The Private Plane is a Necessity, Say Moguls

Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that the chairman and chief executive officer of Lehman Brothers, Richard Fuld Jr., has placed his highly prized modern art collection on the market. Also, former Lehman President Joe Gregory has sold the private helicopter that he used to commute to work every day from Huntington, N.Y. But while Lehman executives have been eager to cash out, other high-powered moguls aren’t yet planning a yard sale, especially in the case of their private planes, reports Page Six Magazine.

P. Diddy recently announced that he plans to fly commercial in light of high gas prices and struggling economy, but others like investor Henry Kravis, Knicks player Stephon Marbury, NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon, media mogul Bob Pittman and HDNet chairman Mark Cuban are suddenly rather shy about their personal planes.

One Manhattan mogul’s publicist told the magazine, "With all that’s been going on [in the economy], it would be rather insensitive to discuss details about [his] jet."

But that doesn’t mean that the rich plan on giving up their private planes. Instead they will continue using them—perhaps more quietly—because commercial airlines are just a total headache these days.

"The airlines are an American disgrace,” said Donald Trump.” When you are running a business, it is very hard to rely on what has become a disaster."

Mr. Trump’s jumbo 727 plane, the largest of private planes, has a full-size bedroom, a marble bathroom, plush couches, and a movie screen on which he likes to watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s. (Mr. Trump pointed out that the extra-large plane is often lent out to charities like Make-A-Wish Foundation to transport sick children who can’t fly commercially.)

Meanwhile, billionaire Ron Perelman’s Gulfstream G5 features current-release films, kosher food, a personal physician on-board, and an unlimited supply of fresh bagels and lox that are flown in from New York every morning regardless of where in the world Mr. Perelman is located at the moment. (Mr. Perelman’s plane has also been used to save a child’s life when medicine was flown from Oregon to Chicago for a young boy who had contracted smallpox and couldn’t fly.)

Miami real estate developer Don Peebles insisted that his Gulfstream 2B, which has two separate cabins–one for him and his wife and one for his children–featuring a California king size beds, crystal dinnerware, and a Playstation 3, is a business necessity.

"The plane is a great business tool. It gives me freedom. There are days I’ve gone to three different cities for meetings—I could never do that commercially. There’s a saying that money can’t buy time, but in this case it can."




The Private Plane is a Necessity, Say Moguls