Crikey has been reporting a few skerricks about Australia’s private jet owners to subscribers over the past two weeks and now packages up this summary for the site and is looking for your feedback to build up definitive lists of current and past private jet owners.

Crikey’s list of corporate jet owners

This is the list as it now stands but there must be heaps more entries and we’re keen for your feedback, send any corrections or additions to lists and anyone who comes up with five corrections or additions for any single list will be entitled to a free subscription.

BHP Billiton: has a fleet but the local plane is a Cessna Citation jet;

Gary Connell: (Kalgoorlie Businessman) has a jet which we think he bought off Ross Atkins (WA gold miner based in Meekatharra) when Ross went bust. Ross Atkins is Tammy Atkins Dad. Tammy is ex-WA Young Lib President who works for Sophie Panopolous in Wangaratta.

Esso Australia: given that BHP have one it is appropriate that their partner in Bass Strait also indulges and believe it is a Cessna Citation jet.

John Gandel: the shopping centre king lends his Cessna Citation jet to Foster’s CEO Ted Kunkel for occasional use. He’s also reported to have a Gulfstream III like Solomon Lew.

Jack and Bob Ingham: The Ingham brothers have two horse studs, one at Denman and one at Cootamundra, both in NSW. A few years ago they apparently donated $200,000 to Cootamundra Council to extend the towns runway so they can fly down in their learjet for the weekend. Most of their wealth comes from chickens.

John Howard (or whoever leads the country): The PM’s new planes have started arriving – replacing the two 707s and five Falcon 900s with two Boeing Business Jets (737s) and three Challenger 604s.

Brad Keeling: more likely to still have his Cessna Citation Jet than Jodee Rich because it still appears on the recent ownership records.

Solomon Lew: has a Gulfstream III but is said to be about to upgrade which is rumoured to be why Dick Pratt is also keen to upgrade just now as they have the biggest private planes in Melbourne.

Frank Lowy: the Westfield billionaire flies all over the world in it and we presume charges Westfield Holdings shareholders for the pleasure. Lowy has a GIV but his new plane arrangements are up in the air having cancelled an order for a Global Express recently;

McCaffertys: who would have thought but we hear the Toowoomba-based bus company actually has a lear jet.

Lachlan Murdoch: gets around in a Gulfstream IV when he’s in Australia.

Rupert Murdoch: Crikey has a stack of photos of his 727 with little winglets from last year’s AGM in Adelaide but he also gets around in a Gulfstream V when not carrying many passengers.

Greg Norman: has a GV just like Rupert’s.

Bob Oatley: The billionaire founder or Rosemount gets between vineyards in a Cessna Citation jet.

Kerry Packer: Think it’s a Falcon but not sure. Consolidated Press is also listed as the owner of a Sikorsky S76 Helicopter. The pilot Nick Ross is obviously a great mate having donated that kidney. Kerry’s hangar also at one stage included a four-engined Douglas DC-8: not so much to transport Kerry, but his polo horses around the world.

Nick Paspaley: the Greek family dominate Australia’s pearling industry from Darwin and Broome and even run an air charter business but own a Falcon as their person play thing to get them from the pearling operations back to the rural properties in NSW and elsewhere. They once loaned their Falcon to PM Keating when Australia’s Air Force One cracked a windscreen

PBL/Crown: A Gulfstream G IV is currently leased by Crown to fly in high roller gamblers to Melbourne.

Dick Pratt: in the process of spending up to $100 million buying a second hand Bombadier from Canada and trading in his existing Gulfstream for an estimated $35 million.

Queensland Government: Peter Beattie gets around in a Hawker 800XP (VH-SGY).

Jodee Rich: owned a Cessna citation jet but doubt he’s still got it.

Dick Smith: used to have his own Citation jet – don’t know if he still has it.

Kerry Stokes: has a Falcon 900 which he lent to the AFL last year to fly the umpires around during the finals after Ansett collapsed.

Ric Stowe: sold his 727 on moving to Monaco but the Griffin Coal man still maintains a helicopter and pilot in Perth.

Lang Walker: the colourful Sydney property developer has a Cessna Citation Jet.

Weis/Home: this Toowoomba-based ice-cream concern is rumoured to have a Lear jet.

Former private jet owners:

This list is far more interesting but we’ll need your help to compile it.

ANZ Bank: had a jet – a Falcon I think – with the registration VH-III. The pilots just called themselves ‘Triple India’ and I heard fly into Perth late one night to pick up some urgent transplant organs and take them back east. ANZ have since sold their global operations they bought from Grindlays so the need for jet has long gone.

BHP-Rio Tinto: the big boys of mining jointly owned a company called Associated Airlines which had a Bombadier Challenger 601 and a Gulfstream G IV. They closed the company down a few years back and are said to have put 50 people out of work.

Alan Bond: as the biggest entrepreneur of them all he naturally whizzed around in a private jet during the 1980s. In fact, Bond Corp had a fleet of jets and even a terminal at Perth airport. The flagship was a Boeing 727, and it joined a couple of three-engined Falcon 900s, and they all had indentical white with blue stripe paintwork.

