Berkshire Hathaway reveals NetJets added 947 employees in 2023

NetJets grew to 8,349 employees as revenues for Berkshire Hathaway aviation services increased 11.5% year-over-year.

By Doug Gollan, February 26, 2024

NetJets increased employees by 12.8% in 2023, an addition of 947 jobs.

According to Berkshire Hathaway’s annual report, released on Saturday, the private jet leader ended the year with 8,349 employees, up from 7,402 at the end of 2022.

That also compares 6,476 employees in 2019, pre-Covid, and 6,540 employees in 2015, the year current Chairman and CEO Adam Johnson took the reins.

NetJets, Inc. includes its Executive Jet Management unit.

Berkshire Hathaway and NetJets

NetJets is part of Berkshire Hathaway’s services and retailing group, which includes FlightSafety.

That group is composed of more than 89,000 employees spread over electronic components distribution and retailing businesses such as See’s Candies, plus automobile dealerships and trailer and furniture leasing.

Revenues for the group increased from $34.83 billion in 2021 to $38.30 billion in 2022 and $40 billion last year.

Earnings before income taxes increased from $4.48 billion to $4.77 billion and $4.72 billion in 2023, respectively.

The annual reports give highlights for various Warren Buffett-owned companies but are scarce on company specifics.

In terms of NetJets, the report states, “Revenues from aviation services increased 11.5% in 2023 compared to 2022, primarily due to increases in the number of aircraft in shared aircraft ownership programs and a year-to-date increase in flight hours across NetJets’ various programs, as well as higher average rates.”

It continues, “The increase in earnings from aviation services was primarily attributable to a 14.4% increase in average aircraft in the NetJets’ programs and higher rates.”

Additionally, the report notes, “Certain other obligations are included in our Consolidated Balance Sheets, such as operating lease liabilities and shared aircraft repurchase liabilities of NetJets. Estimated payments of these liabilities in each of the next five years are (in billions): $1.9 in 2024; $1.7 in 2025; $1.5 in 2026; $1.8 in 2027; and $1.9 in 2028.”

NetJets growth

Last year, NetJets signed letters of intent with Embraer and Textron Aviation.

The deal with Embraer calls for delivery of up to 250 Praetor 500s.

Textron Aviation could end up providing as many as 1,500 private jets to the flight provider over the next 15 years.

Separately, it is understood the undisclosed customer of 12 Bombardier Challenger 3500s announced in December is NetJets.

Last year, 730 new private jets were delivered worldwide.

Financial stability

The report also plugs the financial stability of Berkshire Hathway NetJets promotes to customers.

Buffett wrote, “I believe Berkshire can handle financial disasters of a magnitude beyond any heretofore experienced. This ability is one we will not relinquish. When economic upsets occur, as they will, Berkshire’s goal will be to function as an asset to the country – just as it was in a very minor way in 2008-9 – and to help extinguish the financial fire rather than to be among the many companies that, inadvertently or otherwise, ignited the conflagration.”

Buffett added, “Our goal is realistic. Berkshire’s strength comes from its Niagara of diverse earnings delivered after interest costs, taxes, and substantial charges for depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA” is a banned measurement at Berkshire). We also operate with minimal requirements for cash, even if the country encounters a prolonged period of global economic weakness, fear, and near-paralysis.”

Looking back, Buffett noted, “During the 2008 panic, Berkshire generated cash from operations and did not rely in any manner on commercial paper, bank lines or debt markets.”

READ: Jet It Lessons: What happens when your private jet provider fails?

NetJets Pilots

There was no mention of the current in-contract negotiations between NetJets and the union representing its pilots, NJASAP.

Pilots are expected to vote imminently on a proposed new contract that would provide a 52.5% boost in compensation over the next six years.

However, the offer falls short of matching pay at the major airlines like Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines, which signed record-pay deals with their pilots in 2023.

About 20% of Berkshire’s 396,500 employees are represented by unions.

Overall earnings were up 17% to $37.35 billion last year.

The company had $167.6 billion in cash at the end of Q4 2024.

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