AirShares Elite Shuts Down

Cirrus fractional operator ceased operations on November 30.

AirShares Elite

AirShares Elite

AirShares Elite, the fractional ownership company that operated a fleet of Cirrus piston singles in several U.S. cities, has shut its doors after 15 years in business.

The company has pulled the plug on its website, turned off its Facebook page, and did not answer the phone or return messages left at its main number. One source, the head of a Platinum Cirrus Training Center that rented the provider ramp space, confirmed AirShares Elite quietly ceased operations on November 30. Another source at a different FBO where AirShares Elite had a base of operations confirmed this information.

It is unclear what will happen with the aircraft fleet or members' shares. Founded in 1999, the company was the country's largest piston aircraft fractional share provider, catering to a high-level client who sought an executive-style experience.

The business model worked well for many years, and members often talked about their positive experiences with AirShares Elite's programs as well as with how the company was run.

Still, operating a large fleet of high-end piston singles requires plenty of capital to remain afloat. The founder of OurPlane, another Cirrus fractional provider, learned this lesson the hard way when the company went bankrupt in 2010 amid charges of fraud by angry former clients.

The two remaining major Cirrus fractional providers are PlaneSmart and Ascension Air. Both say they are healthy and in growth mode, though executives at the companies told Flying the slow economic recovery has presented challenges.

Look for a full report on the state of the shared-ownership market in an upcoming issue of Flying.

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