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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) authorized the Treasury Department to provide up to $32 billion to compensate aviation industry workers and preserve jobs. This included both commercial and private aviation companies. Here’s a look at the largest private jet and jet card companies that received some of this funding.

If you are looking at buying a jet card it could be reassuring to know that the company received Payroll Support Program Payments under the CARES Act. After all, it means that this helped the company keep employees engaged and the aircraft well maintained. Just one major jet card provider, JetSuite, filed for bankruptcy and this was at the start of the pandemic. Since that time demand for private jets has rebounded, suggesting that companies are seeing improvements in their finances.

OneSky Flight, which counts Flexjet, Sentient Jet, FXAir and PrivateFly among its brands was the largest private aviation recipient at $84,362,984. Three of these entities, Flexjet, Sentient and PrivateFly offer jet cards, with Sentient generally being considered the inventor of the jet card. Flexjet is also one of the largest fractional jet operators, and the companies are ultimately part of Directional Aviation.

Private aviation membership company Wheels Up received the second largest amount at $74,227,036. Wheels Up has grown rapidly and has acquired several other aviation providers over the last couple of years.

Van Nuys, California based Clay Lacy Aviation came in third with $26,937,934. The company manages over 100 aircraft and while it doesn’t have a formal card program, their Clay Lacy Preferred membership offers preferred charter rates and guaranteed availability for a minimum deposit of $100,000.

Jet Linx head quartered in Omaha, Nebraska received $20,033,063. The company has 19 base locations around the country and manages over 100 aircraft. They offer an Enterprise Jet Card and an Affiliate Jet Card with different levels of access to the fleet.

XOJET offers a variety of membership plans, with the “Elite Access” membership providing jet card like fixed hourly rates and guaranteed availability with 24-hour notice. XOJET Aviation operates several mid-size and larger aircraft and received $13,146,562.

NetJets, owned by Berkshire Hathaway, was a notable exception on the list. NetJets said they did not apply for any funds and cited their “unmatched financial stability.”

A list of major private aviation companies and amounts received includes:

    One Sky Flight LLC $84,362,984
    Wheels Up Partners Holdings LLC $74,227,036
    Clay Lacy Aviation INC. $26,937,934
    Jet Linx Aviation LLC $20,033,063
    XOJET Aviation LLC $13,146,562
    Western Air Charter INC. $11,485,372
    Southern Airways Corporation $8,291,546
    Mountain Aviation Inc $7,173,077
    Exclusive Jets LLC $7,098,628
    Corporate Flight Management Inc. $6,993,262
    Executive Flight Services LLC $6,928,679
    Cobalt Air LLC $6,889,049
    Talon Air LLC $5,202,329


While the amounts received by the private aviation companies may seem large, the commercial airlines received much bigger sums under the CARES Act. American, Delta, United and Southwest each received at least $3 billion of payroll support, plus further amounts as loans.