Archive for Wednesday, March 13, 2013

KU preparing to buy share of new private plane

March 13, 2013


Past coverage of KU's private planes

• 2009: Budget cuts may ground KU planes

• 2007: KU defends blocking flight info

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An upcoming purchase of a share in a private jet will cost Kansas University about $290,000, but it will also amount to a downsizing of KU’s private flight capabilities.

KU is nearing completion of a contract with the Executive AirShare for a 25 percent ownership in a Phenom 100, a four-seat jet, KU spokesman Jack Martin said. The $289,000 cost will be paid entirely by private funds from the KU Endowment Association.

The share is in addition to an eight-seat Citation Bravo jet that KU owns in full.

The new plane share will replace KU’s 50 percent ownership in a five-seat King Air C90B turbo prop, the contract for which is expiring.

The new contract will allow for 80 days of use per year, compared with 160 under the old one. It will also seat fewer people.

Martin said the university had determined it no longer needed as much private air travel capacity as it had before.

“This is part of a comprehensive look that we’ve done at how to be most efficient when it comes to the use of aircraft,” Martin said.

Ongoing costs for the new jet will likely be a bit higher than they were for the prop plane, Martin said, but the Executive AirShare company is phasing out its use of the King Air plane.

And the new share will also prevent increasing maintenance costs that were likely to result from further use of the King Air prop plane, which was manufactured in 1998, Martin said. The new jet is a 2010 model, for which KU opted over a 2012 model because of the lower cost.

“Like cars, planes also get costlier to maintain” as they get older, Martin said.

The KU Medical Center’s outreach programs for rural Kansas account for about 75 percent of the usage of the shared plane, Martin said.

The plane allows doctors to spend less time in transit as they travel to far-flung corners of the state, Martin said, meaning they have more time to see patients.

“Our doctors and folks have to cover a lot of ground, and this is one way that we can be most effective with their time and their talents,” Martin said.

Individual departments at KU that use the planes must pay for the cost of flights they make.

Right now that cost is $2,160 per hour for the jet and $995 for the shared prop plane. Those prices will likely change in the new fiscal year, which starts in July, Martin said.

The Medical Center is the heaviest user of KU’s planes, making about half of the flights. Kansas Athletics makes the next most flights at about 25 percent.

KU’s total cost for the operations of its aircraft in the 2012 fiscal year, which ended last summer, was $1.4 million, Martin said.


Clickker 4 years, 10 months ago

How many of those 80 days have already been reserved by Bernie GrayLittle and her husband?

Katara 4 years, 10 months ago

Well, since according to the article about 75% of the use is by KU Med and about 25% is used by KU Athletics, I'd say probably none.

But don't let facts get in the way for your cheap shot.

merickson 4 years, 10 months ago

To be clear: That 25 percent number for Athletics is for flights made on BOTH of KU's planes, not just this partially owned one.


Matt Erickson, KU reporter

Katara 4 years, 10 months ago

To be clear, nothing in your article stated that the Chancellor would use (or has used) either.

Katara 4 years, 10 months ago

The only instance you've come up with so far is usage during the interview process. That's before she was hired and also a courtesy extended to the other candidates that were considered.

If you had anything to indicate that she uses the University private planes, you would have posted it.

BlackVelvet 4 years, 10 months ago

The Chancellor usually flies commercial, not via KU planes.

Katara 4 years, 10 months ago

Why not? You value their reporting enough to post here.

The facts do not support Clickker's opinion. It was a cheap shot at the Chancellor.

Katara 4 years, 10 months ago

Oh, she flew during her interview. That would be before she was hired and that was most likely a courtesy extended to all the candidates.

She has been Chancellor how long? And how many private plane trips has she and her husband taken since then? Because Clickker clearly implies that she (and her husband) is taking advantage of the private planes (that's the snide [not snarky, snarky has humor] part from Clickker).

Katara 4 years, 10 months ago

It wasn't an innocent just wanting info question. There was an implication that the Chancellor and her husband would take advantage of the private planes when there has been no indication and no history of either of them doing so.

If Clickker was just curious about the usage by the Chancellor, there would have been no need to include her husband. Clickker's inclusion of her husband also has the the implication that the private plane would be used for non-job related activities.

You made a claim. You can't back it up.

And the history of a completely different Chancellor is no indication that the current one would behave in the same manner.

bballwizard 4 years, 10 months ago

Don't hate the players. Hate the game e

arch007bak 4 years, 10 months ago

What difference does it make to anyone here whether or not the Chancellor uses a University-owned private plane or at least one the University owns a share of? The cost of this particular plane is from private funds. I have no idea if tax money pays for their use and I doubt anyone commenting does either.

bad_dog 4 years, 10 months ago

"Common" where? Your mind?

Let the hearsay and innuendo commence...

Lawrence_Pilot 4 years, 10 months ago

Not when it's KUEA's funds! They are private, and they buy the planes.

But, of course, sending KUMC docs and nurses around the state is paid by tax dollars, unless KUEA or some other non-profit is paying for it, which I've never heard to be the case. So the $2000/hr. to operate the jet is a direct tax expenditure.

What bugs me is that a jet is just overkill for in-state trips, especially with multiple stops. From Lawrence to say, Dodge City, a jet probably saves about 7 min. over the King Air turboprop. But costs 2X as much to operate. That's just not a good savings. They could have found another King Air to buy a share in, or bought one outright. Plus, the King Air is built in Wichita, the Phenom in Brazil (or Florida).

Once again, I have to ask the question: What do KU's peer universities do? Does Nebraska own two jets? Iowa State? I really, really doubt it. Jets just don't offer significant time savings over turboprops on trips under 500 mi.

I think the real issue is that passengers (those who don't pay for them) prefer jets. That's why KU is getting out of the turboprop business.

dougfirst 4 years, 10 months ago

The chancellor here at KU deserves some cheap shots. She is a total joke and is pathetic.

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