Days after NetJets said it was suspending jet card sales across the board, its aircraft management arm Executive Jet Management, known as EJM, is now following suit. Both are owned by Berkshire Hathaway.
The Cincinnati-based charter operator is creating a waitlist for its Ascend membership program, Private Jet Card Comparisons has learned. It still selling on-demand charter flights as usual.
The Ascend program provides fixed rates with guaranteed availability. It offers worldwide one-way fixed pricing, making it one of the few card programs that are a viable global travel option.
Ascend requires a $100,000 deposit and validity is 36 months. A spokesperson confirms existing customers will be able to replenish funds during the term of their cards.
“We are still actively fulfilling on-demand charter requests and servicing existing Ascend program requests every day,” the spokesperson says.
Like NetJets, EJM is apparently offering prospects to be waitlisted.
EJM’s managed fleet is known to be the first-choice operator for NetJets when it cannot accommodate customers on its fleet. FAA records show EJM currently has 132 aircraft on its Part 135 certificate.
NetJets reported record-breaking flight levels since June. In July, it stopped selling shares and leases as well as jet cards on its entry-level Phenom 300 and Citation XLS offerings. In June it suspended sales of its Classic jet cards, which had a 10 hour lead time for bookings. It is adding 100 new jets by the end of 2022.
EJM and NetJets aren’t alone in tweaking membership programs and suspending sales.
Both Air Partner and Fly Exclusive increased lead time for non-peak bookings. Velocity Jets, a boutique broker, suspended jet card sales in early July. CEO and owner Patrick Harris says the company is continuing to keep its program on hiatus.
“We’re still going to hold off. It’s a volatile market. We’ll see what happens this Fall. I have a core group of jet card clients who have been with me for an average of 10 years. Right now, that’s my focus,” he says.
New York-based Jets.com announced this morning it is suspending jet card sales as of Sept. 1.
Still, there are more than 50 operators and brokers selling jet cards in the U.S., including Wheels Up. A key player, CEO Kenny Dichter told Wall Street analysts he believes as others pull back, it is an opportunity for his company.
During a Q2 earnings call on Aug. 12, he said, “We have made the strategic decision to invest in the growth of our business while some industry participants are pulling back. This gives us even more conviction and confidence to pull forward.”