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New Business Model For Private Aviation

Fractional jet companies, like Warren Buffett�s NetJets (they lost $80 million last year), may have major competition from a new business model in the form of Blue Star Jets. Blue Star owns no aircraft and needn�t worry about costs like pilot training and maintenance.

The firm is a broker between people who want to charter a plane or helicopter, and the owners or managers of some 4,000 aircraft. They are already profitable, with sales of over $100 million and the exclusive brokership for Donald Trump�s online travel agency.

Co-founders and owners of Blue Star, Todd Rome and Richard Sitomer (both 37), pay salespeople on commission with top earners reportedly making more than $1 million a year. They spend as much as a million a month in marketing, buying ads in luxury magazines, spending $200,000 to host an annual society event at Rome�s Hampton estate, and developing partnerships with Canyon Ranch Spas.

New Service Could Provide An Assist For Private Jet Flights

If you know where to look, you will find deep discounts on typical private-jet rates by hooking up with empty seats on flights that are booked for one-way trips. (Most available flights have either just delivered a customer or are en route to pick up a customer.)

A search engine titled Empty Legs is offered by OneSky Jets, a private jet company, at www.onesky.com. Of the nearly 2,700 private jets flown every day, an estimated 40% fly empty legs, according to OneSky.

Here�s an example of what you could expect. A typical charter for eight passengers from Seattle to Las Vegas might cost $20,000, a recent flight on empty Legs went for just over $6,000. A one-way first-class ticket for the same route runs close to $400.

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