New England Patriots Solve Charter Issues By Purchasing Two B767s

Filed Under: Travel

Earlier this year I wrote about how American Airlines was dropping the charter contracts for several NFL teams. Apparently capacity is becoming constrained as airlines retire some of the widebodies that can carry an entire NFL team’s players, coaches, staff, and equipment. I also speculated that the airlines may just be redeploying assets to more lucrative markets.

Either way, a number of teams were left to arrange transportation for the upcoming season. At least two teams, the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers, have contracted with charter operator Miami Air. The Jacksonville Jaguars have also arranged their own private charter, though the company has not yet been disclosed.

But the New England Patriots took a different tack.

Patriots become first NFL team to own their own planes

EPSN is reporting that the New England Patriots bought two Boeing 767s, configured exclusively with premium seating. One plane will be used as their primary transport while the other will serve as a backup. And both may be chartered out to other teams when the Patriots aren’t using them.

Flight operations will run out of Providence, Rhode Island, which is actually closer to the Patriots training facility in Foxborough, Massachusetts, than Boston Logan. TF Green Airport is also less congested, of course.

Bleacher Report is reporting that they paid $10 million for both planes, which is significantly less than the $200 million list price for a new one. Then again, Delta has been acquiring second hand planes for a few years now, citing the downward pressure in the used market. On the other hand, charter costs for a roughly ten game season are estimated to be as much as $4 million per team.

There’s an old adage that if it flies, floats, or ahem, fornicates, you should rent it, not buy it.

But in this case, with a simple payback of just 2.5 years, it seems that buying may be economically viable. I’m not sure what the operating and maintenance costs will be, though let’s hope they have a service contract, lest the tires become improperly inflated.

There are added benefits of owning your own plane of course. The Patriots — always looking for an edge, legal or otherwise — have supposedly installed high tech options such as smart toilets that can help detect dehydration issues in players. I can only imagine Spirit is also looking into this technology, as it would presumably open up an added stream of revenue.

The part that I’m not yet sure about is where the Patriots found the planes. It is well known that President Donald Trump is good friends with Tom Brady, Robert Kraft, and other members of the Patriots, so perhaps they went shopping for used planes together. Except to Coach Bill Belichick, the already installed spy capabilities of the Russian jets would have been considered a feature, not a bug.

Coach Bill Belichick (from Wikimedia Commons)

Bottom line

The New England Patriots have become the first NFL team to buy its own planes, having purchased two Boeing 767 aircraft. It will be interesting to see which other teams follow suit.

What do you make of the New England Patriots buying their own planes?

(Tip of the hat to Ask Lucky reader Billy)

  1. $10m for two 767s seems like a real steal. Of course how much did they spend on fit out of the interior?

  2. It makes more sense, with all the money these teams have they could buy better planes, but this was a smart move, and the fact they can charter them out to other teams.

  3. Wonder who holds the AOC?

    It isn’t all roses owning planes.

    The direct and indirect operating costs will make the purchase price look like peanuts. You can’t take $10m and divide by 4 to come up with ownership cost. Not by a long shot.

    I’m not saying it won’t work for them, but your ‘rent’ adage hits a chord here.

    Good luck to them!

  4. @Travis Thank You along with everyone at One Mile at a time. It means a lot that you truly gave me a tip of a hat. I am forever thankful!

  5. $10M to buy planes versus $4M a year for charter does not mean the payback is 2.5 years. The charter cost includes the fuel, the pilots and everything else. I have a feeling those things cost a lot and are not part of the purchase price.

  6. There is a reason most large corporations frown upon or do not allow their top leadership to fly on the same airplane. If the plane crashes and inevitably everybody dies, there’s nobody to run the company. If you Google ‘List of plane crashes involving sports teams’ or something similar, there is a list going back to 1948 through 2016 of entire teams (or nearly entire teams, as well as coaches, boosters, etc.) wiped out in plane crashes. The one that comes to mind for me personally is the 1961 crash that took the lives of the entire U.S. figure skating team, because 3 people from my home town died in that crash. But you can also look at the Italian national swimming team in 1966, the Puerto Rico women’s national volleyball team, the Wichita State Univ. and Marshall State Univ. football teams, all in 1970, the men’s basketball team from the University of Evansville in 1977, the US amateur boxing team in 1980, Zambia’s national football team in 1993, Men’s basketball team fro Oklahoma State Univ. in 2001, and then the Women’s basketball team from Oklahoma State in 2011! Wow, talk about lightening striking twice! Other modes of transportation, if there are crashes, don’t typically lead to wiping out everybody in the train, bus, van, etc. The Patriots purchase will look smart, especially if they can manage the associated costs — as long as there’s no tragedy associated with it.

  7. I wonder what they will do with these planes for the six months out of the year when there is no football? Maybe there’s another use they have in mind. In any event, I think it’s great. Surprised MLB teams don’t go this route given their much larger travel schedule.

    @M.B. – I’m missing your point, charter planes have risk potential so I’m not sure why this purchase would raise risk.

  8. Donna, I think the article mentioned that when the planes have ‘down-time’ (which could be off-season or during a buy week I suppose) they can rent them out. With regard to charter flights having the risk just as the Patriots’ two planes would, I don’t think you can get any better maintenance and mechanical professionals than with the major commercial and charter providers who do this day in and day out year-round. You may feel that’s a matter of degree, and you may be right, but I’ll take that extra measure of professionalism and experience any day.

  9. The two 767s were sourced from Ireland I believe. There were 4 for sale total with an ask of $11.5m each, and a listing I’ve seen says that two were sold (presumably to the Patriots). The listing was by Mach Aviation Services Ltd. The airframes are roughly 15 years old, but that’s not an issue with the limited use they will see in the NFL.

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