Tag Archives: NetJets

NetJets Gives Up On China, For Now

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Berkshire Hathaway’s NetJets has scrapped expanding to China, at least for now.

NetJet’s had a small presence in the country through its China subsidiary, NetJets Business Aviation (Zhuhai), which also had Hony Jinsi Investment Management Ltd., and Fung Investments as stakeholders.

NetJet’s push into the China market began in 2014 when it received its Chinese Air Operator’s Certificate. It got its toe into the China market flying two Hawker 800s , but demand for fractional ownership has been weak from the outset.

“We still foresee tremendous long-term opportunities for business aviation, however, current economic and operating conditions are not yet ideal for business expansion,” NetJets said in a statement. “NetJets’ customers will continue to enjoy private aircraft travel to and from China and other Asian countries using aircraft from our programs in the US and Europe.”

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

NetJets Partners with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport

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Berkshire Hathaway’s NetJets, the worldwide leader in private aviation, has formed a partnership with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, a Formula One chassis team, based in Brackley, United Kingdom.

NetJets will provide travel for race drivers and team members.

With an expanding race calendar and resulting greater travel burden on both race drivers and team members, the Team has made it a major focus to optimize travel times and improve the efficiency of its logistics as much as possible.

For example, the ‘triple header’ of three consecutive race weekends planned for the 2018 season will present the Team with new logistical challenges. The prospect of gaining back working hours at the factory that would otherwise be spent travelling is a particularly valuable prospect.

“Over the past season, we have been working to optimize every area of our team operations and that includes how we best manage the challenges of race travel,” explained Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport.

“People will automatically think that private aviation means luxury lifestyle – but it has been common practice in Formula One for some time and will provide us with valuable time savings that can then be invested in finding more performance.

“We know that these extra hours can make the difference and also keep the team fresher and fitter as the season goes on. I am delighted that we have been able to transform this work into a partnership with a market leader like NetJets.”

“We share a special kinship with motorsports professionals who thrive at the intersection of speed, safety and innovation,” commented NetJets Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Patrick Gallagher.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

NetJets and Southwest Pilots’ Unions Seek Reversal of Norwegian Air Foreign Carrier Permit

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The Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) in conjunction with the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP) are urging President-elect Trump to reverse the decision to grant Norwegian Air International a foreign carrier permit.

The US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) recent decision came three years after NAI, an Irish subsidiary of Norwegian Air, first applied for a foreign air carrier permit in 2013.

According to the unions, the Obama administrations late-December decision to grant NAI a foreign carrier permit enables NAI to “execute on its flag of convenience (FOC) scheme.” The permit allows for Norwegian to establish an Irish subsidiary in order to take advantage of Ireland’s impotent labor, tax, and social laws.

“The Obama administration has tilted the field of play in favor of a foreign competitor and put thousands of good-paying, middle-class, U.S. aviation jobs at risk. It will be up to the Trump administration to save them,” said SWAPA Governmental Affairs Committee Chair Chip Hancock.

Captain Jon Weaks, SWAPA President, stated, “President-elect Trump was elected on a pro-American worker platform and has already delivered wins for several American companies. It is our sincere desire that the president-elect will right this wrong by repealing this detrimental ruling.”

The DOT has maintained that the United States and European Union’s bilateral agreements leave the agency no basis to reject the permit.

“Regardless of our appreciation of the public policy arguments raised by opponents, we have been advised that the law and our bilateral obligations leave us no avenue to reject this application,” noted the DOT in its final order.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

NetJets Brings Michelin-Starred Chef’s Cuisine to Flyers

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NetJets owners flying from Washington D.C. will have the opportunity to order from menus specially-curated by Michelin-starred chef José Andrés.

Andrés is chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup, and with partner Rob Wilder, is the team responsible for popular dining destinations in Washington DC, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Miami and Puerto Rico. ThinkFoodGroup oversees all of José’s creative endeavors such as cookbooks, television programming, concept consulting and project development.

Andrés was named Outstanding Chef of the Year at the 2011 James Beard Foundation Awards and was named among the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2012.

Recently he was named Dean of the Spanish Studies program at the International Culinary Center.

© 2016 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

NetJets Gets Into Whole-Aircraft Brokerage With New Subsidiary

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NetJets Inc. buys and sells more airplanes than any other private aviation company in the world, and now the fractional ownership pioneer is offering these capabilities to the entire private aviation community through a new, independent subsidiary: QS Partners, a whole-aircraft brokerage and dealership.

QS Partners is dedicated to delivering customized aircraft sales and acquisition services. QS Partners has a global network of resources and expertise that enables the delivery of creative solutions to all corners of the globe.

“By recognizing a growing need from our clients regarding whole-aircraft sales and trades and leveraging NetJets’ global network of resources, QS Partners allows us to offer a valuable service that goes beyond what is traditionally offered by aircraft brokerage services,” said Doug Henneberry, EVP of Aircraft Asset Management at NetJets. “This is a service our customers have asked for, and we’ll extend the uncompromising attention to detail they have come to expect from NetJets to this new venture.”

