Oct. 17, 2018

The benefits of corporate shuttle operations, and processes to begin a corporate shuttle program, were in focus at Corporate Shuttle 2.0 education session at NBAA’s Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE).

Matthew Grunenwald, a PhD candidate at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, said the generally accepted definition of “corporate shuttle” is a company with “multiple operating bases… instituting a scheduled flight operation between those bases to save both time and money relative to airline service,” and added that corporate shuttle aircraft range in size and type.

Ultimate Jetcharter operates eight Dornier 328 jets, each with seating for 30 passengers. Jeff Moneypenny, vice president of sales at Ultimate Jetcharter, shared that in his experience, many corporate shuttles are used to support merger and acquisition projects, which tend to be short-term programs, or to support projects in remote locations, such as oil and gas operations, which tend to be long-term arrangements.

Convenience, ability of employees to be home with their families each day and lower hotel and meal costs are just some of the benefits for companies using corporate shuttles. As one example of time-savings, Moneypenny highlighted the man-hours spent in traditional airline wait time before flights or between connecting flights.

“It provides the company with a turn-key solution to its travel needs,” he said.

How can a flight department implement a corporate shuttle program? Can a corporate shuttle program be shared?

Aaron Goerlich, partner at Garafalo Goerlich Hainbach PC, said a first step in implementing a corporate shuttle program is deciding if the operations will be commercial or non-commercial. Under an FAA-certificated air carrier for commercial operations, a shuttle may be split by two organizations, assuming each company has a contract with the air carrier that allocates seats and outlines payment responsibilities.

Department of Transportation (DOT) Part 380 public charter may be an option. However, to operate as a public charter, the company must comply with DOT Part 380, which includes financial security requirements, specific filings and contracts.

For non-commercial operations, the company itself holds operational control, may not hold out (that is, advertise) to the public and may not accept compensation for transportation. Generally, this does not require air carrier certification by the FAA, although companies operating aircraft with 20 or more passenger seats, or more than 6,000 pounds maximum payload capacity, must hold a Part 125 operating certificate.

Part 91 Subpart F options, including affiliated group, interchange, timesharing and joint ownership operations, may be appropriate non-commercial options for some corporate shuttle programs.

Goerlich cautioned attendees of a few potential pitfalls in corporate shuttle programs, including tax applicability, DOT citizenship requirements and foreign licensing requirements.

Learn more about corporate shuttles in a recent Business Aviation Insider article.

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