Business Jet Charters Increasing 20 Percent a Year

OCTOBER 6, 2000

The number of business executives chartering jets -- for both business and pleasure -- has grown by about 20 percent this year, more than double the growth for the past two years, say officials of KaiserAir, Inc., one of the oldest business jet management companies in the world.

"For every charter that we have handled this year, we have probably had two more requests," said Sandy Waters, vice president, business development, of the firm based at Oakland International Airport's North Field. "Charters historically have been a small part of business jet traffic for KaiserAir," he added. "Charters are important, however, because people typically use charters before buying an aircraft. Charter gives them an opportunity to try different types of aircraft and see which one is best for them."

Manufacturers estimate a 60 percent increase in business jet sales over the next 10 years, Waters said. KaiserAir already experienced a 10 percent increase in charter flights in both 1998 and 1999.

"We are seeing a growing recognition of the value of time," said Waters. "Because today's executives place such a high value on their time, we also are seeing an increase in the number of charters for pleasure as well as for business trips. The strong economy also is helping."

If an executive spends around 100 hours a year on airplanes, it typically is more cost-effective to use chartered jets, according to a recent study by Business and Commercial Aviation magazine.

A chartered flight means that an executive can travel on his or her own schedule, without worrying about possibly cutting a meeting short to make the last plane of the day or spending time waiting at airport check-in counters or baggage claims. In addition, because of the large number of airports that handle smaller planes, a charter usually takes an executive much closer to his final destination than a commercial flight.

"Having a private aircraft virtually eliminates the expense and disruption of unscheduled hotel stays," Waters added. "When you add in these factors, a chartered jet often becomes the most economical way to travel."

Private charters are particularly popular for California destinations such as Palm Springs and Lake Tahoe or fishing, hunting and skiing destinations in Montana, Colorado and Idaho, which have no direct flights to and from the Bay Area. A trip to Palm Springs by charter jet takes only 90 minutes, while it can stretch to almost five hours by airline if it is necessary to allow time for check-in and connections. Charter flights are the best and occasionally the only way to get to many desirable pleasure spots in Western United States.

KaiserAir offers a charter fleet of five jets, ranging from Citations to Gulfstreams. It also manages 14 business jets and two helicopters and operates an Executive Terminal for the use of private planes at Oakland International Airport's North Field. Thirty-three of Fortune Magazine's Top 50 corporations make KaiserAir's Executive Terminal the base for their aircraft when they conduct business in the Bay Area.

The Executive Terminal, which operates 24 hours a day seven days a week, offers fuel and maintenance service. In addition, there is a business center with a conference room, fax machine and modem access, and a concierge to take care of needs ranging from limousines to gourmet catering and hotel reservations.

KaiserAir, Inc. dates back to 1946 when it began as the flight department for the Kaiser companies founded by the late industrialist Henry J. Kaiser. In 1974 Southern Pacific became the first corporation outside the Kaiser companies to become a client of KaiserAir. Gradually, KaiserAir added more corporate clients, and in 1980 the Kaiser flight department management purchased the operation from Kaiser Steel.

Source: Business Wire