Coca Cola Amatil: used to own a Bombadier Challenger 600 back in the days of Dean Wills but they’ve got rid of it as part of the austerity program.

Coles Myer: Former CEOs Brian Quinn and Peter Bartels used to really enjoy it until Stan Wallis came in as chairman and flogged it.

Laurie Connell: I recall seeing something about the sale of a jet somewhere in the McCusker report into Rothwells.

Foster’s Brewing Group: under John Elliott and Peter Bartels had jets, choppers, private golf courses and the like.

John Freidrich: he certainly had plenty of choppers at the NSC before it collapsed and he committed suicide.

Grollo Brothers: their Bombadier Challenger 601 was sold a few years back with the suggestion being that it helped pay a tax bill.

Joe Gutnick: did a quick sale and leaseback with GE when he hit the wall but is now said to have lost the thing altogether.

Lang Hancock (and later Rose): had a Canadair Challenger 600, VH-LRH.

Robert Holmes a Court: the late entrepreneur had a former TAA Boeing 727 with his trademark maroon stripe and coat of arms on the tail.

Shell Australia: had one to fly Ric Charlton around during the 90’s based at Essendon but they sold it not long after Roland Williams took over.

Ric Stowe: the West Australian made his millions from Griffin Coal but got cleaned up by his wife in a divorce case and moved to Monaco so he sold the 727 but still maintains a helicopter and pilot in Perth.

Karl Suleman: the fraudulent founder of had a Cessna Citation jet which is now being sold.

Robert Trimbole: or his son or someone else in his family, used to fly a Citation jet out of Moorabbin many years back.


Private jet coverage from the Crikey email:

Sealed section on 5 April 2002:

Cardboard mogul Richard Pratt has just ordered a new private plane that is, to his current craft, what a Rolls Royce is to a Raser scooter. Capable of outflying a surface to air missile, the Canadian built jet comes with a price tag of $US50 million. That, of course, is before fit-out, which will cost another $15 million. Wife Jeanie is said to be mulling over upholstery colours at this very moment and we wonder what Shari-Lea makes of it all.

For Dick to be splashing this sort of cash around business must be really booming and one source reckons his empire recorded a pre-tax profit of $750 million last year. No doubt a $100 million corporate jet would be a nice tax deduction.

Correction on Dick Pratt’s plane

Sealed section on 8 April 2002:

Dick Pratt’s spin doctor Tony Gray rang yesterday worried I’d be going on Virginia Trioli’s ABC Melbourne program repeating some of the lines used with Sally Loane on ABC Sydney last Friday.

We had a friendly chat which did not reflect the tone of his earlier email which I hadn’t opened and is published below.

The key point is that Dick will only be spending $US35 million on his new jet, not the $US57 million that we suggested. And they will only be upgrading because the current 7-year old Gulfstream requires a major overhaul and the second hand market is strong such that Dick should be able to trade it for about $US18 million after paying $US20 million back in 1995.

Anyway, this is Tony Gray’s spray:

Yet again I find myself having to send you a corrective email about ridiculously inaccurate copy you have posted on (sic) without bothering to check first.

Today’s report about Richard buying a new plane is absolutely not true. What is true, is that the company’s existing plane is due for very substantial maintenance in the next several months, and the company is examining the options of spending the money on maintenance or changing the plane over for a new one.

No order has been placed.

Your figures on the estimated costs of both purchase price and fit outs are also wildly inaccurate. If the new plane was to be purchased it would cost in the order of $35 million US including fit out. That figure would be reduced dramatically by the (trade in value) of the existing plane.

Please set the record straight.

Tony Gray

The Paspaley’s private jet

Sealed section 12 April 2002:

We had a few additions to the private jet list yesterday as follows:

“The Paspaleys (Pearls, Darwin and Broome) own one Falcon. The previous model was once loaned to PM Keating when Australia’s Air Force One cracked a windscreen.”


Another subscriber said he’d searched some jet ownership records and came up with the following owners of Cessna’s, which are Citation jets:

“Froggy Holdings, Inghams, Brad Keeling, John Gandel, Dick Smith, Lang Walker, Bob Oatley through Rosemount Estates and Melbourne’s Daily Planet brothel, just to name a few.”

And another subscriber writes:

Expanding the list of private jet owners to include helicopters, over the Easter break this subscriber witnessed, as I paddled past on my kayak, the largest ‘motor’ cruiser in Sugarloaf Bay (Middle Harbour – Sydney) some 4 storeys high going by the name of Ilona(?). Apparently owned by Frank Lowy (Westfields), and ‘parked’ on top a helicopter. I can say categorically, it was the only ‘ship’ in the bay with a helicopter on top. It was a very tight fit for this craft to fit through the Spit Bridge opening. What an absolute crass display of wealth.


CRIKEY: For one of the biggest countries it is still pretty disappointing that there aren’t more corporate jets out there. The names we mentioned the other day were: Gandel, Lew, Lowy, Murdoch, Packer, Pratt and Stokes so it is getting better.

But surely as a nation our size we can do better than this. Anyone else got any more names they could send in?