NetJets Inc., formerly Executive Jet Aviation, was founded in 1964 as the first private business jet charter and aircraft management company in the world. The founding members of the board of directors included Air Force generals Curtis E. LeMay and Paul Tibbets Jr., Washington lawyer and former military pilot Bruce Sundlun, and entertainers and pilots James Stewart and Arthur Godfrey, with retired Air Force Brigadier General Olbert F. "Dick" Lassiter serving as president and chairman of the board. EJA initially began operations in 1964 with a fleet of ten Learjet 23 aircraft. Bruce Sundlun became EJA president in 1970, and Paul Tibbets became president in 1976. By the late 1970s, EJA was doing business with approximately 250 contract flying customers and logging more than three million miles per year. In 1984, Executive Jet Aviation was purchased by mathematician and former Goldman Sachs executive Richard Santulli who owned a business that leased helicopters to service providers of offshore oil operations. When Santulli became chairman and CEO of the corporation, he closely examined 22 years of pilot logbooks and began to envision a new economic model where several individuals could own one aircraft. In 1987, the NetJets program was officially announced becoming the first fractional aircraft ownership format in history. Around the same time, painted on every NetJets U.S. aircraft was a three-digit tail number punctuated with QS, symbolizing the revolutionary concept of selling Quarter Shares of an aircraft—a feature that is still representative of the NetJets brand today. One of the first quarter-share Owners of the Hawker 1000 was Berkshire Hathaway CEO, Warren Buffett, in 1995. He quickly determined the fractional ownership concept was the future of private aviation and in 1998, Berkshire Hathaway acquired EJA and NetJets Inc. NetJets soon expanded to Europe and then Russia, and by 2006 was the largest supplier of business jets in Europe and the ninth largest air carrier overall on the continent. In early August 2009 Santulli resigned as CEO and was replaced by David Sokol. NetJets Inc. has moved its corporate headquarters from New Jersey back to its original home in Columbus, Ohio, following the departure of the company's founder, Richard Santulli. In 2010, NetJets acquired Marquis Jet from founders Jesse Itzler and Kenny Dichter. The prepaid Marquis Jet card allowed customers to purchase 25 hours of guaranteed flight time on the NetJets fleet. In September 2014, NetJets acquired approval to launch its aircraft charter service in China, having worked with Chinese authorities since 2012 to secure the operating certificate.
Curtis E LeMAY Paul TIBBETTS Bruce SUNDLUN James STEWART Arthur GODFREY en others