Russell Geyser, founder and managing member of Encinitas,CA-based Geyser Holdings, raves about his Flight Options Legacy.“I never enjoyed travel until now,” he says.
Geyser, whose real estate syndication firm specializes in large commercial acquisitions, has properties stretching from Florida to Hawaii.“The plane gives me the ability to be anywhere and back with no more than one night away,” he says.Take, for example, his recent day trip to Yuma,Ariz., and Las Cruces, N.M.“I had nine people that needed to see multiple properties,” says Geyser,“and I only had one day to do it.”
Geyser’s typical trips are one- to two-hour flights, so the freedom to set his own departure time, reach his destination, complete his work and return home in minimal time is golden.“I am five minutes from the airport.We roll up to the plane, get on board and go,” he says.
Not surprisingly, that level of travel convenience has generated considerable revenue.“I had a meeting in Las Vegas that I never would have attended if I had to fly commercially,” says Geyser.“But I thought, I have [the plane] and this is a good opportunity. It was a very profitable deal — one I never would have made had we not been together face-to-face.” And it’s not just the getting there but the en route time that’s invaluable, says Geyser.“I had 45 uninterrupted minutes with my client, and we were able to develop a business relationship that I would not have been able to otherwise.”
High-Flying Options Fit Everyone's Needs
Real estate investor Russell Geyser found his fractional share in a Flight Options Embraer Legacy. With its large cabin and midsize acquisition and operating cost, the Embraer Legacy resolved his frequent shortrange travel dilemma. “It was the perfect answer,” he says.
Flight Options offers fractional shares in the small-cabin Hawker 400XP, the midsize Hawker 800XP, the Cessna Citation X and the unique Embraer Legacy. And though the newly streamlined fleet includes the most enduringly popular models, it’s the company’s innovative programs that have led to unprecedented success and highest-ever levels of owner satisfaction.
Flight Options significantly enhanced the fractional ownership model with “Fractional First,” which affords owners the flexibility to use from 80% to 120% of total contract hours within the life of the agreement while only paying management fees on hours flown.“We found that owners are hard-pressed to utilize their exact number of contract hours,” says CEO Michael Scheeringa. “Fractional First eliminates that pressure.” In addition, taxi time (although charged for each flight) is no longer deducted from annual hour allocations; long flights qualify for discounts; and fuel charges are at cost. The “Departure Options” program offers economic incentives in exchange for greater flexibility with departure times.
Focused on providing increased value for customers and owners, Scheeringa recently announced yet another new product,“Fractional Interchange Management,” which allows owners to purchase a whole plane exactly like those in the Flight Options fleet while retaining all the unique fractional ownership advantages, including anytime, anywhere access with no repositioning charges. And when others use your plane, you receive revenues that offset ownership costs.
Flight Options also offers traditional management services for aircraft flown exclusively for owners as well as ad hoc charter. “By participating in each major element of the forhire business jet market, we are able to constantly roll out new, relevant products for our diverse customer base,” says Scheeringa.
For additional savings, the “Jet-PASS Ultimate” jet card, sold in fixed-dollar amounts, offers deep discounts for off-peak travel. Customers can choose from any small-, midsize- or large-cabin jet in the fleet.
Shorter Trips, Big Savings
With its fleet of small to midsize Cessna jets, including the Cessna CJ3, Citation Bravo and XLS and the larger-cabin, transcontinental-range Sovereign, CitationShares can offer some impressive economy for owners, particularly for those who travel under 1,500 miles or to small, rural airfields.
Last year, CitationShares introduced “Citelines,” an innovative cost-saving variation on the traditional fractional ownership model that simplifies budgeting by rolling all management charges and hourly operating expenses into a single annual fee. Citelines also adds four new pricing levels, which reflect increasingly greater savings when owners choose to fly on non-peak days.