Whole-aircraft transactions are hardly new territory for NetJets–or for QS Partners. For years the company has assisted aircraft owners looking to transition into a NetJets Share™ or Marquis Jet Card®, or fractional owners looking to supplement with whole aircraft ownership. The company’s aircraft expertise also runs deep; it maintains a fleet of more than 700 jets globally that continuously require refreshing.

“Even though we are a new company, we have the resources, the expertise, the capital strength, and the global presence of NetJets,” said Brian Hirsh, President of QS Partners. “Those four elements set QS Partners apart from almost every other broker dealer.” QS Partners is now the exclusive authorized reseller of NetJets airplanes.

A long-term strategy for QS Partners is to focus on customer-centric service. Every transition is about more than buying or selling an airplane—it’s about developing a relationship and understanding the core of the customers’ objectives and where they want to be. This allows QS Partners to create the best solution, especially with the expertise of John Odegard and Seth Zlotkin, NetJets veterans and industry experts who bring a combined 25 years of aviation sales experience to the team.

In addition to being customer-centric, QS Partners is also a data-driven company with global reach. Fueled with decades of research provided by its parent company, QS Partners has more data, more details, more knowledge of the market, and more understanding of what’s happening in all corners of the world than other companies.

“Data allows us to better guide customers and provide valuable options,” said Hirsh. “We have the resources to facilitate a seamless transaction anywhere around the globe.”

© 2016 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Commentary: Supersonic Business Jets Will Boost Fractional Jet Ownership

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It’s no secret that the fractional jet ownership business has struggled in recent years, with several competitors leaving the market, and the merger of Flexjet and Flight Options. While Berkshire Hathaway’s NetJets is healthy, NetJets Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Patrick Gallagher, noted on AINonline that “We’re growing our market share of a shrinking pie.”

All that may soon change with the coming of a new generation of supersonic business jets, produced by companies such as the Aerion Corporation. The planes will cruise at Mach 1.4, cutting three hours off New York City to Europe, and six hours or more off long Pacific routes.

The planes will give corporate leaders and other high-end travelers a compelling reason to consider fractional ownership.

Even cross-country travel, which draws additional concerns about sonic booms, will be faster. Aerion claims that its Boomless Cruise(sm) flight is feasible at speeds up to Mach 1.2, depending on atmospheric conditions, principally temperature and wind.

The company hopes that the U.S. will adopt International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards, permitting supersonic speeds over the U.S. Supersonic flights are currently prohibited.

Aerion claims that at speeds around Mach 1.2 a “sonic boom would, essentially, dissipate before reaching the ground.”

Another fledgling supersonic business jet manufacturer, Boston-based Spike Aerospace, calls no sonic booms the “holy grail of the next generation of aircraft.” It hopes to have its 18-passenger jets in the market by the early 2020s.

Even before these jets debut, NetJets is focusing on the growth potential of its long-haul business.

NetJets is looking to expand its long-haul business by offering new pricing incentive programs developed for Challenger 350 and Global shareowners.

NetJets hopes to capture a portion of the business that is currently going on commercial airlines or ad hoc charter by providing operational savings on 3.5-plus-hour flights for Challenger 350 shareholders who have purchased a minimum of 50-plus hours (1/16th of a share).

NetJets’ cross-country program is aimed at flyers travelling cross-country or to Europe on a super-midsize airplane like the Challenger 350. Currently, the average NetJets flight time is two hours, and the goal is to increase the number of hours of flight time.

NetJets and the Supersonic Market

The new supersonic business jets will fall into an interesting category of jets that will have a decided advantage over other private jets, but will be too expensive for most people to own outright.

While the supersonic business jet market offers opportunity, it also comes at a high cost, with the price of each jet at over $100 million.

That’s the perfect opening for fractional ownership companies to plot their growth.

Currently, Flexjet is the only company to place a firm order for the jets. In 2015, they ordered twenty of Aerion’s AS2 aircraft.

The Aerion AS2 is a three-engine jet and is larger than the originally conceived Aerion supersonic business jet. Fuselage length is 160 feet and maximum takeoff weight is 115,000 pounds. Minimum projected range is 4,750 nautical miles with the intention to achieve a range of more than 5,000 nautical miles.

The aircraft will have a 30-foot cabin in a two-lounge layout plus galley and both forward and aft lavatories, plus a baggage compartment that is accessible in-flight. Cabin dimensions widen from entryway to the aft seating area where height is six feet, two inches and cabin width is seven feet, three inches.

Carrying eight to 12 passengers, the AS2 has an intercontinental-capable range of 4,750 nautical miles at supersonic speed.

While, NetJets has yet to announce any orders, it’s clear that only the strongest of the fractional ownership companies will be able to compete in this market, giving them a clear advantage over smaller charter companies, and a major capability advantage over commercial airlines.

© 2016 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

NetJets Reaches Labor Agreement With Flight Dispatchers

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NetJets’ seemingly endless labor disputes look finally to be ending, as the flight dispatchers have now followed the pilots and flight attendants in reaching a new contract with Berkshire Hathaway’s fractional aircraft ownership company.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Teamsters Airline Division and Local 284 report they have reached a tentative agreement with NetJets on a five-year contract for approximately 50 flight dispatchers at NetJets.

