Richard Santulli announced today the launch of a new business jet and helicopter leasing company, Milestone Aviation Group, headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. Santulli in the mid-1980s founded fractional share company NetJets, which was sold in 1998 to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Santulli left that company last year. He is now chairman of Milestone.
Berkshire Hathaway’s most recent quarterly financial report notes that revenues at its NetJets subsidiary grew by 18 percent compared with the first quarter of 2009, generating positive pre-tax earnings of $57 million in the first quarter versus a pre-tax loss of $96 million in the same period last year.
Individually last year there was no taller toppling in business aviation than that of NetJets founder and chairman Richard Santulli, who on August 4 announced his resignation from the fractional company he had been building since he acquired Executive Jet Aviation in 1984.
Fractional ownership of private aircraft seems to be a struggling business model in North America and Europe but it’s alive and well in this part of the world, according to NetJets Middle East (NJME). The company, which is owned by Saudi Arabia’s National Air Service and is affiliated to U.S.-based NetJets Inc.
At the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) Aviation Business Roundtable Monday and Tuesday, more than 65 aviation business leaders shared their concerns about critical issues with FAA, DOT and TSA leaders and political, policy and financial experts.
Revenues at NetJets, Berkshire Hathaway’s fractional jet share company, dropped $471 million (41 percent) in the third quarter of 2009 and $1.495 billion (42 percent) for the first nine months of 2009, compared with 2008 results, according to the parent company’s November 6 quarterly report. The decline in revenues stems from a 79-percent drop in aircraft sales, according to the report, and a 24-percent reduction in flight revenue hours.
New NetJets chairman and interim CEO David Sokol has begun making changes at NetJets Europe, appointing a new boss to run the business and implement job cuts at its headquarters. Eric Connor has been appointed the new CEO and chairman of NetJets Europe following the October 4 resignation of CEO William Kelly “to pursue his own interests.”
Marquis Jet’s Randy Brandoff said his jet card company is well positioned to take advantage of the shifting sands of the corporate jet market. Brandoff, the newly appointed executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Marquis Jet (Booth No. 291), said the company’s business is down slightly for the year, but demand is actually on the rebound.
The fractional share marketplace is changing rapidly in response to the lengthy global recession. While most fractional operators already reduced staffing levels to match lower levels of customer activity, it wasn’t until September 11 that NetJets announced layoffs of 350 nonunion employees.
New NetJets chairman and interim CEO David Sokol has begun making changes at NetJets Europe, appointing a new boss to run the business and implement job cuts at the division’s headquarters in Lisbon, Portugal.