“When you get into the larger aircraft it becomes like a hotel, with dozens of staff supporting the plane based in a galley area down below. You have very comprehensive cooking facilities, and on larger aircraft we have looked at theatres, with spiral staircases and a Steinway grand piano. The limitations for what you can put inside a plane are pretty much the limits of physics, and even money cannot always overcome that. Even so, people are still always trying to push [the limits]. ”
Industry Pioneer Richard Santulli Resigns
Richard Santulli resigned as chairman and CEO of NetJets, which has been owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway since 1998. [See related stories on pages 4 and 50.--Ed.] Santulli founded the firm, which introduced the fractional-ownership concept, in 1986. He will remain with the company as a consultant for at least a year.
Some sources suggest that NetJets' financial troubles might have led to Santulli's resignation. Just three days after his announcement, the company reported that revenues in the first half of this year were $1.024 billion lower than in the first half of 2008--a 42-percent drop. According to Berkshire Hathaway, the decline reflected an 81-percent reduction in aircraft sales and a 22-percent cut in flight-operations revenues.
David Sokol, who had been chairman at Berkshire-owned MidAmerican Energy Holdings, is now chairman and interim CEO of NetJets and has announced a new management structure. In addition, the company has confirmed that it is moving its headquarters from Woodbridge, N.J., to Columbus, Ohio.