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Anheuser-Busch: "Would You Say I Have a Plethora of Planes?"

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Megan Davies of Reuters brings us news that August Busch IV and other senior executives of Anheuser-Busch have at their disposal eight Dassault Falcon executive jets at a time when Anheuser is cutting costs to the bone; the report is from Bernstein Research. The FAA registry shows Anheuser also owns two helicopters and a hot air balloon, while some of the jets are leased from August Busch III.
John F. Kelly, Anheuser's Controller, responded yesterday that the company had cut its fleet by two but needed all the rest because direct flights from St. Louis are limited. Anheuser was also the US launch customer for the new Falcon 7x in 2007, which has the range to take August Busch to Buenos Aires or Tokyo from his St. Louis headquarters, but Kelly reports that the company got rid of it. He did not address the dissonance of beer patriot August flying around in exclusively French aircraft, although we expect a satisfactory explanation.
Stephen Busch, half-brother of Kaiser August, has been singlehandedly reversing the cost hemorrhaging involved in operating eight jets and the decline of air travel in St. Louis since TWA's collapse: the annual statement says that he occasionally pilots flights for his father, August III, gratis. There was no word on whether August Busch intends to wager the company on the outcome of a balloon race, although we might know an intern who could take Cantinflas's part.

-senior aviation boondoggle correspondent Andrew