownership doesn’t require you to pay for the hours flown to position the aircraft to your departure point — also known as a deadhead cost. However, though you’ll save on certain costs and repositioning fees, the private jet share model comes with significant upfront acquisition and monthly operational costs. Fractional ownership can be the most expensive private jet share model because it closely replicates outright ownership and involves acquiring a portion of an aircraft. Additionally, although it’s possible to sell fractional shares back to the program provider, these shares tend to depreciate more due to their high level of annual utilization, resulting in lower residual values.

    Membership and Jet Card Programs
    Membership and jet card programs, though often lumped in the same category, are structurally unique. With a membership program, you agree to a fixed cost per hour at the start of the contract and are billed after each flight. You’re also often subjected to either monthly management or annual membership fees. There are two types of jet card programs: a dedicated service with a predetermined number of hours on a specific aircraft type or size category, and a debit card service that enables you to fund an established travel account and select the aircraft category on a trip-by-trip basis with agreed-to hourly rates. For the debit card program, the cost of the trip is calculated after the completion of your trip and deducted from your card program balance.

    Unlike fractional ownership, which operates under FAA Part 91K regulations, membership and jet card programs are purchased through a variety of companies that may or may not have a direct ownership and operate under Part 135 regulations. When evaluating various programs, make sure you understand the relationship between the program provider and the aircraft you intend to utilize. Membership and jet card programs are often better suited for individuals interested in a short-term commitment and require a much lower investment than fractional ownership. Membership and jet card programs can be appealing because they come at a fixed rate, so there’s no need to negotiate the price for each flight.

    One of the drawbacks to membership and jet card programs is that there’s often a longer advance notice requirement to schedule an aircraft. This is less of an issue if you’re the kind of traveler who books their trips well in advance but can be challenging if you often make last-minute travel arrangements, especially during peak periods such as holidays. Membership and jet card programs can also come with additional fees, such as repositioning fees, and the total cost of your trip might include taxi time as well as flight time.

    Private Jet Chartering
    Private jet chartering is an on-demand service that enables you to compare pricing and amenities for various aircraft types and book the one that best meets your travel needs in much the same way as you’d book a seat on a commercial flight. Those interested in chartering a private jet have the option of working with a charter operator or a charter broker, though it’s best practice to work with a private aviation consultant before considering either option. Like membership and jet card programs, this option can be well-suited for those looking for a short-term commitment.

    Chartering is the most popular private aviation option due to the fact that it doesn’t require a significant capital cost upfront or fixed costs that contribute to maintenance and staff salaries — all you have to pay for is the utilization of the aircraft on a trip-by-trip basis. What you save on cost with chartering, however, you may need to trade for non-guaranteed availability and some due-diligence of the provider. It can sometimes be challenging to find an aircraft that meets both your specific needs and your schedule, so you might be forced to choose between one or the other.

    Private Jet Share Models: A Breakdown

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This article was originally published by Essex Aviation Group on their blog.  

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Time for a New Aircraft - or Not? see more

    NAFA member, Lee Rohde, Founder, President and CEO of Essex Aviation, writes about what to consider when your aircraft needs change.

    Perhaps your travel mission recently has changed, and you’ll be flying to new destinations. Or you’re interested in having more cabin space, amenities, and upgrades. Maybe the lease on your current aircraft is coming up for renewal and you want to be sure you’re using the most appropriate aircraft. Or your aircraft is fully depreciated and there are tax considerations to your continued ownership.

    Is buying a new aircraft your only – or the best – option for you? Today’s business aviation market offers current aircraft owners a broad range of options to meet those evolving needs. Here are three different avenues to consider:

    ONE: Upgrade or Refurbish Your Existing Aircraft

    The first option is to refurbish the interior and exterior of your current aircraft while also considering upgrades to meet your new mission or regulatory requirements (see “Time Flies …Will Your Aircraft? BAA January/February 2018). This option offers the obvious benefits of not having to go through the search, inspection, and purchase process inherent in buying a new aircraft. It also reduces the unknowns, since you are familiar with and know the history of the aircraft you currently own. The downside is that you will have to take your aircraft out of service while the refurbishment and/or upgrades are completed. You’ll have to weigh the costs of the refurbishment and/or upgrades coupled with the costs to use alternative lift while the work is being completed.

    Depending on your mission requirements, typical upgrades to consider would include but are not limited to:

    • Avionics upgrades
    • FANS/ADS-B Compliance
    • Enhanced Vision Systems
    • Cabin Management Systems
    • In-Flight Connectivity and Entertainment Systems
    • Galley Layout and Equipment

    Interior and exterior aircraft refurbishment can involve all or some of the following:

    • Exterior Paint
    • Floor plan Modifications
    • Seating Design and Upholstery
    • Cabinetry Veneer
    • Carpet
    • Headliner and Sidewall Covering
    • Improved Lighting

    Upgrading and/or refurbishing your existing aircraft is usually recommended if you plan to keep your aircraft for at least four or five more years. If you’re thinking of selling sooner than that, work with your aviation advisor to consider which upgrades will help with the aircraft’s resale value and marketability, and which probably would not provide a substantial return.

