Champagne for fractional operators

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It may surprise you but 2012 turned out to be a good year for fractional jet sales. Flight Options says that sales were up 30%. Berkshire Hathaway will no doubt report strong results for NetJets when its annual report comes out later today.

The year 2012 was good because 2008 was the best ever year for fractional aircraft sales. So customers that were happy at the end of the five year contracts were renewed onto new aircraft last year. There were not that many new customers moving into the industry.

As well as a rise in renewal sales of 104% compared to 2011, Flight Options says that it saw a 70% rise in customers switching to it. This was partly, but not just, helped by Cessna’s decision to stop selling fractional shares through Citation Air.

It was also a significant year for the fractional aircraft industry. Citation Air exited. Flight Option’s parent company acquired Sentient and NetJets placed record orders with Cessna and Bombardier. The order with Bombardier was great news for the manufacturer but it also raises questions about the long-term ownership of Flexjet, Bombardier’s fractional.

Now the world’s largest fractional is an aircraft customer it surely makes sense for Bombardier to sell Flexjet to NetJets as well.

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