Under a full ownership structure, an individual or entity owns 100-percent of an aircraft. Full ownership allows for the greatest level of flexibility and control over all factors relating to transportation. The aircraft owner is responsible for the level of safety, security, comfort, and cost of business travel. Aircraft operations can be managed by an in-house flight department or outsourced to an aircraft management company.

To be cost effective, full ownership generally requires a minimum level of utilization. In general, if the company plans to utilize the aircraft for at least 250 flight hours per year, full ownership is a good option. Although for some companies, the benefits of business aviation are such that they purchase and operate a whole aircraft even at less than 250 hours of utilization per year.

Through a co-ownership structure, multiple companies are able to share in ownership of an aircraft. When operating the aircraft, each co-owner is responsible for providing flight crew. The crew can be provided by the co-owner independently or through a management company.

It is important to note that aircraft co-owners are not able to charge each other for operating the aircraft. This structure should be distinguished from a joint ownership agreement which allows registered joint owners to charge each other for certain operating costs.

The NBAA Management Guide provides general background information about the operation of a business aviation flight department. It includes sections on administration, flight operations, international operations and maintenance, as well as appendices on supplemental topics.

Helpful Resources

NBAA Operating and Leasing Guide

Guidelines and considerations for common lease and management agreements with business aircraft.

A Primer for the New Flight Department: The ABCs of Legal and Tax Planning

Information and best practices to help new flight departments navigate tax and legal issues.

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Sharing Business Aircraft

An overview of business aircraft sharing options.