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One of the luxurious Phenom 300E charter aircraft from Summit Aviation's charter fleet. PHOTO COURTESY OF SUMMIT AVIATION

Summit Aviation and CARES Act tax incentives bring flyers to private jets


By Patrick Straub

Domestic and international air travel has changed dramatically as COVID-19 has forced commercial airlines to further adjust the air travel experience. But even as travelers navigate these turbulent times, one small Bozeman-built-and-based company is helping individuals and businesses discover an alternative by educating and expanding private air charter options.

“2020, with all of its challenges, has become an exciting year for private air travel,” said Ben Walton, founder and president of Summit Aviation. “With additional tax savings created by the CARES Act added to the safety and convenience of private air charter, more business and leisure travelers are gravitating away from commercial and going private.”

For those new to private air travel, 2020 is a good year to get on board. The federal CARES Act reinstates the ability for taxpayers to deduct current year losses against the income from prior years, with the added bonus of an immediate tax refund. If a private jet is acquired as a business asset and the taxpayer uses the 100 percent depreciation option, tax refunds can backdate as far as 2015. 

Another bonus for private charters is that the Federal Excise Tax and Segment Fees are also suspended throughout the remainder of 2020 and can in some cases apply to future travel booked in 2020. Compared to the relative cost of air travel these savings are small, Walton says, but for businesses looking to prosper in these unique times, they can be an added benefit. 

“With COVID-19, we are seeing businesses rethink the typical business trip and opt to keep their employees out of the large commercial jets and extended hotel stays,” he says.

Summit Aviation President, Ben Walton pictured while giving a private tour during Summit Aviation’s Annual Cancer Survivor Flight Camp. PHOTO BY CAPTURE NOW

Business owners are seeing the advantage of their employees spending fewer nights in hotels and less time in crowded airports. The added safety and security are major reasons many businesses are discovering private aviation. And leisure travelers are following suit. 

Summit Aviation operates one of the largest and newest fleets of Phenom 300s in the country and Walton has watched the fleet take to the skies in constant operation this year. The Phenom 300 is an eight to nine passenger jet and has the reputation as one of the fastest and safest light jets in the air today. 

“On any given day we have Phenom 300s flying throughout the country,” he says. “Leisure travelers have added peace of mind because our fleet has one of the highest safety ratings in the United States.” 

Leisure travelers looking to escape the rigors of commercial air travel yet are unsure of making the leap to private can use a variety of options. From outright jet ownership or fractional ownership to pre-paying for future use or simply calling and getting price quotes, with nearly two decades of experience, Summit Aviation is a premier aviation service company. 

The company’s full fleet of state-of-the-art aircraft, expert staff of 68 charter and corporate pilots, experienced flight instructors, and aviation sales professionals are ready to take you wherever your heart desires. And in style.

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