Cessna sells three jets to Executive AirShare

Executive AirShare, a regional fractional ownership company founded in Wichita, is adding three Cessna Citation CJ2+ business jets to its fleet of airplanes as it grows.

The Citations complement the company’s existing fleet of Embraer and Beechcraft aircraft, Executive AirShare officials said.

The planes have the range, speed and seating capacity the company’s customers desire, said Keith Plumb, Executive AirShare president and chief operating officer. They have more capability than the smaller Phenom 100 and perform well in a variety of missions, especially when operating out of the high-elevation, mountainous airports in Colorado frequented by the company’s customers.

The planes also can fly four passengers nonstop to either coast.

“The CJ2+ ... is the aircraft we need to provide the comprehensive air service our customers expect,” Plumb said.

The model fits “perfectly between the (Embraer) Phenom 100 and Phenom 300” that are currently in the fleet with lower costs than the Phenom 300, he said.

Executive AirShare and Cessna officials talked about the acquisition Wednesday afternoon inside a Cessna hangar next to the company’s first CJ2+ jet.

The three planes, which seat six passengers and two pilots, were built in 2009 or earlier and have less than 800 hours of flight time each.

“They have virtually full warranties on them,” said Bob Taylor, Executive AirShare founder and chief executive.

The first CJ2+ will be based in Kansas City, the second will be based in Texas, and the third will float between Wichita and Tulsa, Taylor said.

Executive AirShare serves the central U.S. and the Great Lakes region and, besides the CJ2+ aircraft, operates a fleet of Phenom 100, Phenom 300 and King Air products.

Share-owners are based in Wichita; Kansas City, Mo.; Tulsa; Oklahoma City; Fort Worth; Dallas; Houston; Austin; San Antonio; and Buffalo, N.Y.

The company also offers aircraft management and charter services through a subsidiary, Executive Flight Services.

The market for fractional ownership is growing, Plumb said.

In the past 12 months, Executive AirShare has grown from 125 fractional owners to 145. That includes 25 share-owners in Wichita.

Revenue, profits and flying hours are up, company officials said. Employment in Wichita has grown from 16 to 24, and total company employment now totals 150.

Executive AirShare also has added eight pilots since June 30 and is interviewing for another nine positions.

The company will use the first CJ2+ as a demonstrator for the next few weeks, showing it off to potential customers.

Owning one-sixteenth of a CJ2+ will cost $345,000, which gives the owner the airplane 20 days a year. Monthly management fees total $4,250 plus $1,800 per flight hour.

The costs are lower than those of national fractional ownership programs, Taylor said.

“Our regional model works really well,” Plumb said.

Cessna worked well with Executive AirShare on the acquisition of the planes, Plumb said.

“They’ve gone out of their way to integrate this airplane into our company,” he said.

Cessna helped Executive AirShare with the analysis, with bringing the mechanics up to speed on tracking of the maintenance and with other aspects of the integration.

For Executive AirShare, “the great thing about this product for them, it fits their mission needs,” said Lannie O’Bannion, regional vice president of Cessna sales for the Midwestern U.S. and Canada.

Cessna took the three Citation CJ2+ airplanes on trade from owners buying new airplanes.

The used-jet market is improving and there’s a lot more activity, O’Bannion said.