SkyShare expands preowned fractional to large cabin jets

SkyShare’s new SFX+ preowned fractional Gulfstream G450 program allows fleet access from PC-12s up without interchange fees.

By Doug Gollan, April 3, 2024

After rebranding from CB Skyshare to SkyShare last year, SkyShare is expanding its preowned fractional offer to large-cabin jets.

In addition to its current SFX (short for SkyShare Frax) Pilatus PC-12 offering, the new SFX+ program features preowned fractional shares on a Gulfstream G450.

The move marks the 15-year evolution of Founder and CEO Cory Bengtzen from an aircraft broker into a significant regional operator.

The large cabin fractional offer, like the turboprop program, is days-based.

The program provides G450 access and fleet access, which includes super-midsize jets, CJ2 light jets, the PC-12s, and soon midsize Citation Excels.

It also includes an expanded primary service.

Nonstop flights to Mexico, Canada, Hawaii, or the Caribbean, including and north of the United States Virgin Islands that begin or end in 11 western states do not require repositioning.

The base states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

That means a flight from Los Angeles to New York or a return would only be charged for occupied hours.

Bengtzen says plans call for adding Europe in the next year.

How it works

The large-cabin program has a 72-hour non-peak callout, with just 30 peak days.

G450 share options are 1/16th, which provides 20 days of access per year; 1/8th, which gives 40 days; 3/8ths for 60 days; and ¼ for 80 days per year.

At the entry level, buy-in is $950,000, with a monthly management fee of $23,000.

The hourly rate is $8,500, plus fuel and taxes.

Fuel is a direct passthrough above $3.63 per gallon.

SkyShare doesn’t charge taxi time, but occupied hours are charged from the engine start until they are turned off, instead of wheels up to touchdown.

For trips that begin and end at the same airport in the PSA, owners can fly at a discounted roundtrip rate. In some cases, it makes sense to use extra days to lower the flight price.

“If it’s a four-day weekend, they generally opt for the lower hourly rate. Or if they’re going somewhere for a longer time, they can opt for the one-way drop-off, and then they just use one day at the beginning and one day at the end of the trip,” says Bengtzen.

The term is 36 months, and owners can borrow or carry over up to 25% of their annual flight hours.

SkyShare history

SkyShare has made the Inc 5000 three years in a row. It has nine PC-12s, 70 shareowners, and 19 aircraft in total.

Back in 2009, Bengtzen literally transitioned from road to runway.

“I owned multiple car dealerships. I had got my pilot’s license and was buying and selling planes for fun on the side. Then 2009 came, and I just decided I wanted to really follow my passion instead of following the paycheck. I sold the last car dealership to my partners and started what was then CB Aviation. That was started here in Utah at the Ogden Airport. We were just a broker back then,” he tells Private Jet Card Comparisons.

Bengtzen, who also delivered aircraft he sold, was featured in multiple episodes of Discovery Channel’s Dangerous Flights, including ferrying a Cessna 206 from the U.S. to Poland.

With success in the brokerage segment, he bought the FBO at Ogden and an adjacent maintenance business.

However, the idea behind today’s business came during one of those long ferry flights.

He says, “On one of the aircraft that I was selling, it was a Phenom 100 that we had sold from the Ukraine back into the States. I was flying with the ferry pilot, and he just gave me an idea. He worked for another fractional company, and I didn’t know much about that space. After flying with him, I started doing a ton of research. I came back and talked to (vp-marketing) Michael (Patwin) and the rest of the team, which was very small at that point in time, about this idea and this opportunity to have a mid-tier fractional company in the Western U.S.”

Regional Focus

Back then, in addition to the national players, PlaneSense was mainly in the East and Airshare in the Midwest, so focusing on the West seemed logical.

In 2017, CB SkyShare was launched with the PC-12s and managed CJ2s and G200s, allowing turboprop owners to fly the fleet.

During a period of frenetic M&A activity, Bengtzen says, “We haven’t taken any private investment money or any VC money. We’ve really bootstrapped this from the ground up and just worked hard and put together the very best team we can.”

Target Customers

Bengtzen says that beyond fitting into the profile of fractional owners based on usage, SkyShare customers are often growing companies looking for cost-effective ways to compete with larger players already using private flights.

With refurbished interiors, fully enclosed lavs with hard doors (except for the CJ2s, which have curtains), and WiFi (except for the PC-12s), he says the program has proven loyalty with an 85% renewal rate.

He says the program also attracts customers from larger players who realize you rarely, if ever, fly in your tail. Various fractional fleets include aircraft 10 and 15 years old.

For example, PC-12 owners get guaranteed access to the CJ2s and soon the Excels at published hourly rates.

There is no interchange penalty, meaning they are only charged one day for each day they request the larger aircraft.

To access the super-midsize and large cabin fleet, you must join SFX+, which gives full fleet access.

Bengtzen adds the Pilatus is a very popular aircraft due to its short-runway access.

SkyShare’s eight-passenger configuration allows a ninth passenger with single pilot operations.

Members can pay $800 per day to guarantee a second pilot if they want a two-pilot cockpit.

READ: Why preowned fractional ownership could be hot in 2024

What’s next for SkyShare?

Bengtzen says plans call for keeping the current PSAs until at least 2027 before considering expanding east.

There are no intentions to do an IPO, although M&A is on the table via “strategic acquisitions.”

Also unlikely is a move to new private jets.

“You’ve seen all of these bottleneck restrictions when you’re reliant on the OEM to deliver you an airplane.,” he says.

He says, “When you buy a brand-new jet with other fractionals, you’re never riding on that brand-new jet. You’re riding on whatever is closest to you. It could be four, five, six years old, but the client experience is the same.”

READ: Private Jet Card Comparisons adds preowned fractional data

Related Articles

Visit DG Amazing Experiences

Find the perfect solution for your private aviation needs

Make the right decision

If you want a program-by-program comparison of more than 250 products from more than 50 companies covering 65 points of differentiation and over 40,000 data points.