Private Aviation 101: Guidelines Before You Charter An Aircraft
If you’re new to the business aviation market and you’re chartering your first private jet, this is the right place for a quick guide. Whether it’s luxury, time-efficiency or simply the experience you’re after, flying on a business aircraft can be somewhat different from your typical commercial trip. From speedy check-ins to extreme flexibility and comfort, flying private is second to none.
Should you rent or buy an aircraft? What jet to choose? Are turboprops unsafe? What’s an operator and a broker? So many questions… Considered by some as a first-world problem, seeking for the perfect private jet experience can be a headache with so many misinformation to be found. Business aviation is expensive, but in the long run, when pursuing time-efficiency, flexibility and for maximizing business and leisure hours, this segment is worth every cent.
There are two types of companies who you can charter from; operators and brokers. Operators own their fleet and offer a fixed amount and type of aircraft, and brokers, on the other hand, can help you choose from a wider universe of airplanes, thus securing availability and the best price for the route, although not directly operating the flight.
Well… What’s your route and budget? There’s a perfect aircraft for every type of flight and usually the length determines the kind of plane to be offered; each one has a determined range and specific features that adapt to a particular runway and flying conditions. If less than two hours, the recommended option would be a turboprop like Corporate Air‘s Beechcraft King Air. With a lower cost to operate and adapting to various airstrip conditions, turboprops are very safe (despite a mistaken common perception), flexible and comfortable. Jets are the obvious choice for longer haul flights and when the number of passengers is above 10.
There’s literally hundreds of aircraft to choose from. Although when chartering with an operator there are less options, because just as commercial airlines, they seek a unified fleet of two or maybe three different types of planes for maintenance and spare parts purchase purposes. Charter brokers eliminate this limitation by offering clients with diverse options for the same route, although with a 3 to 5% commission over the final operational price.
Ways to experience private flight
There is no right or wrong when chartering a jet, as there are many different ways to go. In an industry tailored to meet the customers’ demand, the correct question is which is the best way for you?
On-demand private air charter
On-demand charter is something that existed on the outskirts of the private aviation industry and is slowly but surely enhancing its presence. The concept is of a one-time charter: the passenger selects a jet or prop aircraft for a specific flight or several trips. Once the flight is completed, the passenger can book another one, if he likes to do so, on the same or any other type of aircraft.
A prepaid jet card model is a product offered by brokers as well as operators. They presale hours, either specific to an aircraft type (Cessna Citation CJ3) or an aircraft category (light jet category). Some jet card providers use the same aircraft pool as the on-demand charter providers, and some use their own fleet or contracted aircraft exclusively. Many of the jet card providers offer on demand charter as well, yet some will require a membership.
An interesting and creative solution to owning an aircraft without actually having one. Companies providing fractional ownership solutions sell the same aircraft to multiple owners, thus reducing the acquisition and management cost.
Owning your own private jet is often viewed as the epiphany of success. Your own private jet can be customized to have your logo or even initials on the registration number. The customer can select his or hers interior, crew composition and even the media preferences on board. Some passengers go as far as installing a gaming console, while some keep it within the manufacture’s standard. Usually, this solution is utilized by large corporations that require to fly many hours on a yearly basis.