    TWO: Supplement Your Existing Aircraft

    Another option is to keep your current aircraft and supplement it with an additional asset — such as charter, fractional ownership, or a membership or card program. This option can be an ideal combination if you enjoy your current aircraft but have encountered additional travel requirements that it is not best suited to support.

    For example, perhaps you currently own a large cabin aircraft and need to make regular short trips throughout the Northeast, to Long Island, or to one of the several island destinations during the summer months. That may be much more aircraft than is needed and not cost effective given the short distances to be flown. In many cases, using a fractional share, charter, or membership/card program for these trips can be more efficient, and frees up your aircraft for other travel. Some options for supplemental, alternative lift are:

    Charter

    When you charter an aircraft, you are essentially renting the aircraft for a certain mission and period of time. Charter is best for quick trips since you’ll keep the plane with you for the duration of the trip, and the aircraft is exclusively available to you. If you are traveling for a two-week vacation and plan only to use the plane to get you there and back, retaining the chartered aircraft can be expensive compared to other options. One of the benefits of chartering is schedule flexibility, which normally allows you to change your travel plans as needed.

    Fractional Ownership

    With fractional ownership, you are either purchasing or leasing a share and percentage of allotted flight time in a specific aircraft type. Typically, fractional programs require a minimum of 50 hours per year to participate. Fractional ownership does not offer as much flexibility in terms of scheduling change as does charter. Fractional shares can be beneficial if you plan to stay at your destination for a longer period of time, since you pay only for the occupied flight time you use, albeit at a higher per hour cost than for occupied round trip charter.

    Membership/Card Programs

    Membership/Card Programs are ideal if you don’t need to fly frequently during the year, and if you appreciate flexibility in the aircraft available for each trip. On these programs, you typically will be required to use a minimum of 25 hours per year. When evaluating these programs, it is critical to understand how each provider sources its aircraft and the safety ratings of the operators they use, as well as the terms and conditions of the funds being put on the account.

    THREE: Replace Your Existing Aircraft

    You also may choose to replace your existing aircraft altogether. For example, if your destinations have changed and you need an aircraft capable of landing on shorter runways, you need a larger aircraft to travel internationally, you want to stop less frequently to refuel on longer flights, or you just need more room for more passengers.

    As you think about replacement, you will need to consider several questions, including but not limited to:

    • How will you be using the aircraft? For business or personal use, or a combination of both?
    • How many trips do you take annually? What is the average duration?
    • Do you travel to airports with runway restrictions or that are limited to certain size/performance aircraft?
    • For how many passengers do you need seating?
    • Is international travel anticipated? If so, where and how often?
    • Do you want a cabin with stand-up headroom?
    • How many and what type of sleeping locations do you desire?
    • Do you carry a lot of baggage or other equipment when you travel?

    You also will have to decide whether you want to buy a new or pre-owned aircraft. Purchasing a new aircraft will allow you to fully customize it, but will require a longer time for final delivery. Or you could acquire a “white tail,” which is an aircraft that has already been built and completed, but whose original purchaser failed to take delivery. While you don’t have the same ability to customize, you’ll benefit from a much quicker final delivery and entry into service. A pre-owned aircraft also offers you the option, if desired, to refurbish or upgrade the aircraft to meet your needs.

    If your mission requirements have changed or you anticipate a near term change, consider all the options. An unbiased aviation consultant or advisor, not affiliated with a specific operator or third-party provider, can help you evaluate your options and offer recommendations based on your current and future travel needs.

    The original article was published in Business Aviation Advisor on March 1, 2018. 

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    It's common for people to misunderstand the differences between co-ownership vs fractional ownership see more

    NAFA member, Adam Meredith with AOPA Aviation Finance shares the differences between co-ownership and fractional ownership. 

    CO-OWNERSHIP

    Co-ownership is frequently what people mean when asking about fractional ownership.  If you are looking to purchase an aircraft with multiple partners, this is more commonly regarded as a partnership loan. The good news here is that there’s a lot more financing options. Lenders are comfortable financing partnerships with up to four members using standard loan structures amortized up to 20 years. Beyond four members, lenders will typically only find comfort if the partnership is operating as a flying club. We have plenty of flying club options as well, however, those typically require a larger down payment and a shorter amortization.

    FRACTIONAL OWNERSHIP 

    Fractional ownership, where there’s a fractional management provider like NetJets or Planesense and the company flies and maintains your “share” of the aircraft, have very limited financing options. The reason for this is that lenders are rarely able to fully secure their collateral interest in these loans. Also, making things challenging is they must assess both your personal financial situation as well as the financial health of the fractional operator. 

    For the strongest fractional providers there are some options, however, financing is limited and you can expect terms of no more than five years. As an aside, if you anticipate flying more than 25 hours annually, fractional ownership can be a very cost-effective way to gain access to larger aircraft…just don’t expect to be able to fly the plane!

    This article was originally published by AOPA Aviation Finance Company on September 6, 2018.