James Butler Cautions that Small, Regional Fractional Providers Must be Fully Vetted

Bethesda, Maryland • January 2014

In an interview with the Portland Press Herald, private aviation consultant and Shaircraft Solutions CEO, James Butler, explains the pros and cons of doing business with recently established small, regional jet providers offering shared-use programs.

“Anybody who’s got a couple aircraft that have downtime these days [has] come up with a (shared) program,” says Butler, “but they don’t play in the same league as NetJets and Flexjet.”

Butler warns of the risks in signing on with smaller providers, particularly ones that don’t specialize in shared-use and have only a couple of dedicated aircraft. For example, availability can be limited if multiple owners seek to fly on the same day or if aircraft are down for maintenance.

As an independent advisor, Butler never rules out a provider simply because of its size, and acknowledges that there can be benefits to working with a smaller provider. However, as he often says, mistakes in private aviation are costly. It’s important to eliminate as much risk as possible, which includes having prospective providers thoroughly vetted by someone who knows the industry and what to watch out for.

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