Among the things wealthy people and big corporations are now spending less on: private jets. According to the New York Times, sales and leases of planes have taken a nosedive (heh) since the market collapsed. Just seven months ago, Ralph Lauren and David Geffen “elbowed” each other to secure a $500,000, non-transferable spot on the waiting list for GM’s $60 million Gulfstream G650 (release date: 2012). And just as recently as September, moguls were reticent about their plans for their jets, indicating that they weren’t so eager to get rid of them.
Now, according Netjets chief executive Richard Santulli, “The jet market stinks.” Out of a mix of necessity (a $47 million Gulfstream 550 costs more than $2,000 per hour to operate) and propriety (“They are not going to do employee layoffs and keep the jets”) companies like Citigroup, Time Warner, Alcatel-Lucent, Ford, and GM itself are all getting rid of their aircraft. Some are starting to charter flights while others are participating in fractional ownership, purchasing things like Netjets’s Marquis card, which gives customers access to the company’s fleet in 25-hour increments. However, those businesses are also slower than usual. It seems that our CEOs might soon be forced into first-class. (Horrors!)
Oh, and fun fact: “Mr. Santulli said that the jet market usually picks up three months after the stock market has reached a bottom. There is no indication of an uptick yet.”