Globe-trotting with Bill and Warren

Now, doesn’t this scene look like loads of fun? Bill Gates and Warren Buffett hanging out on a Boeing Business Jet, totally relaxed, drinking soda, playing cards and talking biz? It’s not fun as in Hooters Air kind of fun, but the actual plane looks better. (If you look very closely, you will notice that Warren reads The New York Times, not The Wall Street Journal. Who knew?)

This is an actual ad for NetJets, a company Warren Buffett bought in 1998, I saw in The Economist this week. Netjets provide fractional jet ownership programs to those who find your typical first class cabin simply suffocating.

I wonder how much Warren had to pay Bill in order to be in his ad?

Private Jet Market Hits Europe

Although the U.S. accounts for 3/4ths of the world’s business jet fleet, a start-up aims to make inroads in Europe, according to the Financial Times. Hopefully coming in 2009, JetBird will be based in Switzerland, and offer Europe’s first low-cost, on-demand private jet service. The youthful founder, Domhnal Slattery has a pedigree, having gotten his start in the industry under Tony Ryan (Ryanair).

JetBird hopes to compete with business-class prices, and come in at half the price of the industry’s biggest operator, NetJets (owned by Warren Buffett).

They claim the market is there: Europe is home to a larger population than the U.S., and there are 2.8 million individuals with assets exceeding $1 million dollars (compared to the U.S.’s 2.9m).

The best part, if you can afford it? They’ll wait for you, if you’re stuck in traffic getting to the airport.