The Journal report also alleged that the alternative jet would park at a distance from the other one to avoid attention, saying crew members were discouraged from discussing Immelt’s travel arrangements.
In a statement to the Journal, GE said: “two planes were used on limited occasions for business-critical or security purposes.” GE declined to comment.
Corporate governance hawk Nell Minow told CNBC it is difficult to know how many global companies use similar practices.
Many companies have shifted to using fractured ownership of private jets, which makes oversight more difficult.
“Whatever benefit General Electric saved or extra layer of security they achieved, it was not worth the hit to their reputation,” Minow said.
The revelations came amid a broader WSJ report about Flannery’s cost-cutting and efficiency measures to reshape the conglomerate.
GE is expected to report earnings early Friday morning, with their conference call following at 8:30 a.m. ET.
In an exclusive interview following the earnings report, Flannery will be on CNBC at 10 a.m. ET to speak with “Squawk on the Street.” This will be Flannery’s first interview since becoming both chairman and CEO.