With a fleet size of 750 aircraft worldwide, at least 3,90,000 annual flights across 170 countries, and a 20-year history, the US pioneer in fractional aircraft ownership, NetJets has its eyes set on the Indian market.
NetJets announced Ashish Chordia, CEO of Shreyans (luxury distribution company), as a strategic partner for India. It is likely to announce its first Indian customer shortly.
The Indian strategic partner will help NetJets build a sales relationship with high networth Indians and corporates.
“We have a base of at least 5000 high networth individuals on our radar and they are all our potential customers. We will also be looking at big corporates to push sales in India,” said Chordia.
NetJets, a unit of billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc, is planning expansion in India after foraying into the middle-east market and establishing itself in Europe with 140-owned aircrafts. But its attempt to penetrate the China general aviation market failed recently.
“India is a new frontier for us. We are currently exploring the right ways to enter the market. There has been a 400 percent increase in the number of NetJets business flights to and from India in the last four years We are open to all opportunities we can find here. We have long-term plans and we have financial strength,” said John A.
Colucci, Executive Vice President, NetJets, US. As a business practice, NetJets invests a lot of money in the infrastructure of the country it is present in. The company will offer services to destinations in Europe, North America and the Middle East.
Though it has light cabin aircraft like Cessna and mid-sized jets like Gulfstream 4200 in its fleet, it is the large cabin aircraft like the Gulfstream and Boeing business jets that will be used for long-haul India flights by the company.
Fractional ownership as a concept is at a nascent stage in India and there are only a few players like Manav Singh (Club One Air) and the recently announced joint venture between Singapore start-up company BJets and Tatas. NetJets is an established player and has advantage on its side.
“We can offer fractional ownership of an aircraft even for 25 hours because we have the largest fleet size of private jets in the world and we can thus talk about economy of scales,” said Robert Dranitzke, Director, Marketing Communications, NetJets, Europe.
The company will bring the same offers in fractional ownership into India as it has done in Europe, US and Middle East: Fractional ownership price pro-rated from the market price for an entire aircraft, and then have a guaranteed access between 50-400 hours annually depending on the size of the aircraft and the essential fees to be paid. For an Indian, for 25 hours, it will roughly work out to be a crore a year.