It Gets Better
In June I got an e-mail from AirShares saying that the company was considering swapping its two Sandel-equipped SR22s for three new SR22s outfitted with Avidyne Entegra flat-panel primary flight displays and TKS ice protection. The e-mail asked owners if they'd like to do that, taking into consideration that costs would increase some. As it turned out, every owner said yes, albeit for different reasons. Most of us just wanted to fly with the flat panels-I mean, how cool is that? Others were swayed by the fact that their equity would be better protected in the more modern version of the SR22 when it came time for AirShares to sell the airplane at the end of the five-year term.
So, for the last couple of months I've been flying the latest, and newest, SR22s in the fleet. (See story last month on just what went into that transition. It was trickier than I thought it would be.)
AirShares has, at this writing, 17 airplanes in five locations, with more on the way. There are three in the New York area, a pair in Birmingham, nine in Atlanta, two in Boston, and one in Chicago. Nationwide there are 55 clients in the program. AirShares has also added a new feature, nationwide availability. If you're going to be in Atlanta or Boston and you want an airplane there, just call and schedule like it's your home base.
I closed my first article on the AirShares program with the question, "Is it possible to share two (now three) really nice cross-country airplanes with 15 other people?" The answer has turned out to be an emphatic "yes."
|• Costs are substantially higher than renting but much lower than whole ownership. Share owners pay for their share of the airplane, an hourly operating cost (for fuel, oil, etc.), and a monthly management fee.|
|• Term lengths vary so that everybody's term is up at the end of five years. At that time, AirShares sells the airplane, keeps a broker's fee and distributes the proceeds among the owners.|
|• Unlike fractionally owned jets, which travel to the customer, small airplane fractionals are based at a single airport or (in the case of AirShares) two or more neighboring airports. If there's no program near you, you're out of luck.|
|• The AirShares program is truly a shared ownership one. You might fly the airplane you own a part of, or, depending on availability, you might fly an identical one owned by somebody else. You just have to keep the N-numbers straight.|
|• Unlike the jet programs, there's no guaranteed availability with small-airplane fractionals. Some programs, such as OurPlane, have weighted availability, allowing higher share members the chance to reserve farther in the future. AirShares is first come, first served.|
|• Depending on the program, customers can be on the registration certificate as a part owner or not. As with jet fractionals, there are certain tax advantages to ownership.|
You've just read Part II - A New Fractional Vision Explored - February 2004 Click here for Part I - A New Fractional Vision Explored - August 2003 Click here for Part III - The Jury's In: AirShares Elite SR22 - June 2004