Most Mumbaiites would have considered carpooling in these days of soaring fuel prices, but some of the city's rich have gone one step further. A recent trend has been to co-own small airplanes and even superbikes, especially Harley-Davidsons.
Take Amit Biswas, 59, who owns Ambico, an offshore construction support service. He is looking to pool money with three friends and buy a used five-seater plane for under Rs1 crore. What pinches is the annual maintenance cost, which comes to 10% of the aircraft cost.
"By combining finances (pooling), even people who otherwise can't afford a plane can afford it. These smaller planes can be best used for pilgrimage and opportunity in this (small plane) category is immense," said Hemant Luthra, director, Mahindra Group, which is developing a small plane, C-NM5, priced at Rs1.4 crore to Rs1.8 crore, with National Aerospace Laboratory.
"The idea is to go flying on weekends with family and friends," said Biswas, who will soon get his private pilot's licence (PPL) from the Bombay Flying Club.
"Every one wants to fly and fractional ownership works out to be very convenient," said C Kumar, chief instructor at the Bombay Flying Club.
"The first plane I own will be with funds pooled in with a friend. This will make things easier during my learning stage," said Akshay Jain, who runs a real estate business in Mumbai.
Mid-level executives, who can't afford co-owning planes, are going in for superbikes. Anuj Anand, 30, an independent consultant from Chembur, will soon be co-owner of a Harley Davidson with five of his friends. Each one will pool in around Rs 2.5 lakh.