October 13, 2009
By Thomas A. Horne
The economic downturn has hit fractional ownership firms especially hard. In August, fractional giant NetJets announced the retirement of its founder—Richard Santulli—and then came the announcement that 5 percent of NetJets employees would be subject to layoffs. It’s all part of a series of reorganizations and tactical shifts within the once-burgeoning fractional market. Increasingly, owners are shedding their shares and switching to less financially burdensome methods of business travel. Jet cards, which offer lines of credit, are becoming more popular offerings by fractional ownership firms.
On Oct. 9, CitationShares announced that it was re-launching its business under the name CitationAir by Cessna. “The change is necessary because our customers have evolved, and so must we,” said Steve O’Neill, the company’s CEO.
“CitationShares—and now CitationAir—has shown consistent growth, innovation, and passion for serving our customers. More aggressively promoting Cessna’s ownership of CitationAir allows us to better communicate that Cessna offers the full range of transportation solutions, ranging from Jet Cards and Jet Shares, all the way through to whole aircraft ownership,” said Jack Pelton, chairman, president, and CEO of Cessna.
CitationAir will now more directly leverage its association with Cessna to provide four rebranded programs. The CitationAir Jet Card program replaces CitationShares’ Vector jet card service. CitationAir Jet Shares will provide fractional ownership using one annual payment or 12 monthly payments. CitationAir Jet Management lets Citation owners lease their aircraft for use in fractional or jet card applications. And CitationAir Corporate Solutions is a management service for flight departments, even if they don’t own fractional shares.
CitationAir has some 80 Citations in its fleet. Among them are Citation Bravos, CJ3s, XLSs, and Sovereigns.
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
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