State of the Airlines

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The NetJets Solution

There's an interesting flying opportunity for the business traveller called fractional ownership. The idea is that businesses, even smaller ones, that have extensive travel needs can afford to buy into a piece of a business jet to support their travel needs. The payback is on the flexibility side. Flights where you want when you want them on a fast aircraft at a fixed cost.

Its not a new idea but, until now, it has been one that seemed to be reserved for larger businesses. But the idea may be coming of age due to a combination of events in the airline industry. Consider that:
  • Airlines continue to drop destinations and reduce flight frequency. This makes it harder to get where you need to be, especially without a connection. More travel time equals less productivity time. It may also mean that you now have to stay over night, another expense, more lost productive time.

  • Ticket prices continue to climb, especially the no restrictions type often preferred by business flyers

  • The perks that business flyers feed on are drying up

  • Inflight services and amenities continue to be removed or provided at cost, in other words flying isn't as pleasant as it used to be

  • Hassles at airports are at an all time high

  • Carry on baggage?...oh my

  • Against this companies like NetJets offer up a fast clean private jet that will fly you where you want to go when you want to go. No extra connections, no extra over night stays. They guarantee availability. Need to change your plans, they can do that. Need to have a meeting with your travel partners inflight, no problem. These operators will bypass the main terminals in favor of smaller business jet terminals. Sometimes they will even bypass main airports in favor of less crowded regional airports. Hand your baggage off as you get on the aircraft, pick it up as you leave. One can see how this might start to look pretty attractive as a package even if the cost is higher than traditional airlines. If the cost of flying traditional airlines continues to increase then it may make sense on cost alone. Its a trend worth watching.

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