This new days-based fractional ownership program is aimed at high-utilization large cabin customers. The Flexjet program will start with two home bases, New York City and London, which are the financial capitals of the world and two of the most popular business and personal travel destinations.
The Gulfstream G650 is a 7,000 nm long-range business jet with seating for up to 15. At Flexjet, the G650 is part of their Red Label program, which features a young fleet, flight crews dedicated to a single, specific aircraft, and custom LXi cabin interiors.
“When the traditional fractional program was created 35 years ago, customers purchased hours for segments that were approximately two-hour trips. In our new program, we have changed the primary currency of hours to a days-based model that is much more consistent with traditional whole aircraft ownership,” said Flexjet Chief Executive Officer Michael Silvestro. “In today’s business world, international travel is in demand, which led to this creative approach.”
SherpaReport reached out to Clay Wilcox, Vice President Sales at Flexjet, to find out more about this interesting new fractional ownership program. Here are the questions we had for Clay and his answers:
Q. What is the benefit over a traditional hours-based approach? What are share sizes in terms of days compared to hours?
A. Traditional fractional, hours-based programs are still preferred for the light to super-mid-sized aircraft. Those aircraft have shorter mission profiles and since they typically travel domestically, fractional remains the best model for them. However, the Gulfstream G650 can circumvent the globe with just one stop and when the fractional model was created, flight durations that long weren’t possible.
So Flexjet developed World Access, a revolutionary shared ownership program for this ultra-long-range aircraft. When you acquire this aircraft, the majority of your costs lie in the acquisition of the asset instead of day-to-day costs. The further you fly, the lower the costs. And with this days-based program, you have the potential to yield 50 percent or more travel hours than a traditional hours-based program.
The world is your service area and you can enjoy the benefits of a shared ownership without restrictions on the hours you can fly in a day - while having the option to keep the aircraft during the entire trip, unlike the fractional model. A quarter share in World Access is 75 days versus a quarter share in traditional hours-based fractional ownership, which is 200 hours per year.
Example Demonstrating Days-Based Benefit to an Owner:
Over a four-day period, an Owner needs to go on a round-trip mission from Teterboro to Europe, making several stops for meetings. Overall, the trip requires about 20 hours of flight time.
Under a traditional quarter-share, hours-based fractional program, an Owner would use 20 of their allotted 200 hours for the year, or 10% of the annual allocation.
Alternatively, with World Access, that same trip consumes four of their allotted 75 days or just over 5%.
Q. What about occupied hourly fees, how do they work or is there a flat daily usage fee?
A. There is no minimum day rate in World Access. The Owners secured their 75 days when they purchased into the program. Owners are simply charged for the hours they fly – and that cost is very close to the direct hourly operating cost of the G650. The days that Owners utilize the aircraft are the days that are counted in their 75-day share.
World Access Owners have the flexibility of flying as many hours in a day as they wish, while complying with crew duty parameters. Flexjet has crew rest capability to have additional crew members on board as needed, given the mission.
Q. Any restrictions on service areas or where you can go?
A. With the World Access Program, the world is your service area. Every destination is possible.
Q. Who is the market segment that this program appeals to?
A. There are three market segments that the World Access program will appeal to:
- Whole aircraft owners interested in supplementing their international travel.
- Corporate flight departments looking to supplement their fleet in a smarter, more thoughtful capital deployment.
- Fractional Owners with high international utilization.
Q. How many aircraft are in the program?
A. Flexjet operates four G650s with plans to exponentially grow our fleet in the next 1-3 years. In addition, as the launch customer for Aerion’s AS2 supersonic jet, Flexjet could naturally fit the AS2 into this program.
Q. Are the aircraft just based in London and New York?
A. As we thought about launching this program, it made complete sense to focus on the two financial centers of the world – New York and London. With so many Fortune 500 companies based in these cities and the high concentration of Ultra High Net Worth Individuals, we felt there was no better place than these two cities. As this program gains popularity, there are plans to expand the program to the west coast of the United States as well as the Middle East and Asia.
While Flexjet haven’t shared the exact pricing, the list price on a new G650 is around $66m. So expect to pay about $16m-$17m for a 75 day quarter share.
As both Clay Wilcox and Mike Silvestro noted above, most other fractional aircraft ownership programs are hourly based programs. With the typical structure starting at 50 hours per year of flying time for a 1/16 ownership. The only other major fractional provider that offers a day based program is AirShare which offers ownership in the Phenom 100 and 300 light jets, and has bases in the center of the US.