May 24, 2024


Private jets are seen on the tarmac at Friedman Memorial Airport during the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference in 2022

Private jets are seen on the tarmac at Friedman Memorial Airport during the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference in 2022
Photo: Kevin Dietsch (Getty Images)

It’s hardly a secret that many executives in corporate America make personal use of corporate jets. But a Wall Street Journal analysis shows that they’re doing it way more than they used to.

The Journal examined company plane usage among S&P 500 firms using data from the corporate intelligence firm Equilar. The publication found that S&P 500 companies spent more than $50 million on personal plane travel for high-level executives last year, double the amount in 2019.

Among the most frequent flyers identified were Reed Hastings, Greg Peters, and Ted Sarandos, the founders and co-CEOs of Netflix, as well as Disney CEO Bob Iger and outgoing Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun. Collectively, their companies reported them taking $3.5 million in personal trips on company planes.

Part of the issue is that such travel would be double or even triple that price if the executives had to charter a plane themselves. Amid scrutiny from an earlier Wall Street Journal investigation, Boeing recently noted that executives received $500,000 more in corporate jet benefits than had been previously disclosed. (It is worth noting that Calhoun has to take a company plane for all travel as a matter of Boeing policy.)

The Internal Revenue Service has been cracking down on the porous border between business and pleasure trips on company jets.

“The IRS is concerned that the use of these jets isn’t being properly allocated between business and personal activities,” IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel told reporters during a February press call, according to Reuters. “This means that we are concerned people are using business aircraft for personal use, and in turn, then taking the business deduction they may not be fully entitled to. Personal use of corporate jets and other aircraft by executives and others have personal and business tax implications.”



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