December 4, 2008— -- After a lengthy public flogging for flying private jets to Washington to ask for a multi-billion dollar bailout, the Big Three auto CEOs rolled into town in more modest, fuel-efficient cars Wednesday.
GM and Ford announced plans this week to sell off their corporate aircraft, and they're hardly alone. A bad economy -- and bad press -- are spurring more corporations to hock their fancy private jets.
Troubled banking giant Citigroup has quietly put up for sale two of its planes, richly-outfitted Falcon 900EXs, according to online advertisements and public records. The planes seat twelve passengers in ample club chairs, a divan and a single "VIP seat," amid mahogany woodwork with gold trim, according to the ads. The planes' asking prices are not listed, but similar aircraft are advertised for $30 million.
The company last week negotiated a $300 billion deal with the U.S. government to "backstop" its potential losses and keep from going under.
A Citi spokeswoman declined to confirm the planes were for sale, which was first reported on the Web site CityFile.com. In a written statement, she claimed the company had reduced the size of its air fleet by two thirds over the last eight years, and said that executives "are encouraged to fly commercial whenever possible to reduce expenses."
Also selling planes is foundering insurance giant AIG, which has taken $150 billion in U.S. taxpayer money to stay alive. It has three planes on the market, including one it has ordered but is not scheduled to receive until next year.
Of the planes for sale it currently possesses, one is a nearly-new 2007 Falcon 2000EX. Its brief life with the company began earlier this year, around the time AIG's troubles began to be publicly known.
AIG executives could enjoy the aircraft's "Ultraleather" club seating, store refreshments in its custom cabinetry, and enjoy drinking water from its UV water treatment system, according to the list of features in the plane's online ad. The jet also features "convenient tie downs for golf bags or skis," the ad claims.