Companies Keep Refueling the Corporate Jet

Both money and time spent on executive corporate jets are still climbing well past pre-pandemic highs, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Photo of a private jet
Photo by Yuri G via Unsplash

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As CEOs try to force employees back to the office, their own commute is getting a whole lot cushier.

Both money and time spent on executive corporate jets are still climbing well past pre-pandemic highs, with S&P 500 companies hitting a total of $65 million on jets in 2022 and the trend looking set to continue once all the data for 2023 is in, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis published on Tuesday. While use of the corporate jet is still a very rare perk even at top companies, it looks like executives with the option are making the most of it.

Perking Up

Private jet use overall after 2020 has been on the up-and-up, with executives and celebrities spending more time in the sky than the average albatross. But companies appear to be increasingly footing the bill. The WSJ’s report mainly focuses on figures from 2022, which show a sharp 50% jump in spending from 2019. It also found that the number of companies offering the perk has risen 14% during the same time. While we don’t yet have the complete data for 2023, the WSJ said that 10 out of the 15 companies that have already reported spending on jets have increased their spending — so there’s good reason to think executive jet usage is still ramping up.

Only 216 companies offer corporate jet travel to their executives, per the WSJ, so that’s less than half of the S&P 500. But the companies that do offer it are deepening their pockets:

  • Meta spent 55% more on private jet travel for Mark Zuckerberg and then-COO Sheryl Sandberg in 2022 compared to 2019. PepsiCo also paid out twice as much on air travel over the same period for five of its executives.
  • There was an outlier in the data, however. Match Group — the conglomerate behind dating apps including Tinder and Hinge — reported zero spending on personal air travel from 2020 to 2022, per the WSJ’s analysis.

That’s One Way to Avoid Traffic: Not all the trips are necessarily the exotic kind of corporate travel glamorized by shows like Succession. Rather than flying off to spar with rival billionaires in Italy or Norway, some executives are using jets for their morning commute, as a Wall Street Journal report last year found that Boeing’s CEO David Calhoun has been flying from his two homes to the company’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.