Posted on May 13th, 2019
At the National Business Aviation Association in June, the line to catch a glimpse of the new Gulfstream G650ER private jet was the largest of the conference. The “ER” stands for the updated “extended range” version of the luxurious G650.
One of the class markers of the private equity industry is that its members routinely fly on private jets. That’s often because the larger and even some of the smaller firms charge their private jet travel to private equity portfolio companies. That means that the cost is borne first and foremost by investors in private equity like public pension funds, private pension funds, universities like Harvard and Yale, and other foundations and endowments.
The enormous costs of private jets, while they are borne by the investors, are almost entirely hidden from them. PE firms keep investors in the dark by having the portfolio companies they’ve bought on behalf of their investors pay these jet bills. Amazingly, investors have been fooled by this simple ruse for decades – it’s as if your stockbroker deducts his fee from your account, and you regard his services as free because you never see a bill.
Now admittedly, there are cases, if you are taking a team of people from one not-well-air-serviced location to another, when private jet travel is cheaper than flying commercial. But those instances are rare.
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As the price of oil continues its bumpy ride, the broadly lower cost per barrel could present a new business opportunity for the world’s largest private jet company.
NetJets, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway which offers fractional ownership and private jet rental, told CNBC that low oil prices – now down around 50 percent from highs last summer — could boost their business.
“If you are an oil company and you’re invested in a fleet of your own private jets, clearly this is the moment where you’ll look back at your investments and your assets and think: ‘Was this the best decision?’,” NetJets’ Head of European Sales Marine Eugene said. “I think this is a tremendous opportunity for us.”
Brazilian football wizard Neymar splashed out $10 million buy a private jet and flew his friends out to Las Vegas – the party capital of the world.
The Barcelona forward used it to fly to and from the Copa America tournament in Chile – but his competition was cut short for a headbutt early on.
Spike Aerospace’s latest, luxury high-speed jet will be able to fly from NYC to London in just three hours. The Spike S-512 Supersonic Jet can fly 450 mph faster than any current civilian jet, which means cutting most flight times by half.
However, the supersonic experience comes at a high cost: the finished S-512 will cost between $60 and $80 million. (Which is great if your itinerary goes from “Paris to Dubai for shopping and entertainment and back home in time for dinner,” as the Spike Aerospace update suggested.)
The high-speed jet can hold 18 passengers at a time, and feature a Muliplex Digital cabin. That’s to say: a windowless cabin equipped with a high-definition, full-screen display that can play anything from a live feed of the world outside, movies, to a business presentation your team is thrilled about.