There are several providers of fractional light jet programs and between them these providers offer a variety of aircraft. Here's an overview and comparison of some of the key aspects of the programs.
If you fly by private jet:
- more than 50 hours a year and
- you typically fly on your own or with just a handful of people and
- your flights are typically 1,500 miles or less,
then fractional ownership of a light jet may make sense for you or your company. With fractional ownership, you'll have part ownership in a jet and will be allocated a percentage of time in the aircraft. Since you own an asset, fractions can make more financial sense in situations where you can financially utilize the depreciation. Fractional shares generally range between 50 (1/16 share) - 400 (1/2 share) hours of usage per year.
In the larger programs, with big fleets, fractional owners may rarely fly on their own plane each time. Instead, the fleet managers will provide you with the plane that is currently closest to your location.
Members generally buy their fractional percentage in one type of plane, so fractional ownership is best for those who typically need the same size plane for their travels. However, some programs will allow you to use a larger or smaller aircraft, to fit the needs of a specific trip. Most fractional programs have a duration of five years after which owners can sell their percentage back to the operating company at the current market price. Fractional programs base their percentages on 800 hours of usage per year, so a 1/8 percentage will give you 100 hours while a 1/2 percentage will give you 400 hours. The smallest share is typically 1/16, or 50 hours per year. Executive Airshare is unusual in that its program is day based, so a 1/16 share is equal to 20 days of use.
As a fractional owner, an aircraft can generally be ready for you with as little as 4-6 hours notice. However during peak days, the reservation period increases and can be around 48 hours or more. It's always best to make those reservations as early as possible. This article covers peak days on jet cards which have similar rules.
When purchasing fractional ownership of a private light jet, you'll be presented with several documents that you'll need to sign. These include:
Binder/Deposit: This agreement should include a firm delivery date of the fractional share, as well as the guaranteed pricing information.
Purchase Agreement: The purchase agreement includes the resale terms, warranties, and the condition of the aircraft.
Master Dry Lease Exchange Agreement: Because owners typically fly on a number of different planes during their five-year ownership, this agreement documents the relationship between all owners of the entire fleet.
Management Agreement: The management agreement lists important operating information, including costs, how flight time will be calculated, when you can fly, how many hours you have, the service area covered, and peak times.
More details on these fractional aircraft documents are here.
Here are the light jets you can expect to find through the largest fractional programs:
|Flight Options||Flexjet||Exec Airshare|
|Cessna Citation Encore+/Encore||X|
|Cessna Citation CJ2+||X|
|Cessna Citation XLS/Excel||X|
|Embraer Phenom 100||X|
|Embraer Phenom 300||X||X||X|
When choosing the light jet that's best for you, you'll want to compare the features. Here's how some of the key features of each aircraft stack up:
|Cessna Citation Encore+/Encore||1,940||7||480||69|
|Cessna Citation CJ2+||1,613||6||481||65|
|Cessna Citation XLS/Excel||2,004||7||480||79|
|Embraer Phenom 100||1,300||4 (optional 5th)||437||55|
|Embraer Phenom 300||2,268||7||495||76|
In most fractional programs the costs can be broken down into four categories:
An initial capital fee or acquisition cost: based on the share size and aircraft type. You will also get some of this back when your share is sold at the end of the agreement. At Flight Options a 1/16 share in a Phenom 300 is currently $562,500. At Executive Airshare a 1/16 share in a Citation CJ2+ is $370,000.
Monthly management fee: covers the indirect operating costs such as pilot salaries, training, insurance, hangar, and support. The Flight Options Phenom 300 costs $8,800 a month, the Exec Airshare CJ2+ is $4,500 a month.
Occupied hourly fee: covers the direct operating costs such as fuel, maintenance, standard catering and landing fees. Time is typically billed from wheels up to wheels down, plus six minutes of taxi time at the beginning and end of each flight. The Flight Options Phenom 300 costs $1,905 per hour, the Exec Airshare CJ2+ is $1,835 per hour.
Other fees: include fuel surcharge fee, Federal Excise Tax (at 7.5% if applicable), any international fees and any requested ground transportation.
Over the course of a 5 year fractional agreement the total net costs for 1/16 share of a Phenom 300 would be in the region of $1.3m. In particular the costs will depend on the price of fuel over the five years and the resale value of the aircraft at the end of the agreement.