Bailed-Out Bank of America Sells Company Airplanes

February 4, 2009 - 2:44 PM
Bank of America Corp. said Wednesday it is selling some of its corporate aircraft as the bank looks to scale back costs.
Charlotte, N.C. (AP) - Bank of America Corp. said Wednesday it is selling some of its corporate aircraft as the bank looks to scale back costs.
 
The move comes as many financial firms are giving up private jet travel as scrutiny mounts over lavish spending after the companies received billions of dollars in rescue funds.
 
Since October, Charlotte-based Bank of America has received $45 billion in government assistance, including a $20 billion injection last month to help with its troubled Merrill Lynch & Co. acquisition.
 
"As part of an ongoing cost reduction effort we have been scaling back on our use of corporate aircraft including selling three aircraft we own and the Merrill Lynch helicopter," Bank of America spokesman Scott Silvestri said.
 
Bank of America is the owner of nine planes, including four Gulfstreams, FAA records show. The company acquired brokerage Merrill Lynch & Co. in January.
 
Chief Executive Ken Lewis is required to use company aircraft for personal trips. In 2007, his personal use of company jets totaled $127,643, according to a March 2008 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
 
On average, a cross-country trip in a midsized jet costs about $20,000 for fuel. Maintenance, storage and pilot fees put the cost far higher.
 
Shares of Bank of America fell 54 cents, or 10.2 percent, to $4.76 in afternoon trading.