Flight Options Press Release

Flight Options Finalizes Deal with Raytheon Travel Air

Flight Options and Raytheon Travel Air signed contracts today finalizing the deal to combine operations into one fractional aircraft ownership program

Flight Options, Inc., a Cleveland-based provider of fractional shares in jet aircraft, and Wichita-based Raytheon Travel Air, a division of Raytheon Company, a Lexington, Mass.-based defense contractor, signed contracts today finalizing the deal to combine operations into one fractional aircraft ownership program. 

The new organization, known as Flight Options, becomes the second largest fractional ownership provider with more than 1,600 share-owners and a combined fleet of approximately 200 aircraft, both new and pre-owned – including the youngest fleet of new aircraft in the industry and the largest Beechjet fleet in the world.

Fractional jet ownership allows several owners to own a share of a jet, typically one-sixteenth or larger, entitling each owner to a fixed amount of annual flight time.  Owners pay a monthly management fee and hourly rate based on the type of aircraft and share size purchased.

Flight Options will continue to operate out of Cleveland and will employ more than 1,500 individuals including 900 pilots.  More than 300 additional jobs, including positions in dispatch, mechanics, information technology, Owner Services Representatives and other support functions will be filled in Cleveland, some by Raytheon employees transferring from the Wichita area.

Under terms of the agreement, Flight Options will hold 50.1 percent ownership of the new business with Raytheon holding 49.9 percent.  Kenn Ricci, who remains Chairman and CEO of the combined operation, said, “Up until now we have focused our efforts on integrating the employees into the system, reviewing aircraft operations and aligning Owners Services and operations personnel.  Our next step, combining operations, will take place March 30.”  Ricci adds that the transition period was a tremendously smooth process and looks forward to the synergy the combined companies will create.

Flight Options became a major player in the fractional industry by offering shares of previously owned jets.  Flight Options determined that it would be beneficial to add new-aircraft programs to its existing value-added product lines.  Ricci added, “There is a substantial market with prospects that will only acquire and fly in new aircraft.  With the combination of Travel Air, we have the desired product offerings.”

To meet the demands of its rapid growth, Flight Options is expanding its state-of-the-art Operations Control Center (OCC), which monitors every aspect of flight operations.  The original design was modeled after the control centers of NASA’s Houston center and Delta Airlines’ facilities in Atlanta, Georgia.  Phase I, which was recently completed, doubled the size of the previous center.  Once construction is complete, scheduled for Summer 2003, the new OCC will be five times larger than the present facility and will accommodate a fleet of more than 500 aircraft.

The newly combined company will place $1.7 billion worth of new aircraft orders, including a minimum of 115 aircraft on order with Raytheon Aircraft Company.   The company has also committed to 25 Fairchild-Dornier Envoy 7’s for delivery beginning in 2004.  Flight Options will also continue to actively acquire aircraft in the open market for its pre-owned aircraft product lines.

Founded in 1998, Flight Options pioneered the concept of offering shares in previously owned jets.  This allowed the company to present a cost savings of 35% on comparable programs offered by their competitors, opening private jet travel to a broader audience.  With the addition of factory-new jets to its fleet, the company continues to be an innovator in the industry and will announce a new pricing strategy in early April.  Flight Options offers fractional shares in approximately 200 aircraft, including the King Air, CitationJet, Beechjet 400A, Citation V, Citation III, Hawker 800A, Hawker 800XP, Falcon 50, Challenger 601 and Gulfstream IV."

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