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Aircraft Partnerships - A Good Idea?

by John M. White |

Aircraft partnerships are not new, but with the high cost of fuel and aircraft the option of owning an aircraft with partners has become more appealing.  By pooling resources and joint ownership the cost of ownership can be mitigated through the sharing of the fixed expenses of aircraft ownership like insurance, hangaring, aircraft payments etc.  While direct operating expenses such as the cost of fuel and oil are not reduced, the fixed costs are reduced. But, how to find a partner or partners?  Sometimes you can find partners by hanging around the airport or placing an ad in the local rag, but it can be difficult because of peoples variable schedules.  In addition the process of shared ownership can be complicated considering the purchase, finance, insurance, legal and tax issues related in forming a partnership. On April 22, 2008 David Kruger formed the Aircraft Partnership Association in Frisco, TX to help pilots work through the process of forming an aircraft ownership partnership.  Kruger notes that “There are three distinct phases. Phase 1 is simply finding the right partner or partners. The success of a partnership is based on people, not planes. Good partnerships are characterized by no mutual mystification about how and when the aircraft is going to be used and maintained. A bad partnership always seems to be bad due to poor communication both before and after the partnership is formed. Phase 2 is sorting out the purchase, finance, insurance, legal, and tax issues required to form the partnership. Although there are some excellent model partnership agreements to start with, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each partnership is a unique combination of variables based on aircraft itself, the country and state where it is based, what it is used for, and the pilots flying it. Phase 3 is actually operating the partnership; partners have to manage all the flight scheduling, maintenance, and bookkeeping.” To solve this issues the APA helps partners locate each other through a Virtual Pilot Lounge. which is similar in some respects to an online dating service. To help with the partnership formation APA has partnered with suppliers to provide the vital expertise to help find the right aircraft, arrange financing, insurance and answer the legal and tax issues of joint ownership. For phase 3, operating the partnership, APA will provide a suite of easy to learn and use online management tools for scheduling and more. Membership is inexpensive at $ 29/year, and for a limited time membership dues are only $ 9.99/year. If you are considering an aircraft partnership it would be worth your time to at least check out this new organization at www.theapa.com. Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7

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