Fractional operator Flight Options has launched Global Access, an overseas travel program using a fleet of nearly 100 charter aircraft accessible to the company’s aircraft owners to provide a seamless travel experience in Europe and Asia. Global Access does not require travelers to purchase a block of hours, buy a share, pay monthly management fees or place a deposit. Instead, pricing is based on aircraft category and trip itinerary.
Ever since the FAA issued its final rule on “Regulation of Fractional Aircraft Ownership Programs and On-demand Operations” known as Part 91, Subpart K [which took effect in the U.S. in February–Ed.] in September 2003, business aviation associations on both sides of the Atlantic have been trying to harmonize regulatory standards for fractional ownership operations.
Cleveland-based fractional operator Flight Options is now offering an optional extended service program for new owners that covers flights to Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. Another new option includes applying part of the cost of the company’s JetPass card toward the purchase of a fractional share.
Holders of the Marquis Jet Card will have new restrictions that will require they book flights farther in advance during peak travel times. Also, starting June 1, cards must be purchased 60 days in advance of a peak travel period to fly during that period. Card holders will also no longer be guaranteed their subscribed airplane model, but only one in its size group during peak travel days.
All of the major providers have jet-card programs: NetJets has Marquis, Flight Options has JetPass, CitationShares has Vector and Flexjet has Premier Fleet. It should be noted that the Marquis program is unique among the card programs because it is run by an outside party that buys shares in NetJets aircraft and resells blocks of time in them. The other three fractional providers administer their respective jet-card programs themselves.
Although it is approaching its 20th birthday, the fractional aircraft industry is still very much mired in adolescence. It’s come a long way since NetJets chairman Richard Santulli invented the concept of fractional ownership and launched his program in 1986, but the industry still has a long uphill road ahead.
Charter operator Delta AirElite is offering a 10-hour Fleet Membership program through September 30. Pricing for the new program, called Perfect 10, starts at $41,400 for 10 hours in the light jet category, $59,900 for a midsize aircraft and $102,900 for a large aircraft. The program guarantees aircraft availability with 12 hours’ notice, and members can fly all or a portion of their hours as one-way flights.
Fractional provider CitationShares recently announced three new programs for its customers. Preferred Positioning lets customers book and purchase–at a steep discount–positioning (deadhead) flights on fractional aircraft. Caribbean Express enables CitationShares’ fractional owners to travel to the Caribbean and Costa Rica without incurring repositioning fees on Saturday trips that fall within designated four-hour windows.
Delta AirElite, the business aircraft charter division of Delta Air Lines, this summer introduced a revenue guarantee for aircraft owners who are accepted for enrollment in the company’s aircraft-management program. The company offers new management clients flight-hour guarantees ranging from 200 to 500 hours annually for select aircraft.
The U.S. DOT’s unwillingness to ease unpopular restrictions on foreign charter operators flying into the U.S. is jeopardizing moves on the other side of the Atlantic to reform rules covering fractional ownership.