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For business travelers who can’t bear to wait in lines, risk having an overtalkative seat partner, or experience any of the other drawbacks of commercial flying, the Livingston, New Jersey-based financial services company CIT Group Inc. provides an alternative. CIT rents and finances the purchase of regional, commercial, and corporate aircraft. The legal department is led by Robert Ingato, 43, who as vice president, general counsel, and secretary oversees 52 lawyers. Ingato has been with the company currently known as CIT since 1988. Before then, it had served as the financial services arm of AT&T Co. and at one point was even part of the conglomerate Tyco International, Ltd. For someone who works for a company that leases aircraft, Ingato isn’t exactly piling up millions of frequent flyer miles. He flies about once a month, usually to visit lawyers spread out in five offices around the country. And while Ingato claims to love the convenience of private jets as much as any rock star or New York City mayor, it’s a luxury he doesn’t experience very often. When crisscrossing the country for work, he flies commercial. We were hoping to hear horror stories of celebrities ordering jets with gold-encrusted interiors, or pilots transporting weird cargo, like wild animals or boxes of hundred-dollar bills. But if Ingato knows of any strange requests, he’s keeping them to himself. I want to lease a jet. How much will it cost? It’s all over the place, depending on the kind of plane. We lease everything from corporate jets to regional airplanes. The price depends on things like the length of the term and whether or not the engine is included, or rented separately. Do you or any of your executives have pilot’s licenses? Some of our salespeople do. So does the president of our aerospace division, Jeff Knittel. Who is your most high-profile client? I’d have to say any of the large airlines, like Delta, American, or United. We usually lease to corporations and to all of the major commercial airlines. What’s the biggest challenge of overseeing 52 lawyers? Not allowing my day-to-day legal work and challenges to interfere with the need to maintain continuous contact with the concerns and issues that our geographically decentralized legal staff are confronting. How old were you when you took your first flight? Unlike my son, who experienced his first flight (to Europe) at the young age of 1 1/2, I didn’t board a plane until much later in life. I flew from Ithaca [New York] airport at age 22, when I was attending Cornell Law School, to Chicago for my college roommate’s wedding. Favorite airport: Any airport in a warm climate and close to a beach. Least favorite airport: LaGuardia (New York City). Parking is impossible, and the traffic isn’t much better. Worst flying experience: Flying from Antigua to New Jersey, only to circle over Newark Liberty airport for an hour before backtracking to Florida due to a snowstorm up and down the East Coast. Which do you use, Walkman or iPod? iPod. CD currently in your stereo or on heavy rotation on the iPod: Study in Brown by Clifford Brown (a 1950s jazz trumpeter).

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