There apparently are many people who want to own and operate a business airplane, but who pass on the opportunity because of the cost, the paperwork, or simply because they know they’ll never use the airplane enough to justify all the work or the money they’ll spend. Partners in Aviation (PIA) and the PIA Co-Ownership service, co-founded by aviation industry veterans Tom Bertels and Mark Molloy, think they have just the solution for this untapped market of buyers: a partnership. The two men are not strangers to business aviation, nor to partnerships that often sound good but head south when the disagreements begin.
Bertels told Flying, “Partnerships are often created by a couple of people getting together who haven’t always thought through all the issues, like the co-mingling of funds or tax benefits. We’re doing much more for customers than simply setting up a pair of LLCs to share costs. Think of us as a pre-nup of sorts for people who want to find the right aircraft ownership partner.”
Molloy explained the difficulty of these efforts. “Our challenge was to structure a co-ownership program that conservative operators — and their legal counsel — would embrace.”
Partners in Aviation has already forged bonds with a few large operators in the industry, such as Jet Aviation, JSSI and others to offer customers a full complement of co-ownership services beginning with the complicated vetting and matching effort designed to pair operators already based in close proximity to one another. Bertels said the company will also assist with choosing the ownership structure, the aircraft and the maintenance and flight crew provider. They’ll also add solid expertise on the legal and tax issues that make for an effective aircraft partnership.