Saturday, September 17, 2016

Flexjet fractional plane ownership company coming to Westchester County Airport



WHITE PLAINS - If you've always wanted to own a plane at Westchester County Airport, you'll soon get the chance — part of one, anyway.

Flexjet, a Cleveland-based fractional private jet service, is set to expand its presence at the county-owned and operated airport this fall, when its renovated private terminal opens in Hangar F.

The service allows customers to purchase as little as 1/16th of an airplane, which gives the customer the right to fly 50 hours per year in that aircraft or a similar one if they give 10 hours notice for a domestic flight and 48 hours notice for an international fight.

Rates are slightly over $1 million over five years for the smallest available share of the company's newest aircraft, the Embraer Legacy 450, plus $7,000 per month in maintenance fees.

“You can use those hours at any given time and you have those hours every year," said Flexjet's Senior Vice President of Sales Matt Doyle, who showed off the Legacy 450 this week at a National Business Aviation Association regional forum at the airport. "If your particular aircraft that you own isn’t available, you’ll be flying on an identically-equipped aircraft within the fleet.”

Flexjet — which will acquire four more of the Legacy 450s this year — currently runs its New York metropolitan area operations out of Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, but was lured to Westchester in February 2015 by the county Industrial Development Agency. The agency issued incentives to help defray the cost of the move and the hangar renovation.

Once completed, the hangar will have 30,000 square feet of maintenance space plus a 4,000 square foot passenger lounge.

"Our owners are landing there or departing there; it allows the group to get together have a private meeting, we have services even for the dogs. We have a lot of people who travel with pets," Doyle said.

“When we see the opportunity for a good spot, this was a good spot, (and we took it)," he added.

Private aviation services have grown at the county airport in recent months.

In February, Hopscotch Air, an air taxi service that takes passengers on short flights to other regional airports, said they were expanding their fleet by 30 percent.

In May, Million Air agreed to extend its lease with the county and pay substantially more in rent while building a new hangar and a new terminal.

And in July, BlissJet announced they would begin flying weekly between Westchester County Airport to Biggin Hill Airport outside of London this fall.

That is a boon for the county, which gets a cut of the revenue for every plane that takes off or leaves.

Mike Nichols, the vice president for operational excellence and professional development for the NBAA, which represents companies that rely on aviation for business, said the county airport is good because it has enough space for both commercial flights and private ones.

“As operators of business aircraft, we try to stay out of the way of the airlines. If their operations are efficient, our operations are efficient," he said.

The growth of private aviation companies is "something we’re not only seeing here," he said, "but we’re seeing across the nation as well.”

Story and video:   http://www.lohud.com

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