The agreement was reached on May 5, and is the first union agreement for the NetJets dispatchers.

According to the union, the average first year wage increase is 18.5 percent.

The contract prohibits displacement or removal from a dispatcher position, furlough or remaining on furlough as a result of implementation of new technology or changes to existing technology. In addition to average signing bonuses in excess of $11,000, the contract prohibits management from increasing out of pocket expenses related to the dispatchers’ health insurance benefits.

The new collective bargaining agreement ends at-will employment and replaces it with just cause protections, access to stewards and other union representatives on the job. It also includes protections against subcontracting or assigning work to employees who are not covered by the contract.

“This moment is the culmination of years of hard work,” said Capt. David Bourne, Director of the Teamsters Airline Division. “This group has overcome many obstacles and fought incredibly hard to attain this contract. They’ve achieved an excellent agreement which contains job protections, large wage increases and improved retirement benefits. I’m proud to be able to call them Teamsters.”

“We’re ready to represent this group,” said Paul Suffoletto, President of Local 284. “Whether it’s signing bonuses, recognition of seniority rights or job security protections, these dispatchers will now be given the status they deserve within the industry. We appreciate the efforts of everyone involved in organizing and negotiations. The work has been greatly rewarded with this agreement, which has the full support of the negotiating committee.”

© 2016 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice

Teamsters Next in Queue for NetJets Labor Troubles

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Berkshire Hathaway’s NetJets can’t seem to escape its labor troubles, even after finally reaching agreement with its flight attendants and pilots.

In December 2015, NetJets put its two-year battle over wages with its approximately 2,700 pilots firmly behind it when it agreed to raises that brought the pilots $575 million spread over five years.

Now, it’s the NetJets technicians and flight dispatchers that are preparing for a strike authorization vote, as Teamsters Local 284 complains of “cost-cutting demands and proposals that they say undermine the ability to perform their jobs.”

“NetJets demands the right to replace human flight dispatchers with automation and software programs,” said Paul Suffoletto, President of Local 284 in Columbus, Ohio. “Management is also telling our aviation technicians that they have to compete against lower cost mechanics if they want to perform necessary maintenance work on NetJets aircraft. These actions raise serious questions about cost-cutting at the expense of employees responsible for the safety of flights.”

Local 284 states that its members at NetJets that work in fueling, catering, dispatching, stock clerk, aircraft cleaning and maintenance control operations also could be impacted by the latest round of labor unrest.

They note that the affected workers have been in contract negotiations for more than five years.

Berkshire Hathaway acquired NetJets in 1998, and has struggled with labor troubles. In June 2015, Berkshire canned NetJets’s chairman and CEO Jordan Hansell, who was unable to resolve the pilots’ dispute. The replacement CEO, Adam Johnson, has had better luck.

© 2016 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

NetJets Becomes Private Aviation Partner for PowerShares Series Tennis

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In January, Berkshire Hathaway’s NetJets signed tennis superstar Maria Sharapova as a “brand ambassador.” Now, the leader in fractional jet ownership has signed on as the official private aviation partner of PowerShares Series Tennis for the 2016 season.

As part of the deal, NetJets will receive increased advertising throughout the series, branded features during broadcasts, and hospitality for select events.

Jon Venison, president of InsideOut Sports and Entertainment, the operator of the PowerShares Series, stated that the series is “thrilled and honored to be associated with such a prestigious company.”

The PowerShares Series is a competitive tennis circuit featuring legendary tennis icons and world-renowned champions Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Andy Roddick, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Michael Chang, James Blake, Mark Philippoussis, and Mardy Fish. Each tournament features 4 Champions paired off in one set semi-finals and culminates with the winners meeting in a one-set championship match.

The series begins on April 8th in Chicago, the first of five events in April, before three more events in July and August, culminating with two events in each November and December.

In her role as a NetJets brand ambassador, Maria Sharapova will work with NetJets’ marketing, with a particular focus on social media. She will also provide exclusive experiences for NetJets owners throughout the partnership.

“I have been a long time owner of NetJets, since 2004, and now to become an Ambassador for this quintessential lifestyle company is very exciting,” said Sharapova.

Forbes ranks Sharapova as the highest paid female athlete for the past nine years.

© 2016 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

NetJets Adds Wide-Cabin Jets

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NetJet flyers have more room to spread-out as NetJets adds more wide-cabin jets to its fleet with the purchase of seven Bombardier Challenger 650 business jets.

The first of the Challenger 650s was put into service in mid-December.

Bombardier Challenger 650 boasts class-leading width, and has a maximum range of 4,000 NM, with a maximum altitude of 4,000 feet.

The Challenger 650 has a cabin width centerline of 7 feet 2 inches, a cabin width floorline of 5 feet 1 inch, and a cabin height of 6 feet 1 inch.

Bombardier also claims that the jet has the lowest-in-class direct operating costs.

© 2016 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.