NetJets, a private aviation company, and its sister company, FlightSafety International, have selected Columbus, Ohio, as the site for a major expansion that will create at least 810 new jobs. The expansion will double the size of FlightSafety, creating one of the largest flight training facilities in the world.
NetJets was founded in 1964 as a jet aircraft charter company and is now owned by Berkshire Hathaway. In 1986, NetJets CEO Richard T. Santulli introduced the concept of fractional aircraft ownership, which allows individuals and companies to buy a share of a private business jet at a fraction of the cost of whole aircraft ownership. According to company figures, the number of owner shares has grown from approximately 1,500 in the late ’90s to more than 7,000 expected this year. The company currently employs nearly 7,300 people worldwide. NetJets also offers aircraft management, charter management and on-demand charter service through its subsidiary, Executive Jet Management.
FlightSafety (also owned by Berkshire Hathaway) currently operates 43 aviation training centers in the United States, Canada, France and the United Kingdom. The company trains more than 75,000 pilots each year.
In the coming years, NetJets and FlightSafety plan to invest more than $200 million to grow their existing Columbus campus from 19 acres to more than 120. The expansion is expected to add a minimum of 810 jobs to the existing workforce of 2,022. FlightSafety will more than double the number of its existing simulators, creating its largest concentration of simulators in the country and attracting large numbers of pilots on a daily basis from outside Ohio for training.