When Fractional Isn’t the Way to Fly

James Butler Recommends a Thorough Analysis Before Investing

Bethesda, Maryland • June 2012

In a follow-up article for Sherpa Report, private aviation expert, James Butler, cautions readers against selecting a fractional program without having first done a thorough needs analysis and review of all available options.

Generally speaking, fractional ownership is said to be for those who fly between 50 and 400 hours per year. However, Butler cautions, “[Y]our analysis should go much deeper.”

Butler believes it pays to consider factors like the average length of your trips (if you fly a lot of short legs, one hour minimum billing will significantly increase your flying cost), travel dates (availability will be limited on peak travel dates), and the location of your home base and most frequent destinations (if you’re near major airports, there may be local charter companies that can more cost-effctively service your needs).

Additional considerations include available aircraft models (do they work for you), your need for cost certainty (costs will vary over time), your appetite for a substantial capital outlay (can you better invest your capital), and tax advantages (will depreciation deductions be available to you). These and other factors mentioned in the article should be considered in determining whether fractional ownership is your best bet.

Butler advises, “The goal of any private air travel investment should be to purchase maximum flight time on appropriate aircraft with a reputable and safe operator at minimum cost. Making the wrong choice can cost you hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars in unnecessary expense. A fractional share can be the perfect investment, but as you can see, there’s a lot more to consider than just the number of hours you fly each year.”

Read more: “When Fractional Isn’t the Way to Fly” – Sherpa Report

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