Private aviation has seen many changes over the years but none so drastic or global as the Covid19 pandemic response. Air carriers and private jet owners and operators have had to take extra steps to ensure the safety and security of their passengers including increased cleaning and disinfection of every aircraft in their fleet.
Passengers have changed as well. Private Aviation is not only for the ultra high net worth individuals alone anymore. Private jets have become more accessible and easier to book now than ever before. Now since the global pandemic, private aircraft are in high demand. Passengers who would normally fly commercial are now considering a private jet to minimize exposure to the general public and to avoid public spaces such as busy airport terminals.
Everyone’s priorities have shifted and a focus on privacy and safety is at the forefront of everyone’s decisions lately. As states and businesses reopen, air travel becomes a hurdle for most people. Companies and individuals are deciding between rock bottom airline prices and expensive private charter flights. Most are considering private aviation for the first time. However, many are surprised to learn that it is worth the added cost to ensure the safety of themselves and their family or company.
We have put together some helpful tips for choosing an aircraft and some pitfalls to avoid.
What are my private charter flight options?
There are three main options: Jet cards, on-demand private jet charter, or outright private jet ownership. While there are several “ride-share” programs whereby essentially commercial airline scheduled service is disguised as private jet travel, the savings comes at the sacrifice of privacy, flexibility, choice and convenience – the very reasons that you fly private for in the first place.
A jet card program is great for knowing exactly what your private jet flying spend will be, yet it comes with restrictions. Pricing can be quite competitive on some routes (especially one-ways), but peak-period blackouts and inconsistent quality due to the large vendor pools required to support jet card programs are common complaints. The silver lining is that thanks to the CARES ACT these card programs are adjusting their fee structure (for existing members) and are currently not charging for the 7.5% Federal Excise Tax formerly collected with each trip.
On-demand private air charters is exactly what it sounds like; private charters tailored to your specific requirements on your schedule. Unless you are very savvy with this process, we recommend utilizing an air charter broker to navigate the market. This will ensure that any ad hoc private jet charter options presented to you are well-suited for the charter flight. A broker can also ensure that the aircraft and operator meet industry-recognized independent third-party safety and quality standards. Not all charter aircraft or charter operators are equal.
Truth be told, private jets and their associated maintenance costs are expensive assets. A pre-owned late model light or mid-sized pre-owned jet costs between $2-5M. For heavy jets such as a Gulfstream G650, the retail price clocks in at $65 million. This doesn't include the additional costs associated once you own the plane such as hangar, maintenance, crew, insurance, etc.
If you or your client are not regularly flying 100 private jet hours per year, you would be better served flying on-demand. This is a wonderful way to sample different aircraft and determine what would best fit your needs. Jet Card programs are also a viable alternative depending on your private jet travel profile. Our air charter brokerage services have helped clients with their private jet travel for over twenty years, we can audit your clients flying needs to help determine if a jet card membership or on demand flying is the best solution.
Want to learn more? Contact us and find out how we can help with flying privately in these turbulent times.