Forbes Article: The Truth About Aircraft Ownership

As the leader in private aviation for 50+ years, NetJets knows the advantages of shared ownership far outweigh the added cost, effort, and uncertainty that are the reality of whole aircraft ownership. However, there are many misconceptions that may lead you to believe otherwise. To help you evaluate your private travel investment, we’re presenting the most common myths regarding whole aircraft ownership—and the truth behind each one.

Myth #1: “It costs less to own my own plane than to participate in shared ownership.”

The Reality: If you fly fewer than 300 hours per year, whole aircraft ownership is not a sound business investment.1

“Whole aircraft ownership can cost as much as three times the amount, per hour, of shared ownership. Also, operating costs, both fixed and variable, can fluctuate year over year, making total spend difficult to budget. Meanwhile, with NetJets, all costs are known upfront.” — Pat Gallagher, Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing, NetJets

Cost Breakdown:

  • Most cost evaluations do not account for depreciation

  • Variable costs for maintaining and operating a private plane are considerable

  • Even fixed costs can be difficult to estimate. For example, the fixed annual costs for a Midsize Cabin Aircraft were estimated by JETNET to be $599,550 and estimated by Conklin & de Decker to be $460,000; however, the actual total fixed annual costs reported by Executive Jet Management were $1.2M

Myth #2: “I have freedom with my own aircraft.”

The Reality: Owning your own aircraft means you’re managing a business unit.

Additional Investments:

Whether a single plane or a fleet, time and money are invested in:

  • The hiring/firing and retention of pilots and crew through the current pilot shortage2

  • The scheduling of maintenance and operations as well as the costs and inconvenience of unplanned incidents

  • Ensuring audit and regulatory schedules are adhered to

  • Managing the legal responsibilities associated with owning your own aircraft

  • Procuring alternative travel options during scheduled maintenance events

“With NetJets, you’ll never have to hire a staff or crew, pay for maintenance or hangars, or negotiate fuel costs. We’ll take care of all of that, and more, so you don’t have to.” —Alan Bobo, Executive Vice President, Flight Operations, NetJets

Myth #3: “I can go anywhere I want, any time I want.”

The Reality: When you have one aircraft, you fly on its schedule.

“With minimal notice, NetJets can get you anywhere in the world. We put your schedule first and do everything possible to get you to your destination as quickly as possible. And we do it all while striving to exceed your every expectation.” — Diana Oreck, Executive Vice President, Owner Experience, NetJets

Operational + Logistical Needs:

  • Aircraft are typically down for at least one week per year for regularly scheduled maintenance, with any unscheduled maintenance in addition to that. Most aircraft typically have even larger inspections that occur every few years, which can result in multiple weeks of downtime

  • Crew vacation and sick days result in more downtime and/or reliance upon contracted crew members

  • If you’re sharing your aircraft, there will be inevitable scheduling issues

  • Depending on the size of your aircraft, you may not have the range or capacity to fly where you need to go

  • Not all aircraft can fly into all airports

  • Unscheduled maintenance leads to interrupted travel or traveling via a questionable charter operator, unless you have a Supplemental Lift Program arrangement in place

  • In business, aircraft downtime means missed meetings, lost opportunities, and, in some cases, lost business

Myth #4: “If I ever change my mind, I can just sell my plane.”

The Reality: Selling certain aircraft types, especially older ones, can be difficult.

“As a NetJets Owner, your investment is completely secure and your liquidity is guaranteed, now and into the future. It’s simply the smartest way to own.” — Adam Johnson, Chairman & CEO, NetJets

Marketplace Challenges:

There is overcapacity in the marketplace—decreasing the residual value of planes:

  • Sale price should account for brokerage fees, inspection, and refurbishment

  • At NetJets, if at any point after three years you choose to opt out of our ownership program, we will buy back your share

Myth #5: “I’ll use my plane all the time.”

The Reality: On average, 80% of privately owned aircraft go underutilized.3

“When you own a jet, you may become frustrated with limited seating—and flying an aircraft that’s too big is simply wasted capital. But with NetJets, you’ll choose the aircraft that fits your mission—from a variety of aircraft types across four cabin classes.” —Doug Henneberry, Executive Vice President, Aircraft Asset Management, NetJets

Benefits of Shared Ownership:

  • With NetJets, efficiency is key. You only buy what you need. Share prices and fixed costs are scaled to match the number of flight hours you plan to use, freeing up capital for other investments

  • You’ll only pay for the time you’re on your aircraft—not for repositioning

  • With access to a fleet of approximately 700 aircraft,4you can upgrade or downgrade if necessary to accommodate your travel needs

Myth #6: “Flying privately ensures privacy”

  • Private aviation has long been used by companies and individuals who wish to travel discreetly as whole aircraft owners are not required to make their aircraft trackable, but once the ADS-B mandate goes into effect on January 1, 2020, this luxury will be gone

  • As NetJets tail numbers are never directly associated with the passengers on board a given flight, anonymity and discretion are still possible even after the mandate goes into effect, which may be a significant advantage to those who utilize private aviation for business use

Whole Aircraft Ownership vs. NetJets

From safety standards and accessibility to cost and liquidity, there are significant differences between owning a whole aircraft and NetJets’ shared ownership model.

Learn more with NetJets’ online comparison chart. Or contact a private aviation expert today at 866-JET-0059.


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