Not yet ready to take the plunge and buy our own corporate jet? There are alternatives.
Barken International Inc., based at the Salt Lake Jet Center, 369 N. 2370 West, can get you and your company up in the air for a fraction of the expense of buying your own aircraft: You only have to buy a piece of one."It's a lot like the time share concept in real estate," said Ben Watson, director of marketing for Barken.
You buy shares in the plane, he explained, and then use it as though you owned the entire aircraft - at least during your allotted share of time.
For example, with 25 percent ownership, you get the aircraft for up to 200 hours per year. In return, Barken supplies the pilots, handles the maintenance and insurance, stores the airplane - all of the things that can make owning a hassle.
What kinds of planes? Barken currently has in its jet aircraft inventory a Gulfstream II, Gulfstream III, a Learjet 25, Learjet 35 and two Westwinds. It also has two Beechcraft King Air turboprops.
How do you decide whether it is more economical to time-share or to buy a plane? Watson says the magic number is 357.
"We figure if you're going to use the plane more than 357 hours per year, it's cheaper to own the plane. Less than that, it's cheaper to go with our program."
There's an even easier way to find out if your company can benefit from bidding the airlines adios: charter flights.
"Call us up. Tell us where you want to go. We'll give you a price quote. End of story," said Watson. "A lot of times it's very economical if you fill up the plane. We charge for the aircraft, not the seats."
Watson says 80 percent of the Fortune 500 companies in the United States use business aviation. "They believe in the value of executive time. If you can save three or four hours on a trip, or make a trip in a day that would take two or three by airline, it's worth it."
People don't realize, said Watson, that corporate jets can use some 5,000 airports in the United States. The scheduled airlines can access only 400, and of those, fewer than 50 are major point-to-point destinations.
"Business aviation can get you to more places faster. It's that simple."