Additional cost savings are also possible with programs like “Preferred Positioning,” which enables owners to utilize normally empty repositioning flights at reduced rates and with no impact on contract hours; “Caribbean Express,”which eliminates repositioning fees for flights to the Caribbean on select days; and “Value Plus,” through which owners can purchase incremental flight hours in any fleet aircraft at special rates.
Colorado-based real estate marketer Stuart Harelik loves the savings, but he’s particularly impressed with the care and attention his CitationShares service team provides. If inclement weather is forecast, he says, “Citation- Shares often brings the airplane the night before so we can depart on time the next day.”
With only a 20-hour minimum, CitationShares’ “Vector JetCard,” available in all four aircraft, is one of the most affordable jet cards on the market. And with one single, all-inclusive fee, it makes acquiring business jet benefits simple and fast. “It definitely gave me enough experience with CitationShares to know [fractional ownership] was the way I wanted to go,” says Harelik.
Combo cards allow users to split time between two aircraft, and a new high-value Non-Peak Vector JetCard credits extra flight time when clients travel off-peak.
“In my opinion,” says Steve Shepard, Avantair fractional owner and managing director of M Benefit Solutions, “if you are flying on a regional basis, the Piaggio Avanti (Avantair’s twin turboprop) is about the most efficient way to get there, and it’s also extremely comfortable.”
Publicly traded Avantair is the exclusive fractional provider of the Avanti and is unique in terms of its program and its aircraft. The Avanti twin turboprop features an avant-garde design, a stand-up cabin as large as that of a midsize jet, speeds faster than those of many light jets, and the ability to climb to 41,000 feet, well above air traffic and weather. In addition, the Avanti’s stellar short-field capability enables access to hundreds of additional airports that jets can’t utilize. But the most astonishing feature is the Avanti’s 30% improvement in fuel efficiency over other jets in its class, points out Avantair CEO Steven Santo.
Now the company has taken another bold step as the first fractional provider to offer shares in Embraer’s new Phenom 100 very light jet. With its spacious, BMW-designed cabin, complete with an enclosed lavatory, the Phenom is more comfortable than other light jets but comes with a much smaller price tag.
People always want to maximize the return on their investment, and I think, in that regard, nobody can argue with Avantair value,” says Santo. After five years in the program, one owner recently recaptured 100% of the airplane’s initial cost. Owners are also attracted to the Avantairpioneered billing idea, which makes for simple budgeting by reducing all costs to a single, fixed monthly payment with no separate hourly charges.
In another big move, Avantair recently announced the launch of its first jet card, the “Edge Card.”The new jet card is available in 25-hour increments, and according to Santo, sales are soaring. It’s a testimonial to Avantair service and efficiency, he says. In the short period of time that the card has been available, roughly 25% of cardholders have already made the switch to Avantair fractional ownership.
IMI Partners, LLC
Stuart Harelik has been on 13 international expeditions to scale some of the world’s biggest mountains,
but it’s the Rockies in his home state that have posed the greatest challenge.As president and managing general partner of real estate marketing firm IMI Partners, LLC, Harelik commutes from Steamboat Springs, Colo., to company headquarters in Las Vegas.Treacherous winter weather often made the road journey and airline flight a solid seven-hour ordeal. But these days, Harelik enjoys it,because CitationShares transforms the trip to under two hours door-to-door.
Now, Harelik also takes key employees when he visits sales offices in Colorado,Texas or Florida, goes to a convention or assesses an acquisition, knowing he’s saving their time as well as enhancing the value of the trip. On one trip to scout a potential acquisition hidden away in the California Sierras, Harelik and a small group left in the morning and were back for lunch. Without the jet, he says,“I probably wouldn’t have gone because of the productive time lost taking five people out of operation for a day.” Having his own plane, he says,“makes opportunities available that we would otherwise abandon.” He also loves the service.“We walk off the plane, the car’s waiting and the luggage is loaded.” It makes traveling fun again, he says, and it’s added a fresh dimension to his life.