Former AirShares Elite Customers in Limbo

** This former AirShares Elite Cirrus SR22 is one of several currently being sold off.**

Former members of AirShares Elite, the Cirrus fractional ownership provider that ceased operations on December 1, are coming forward to tell their stories about the company's sudden demise — except, they say, at this point there's not much to tell.

Stunned share owners told Flying they received terse email messages in mid November informing them AirShares Elite would be shutting down at the end of the month. The messages said their airplanes would be sold and they would receive a check for their share value by the end of December.

The AirShares Elite fleet of Cirrus SR22s have disappeared from the company's former bases, and Flying has confirmed that some of them have indeed been sold already.

One former share owner said he noticed on the FAA registry that his airplane appears to have been sold to a new owner, but he has yet to hear anything official from AirShares Elite.

"My lawyer knows the situation and we're essentially waiting to see what happens," said the former member, who signed up with AirShares Elite earlier this year. He says he feels anger over the way the company has handled the closure. "The longevity of AirShares Elite is what made me feel comfortable joining. I wouldn't have bought in if I knew it was going to last six months and they'd be out of business."

AirShares Elite kept the news of its demise quiet, which has raised red flags for some share owners. Others we spoke with speculate that the company may have wanted the shutdown to remain a secret to allow it to sell off the Cirrus fleet without driving aircraft values down.

The shutdown is public knowledge now, and anybody can go on the Internet and spot former AirShares Elite airplanes up for sale. A number of them headed for used airplane dealers, where they are either listed for sale or have been removed from inventory after being sold. We called one broker to ask about an AirShares Elite airplane listed for sale on the company's website and were told it had just been sold.

AirShares Elite members were required to purchase shares in the company's Cirrus SR22s, but the airplanes legally remained under title of the fractional ownership provider and not the share buyers. Members also paid monthly management fees and hourly occupied rates to AirShares Elite.

Former share owners said that at this point the company does not appear to have done anything illegal or not spelled out in its agreement with members. Representatives from AirShares Elite have yet to make any public comments about the shutdown or respond to inquiries from Flying. Former members say they have been told they can expect to get their money back by December 31.

For now it's a tense waiting game for AirShare Elite's clients.

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