Paul Cappuccio, who lives in Greenwich, Conn., and is the general counsel for Time Warner, flew to Miami on Blade most weekends last winter and plans to do the same this year. “It’s such a relaxed way to fly, an elegant experience and so hassle-free,” he said. While not necessarily budget-friendly, Mr. Cappuccio said that Blade hits the sweet spot on price. “It’s not all that much more than a full-fare first-class ticket, but a small fraction of what it would cost to fly on a chartered private jet,” he said.
Convenience - There are over 5,000 airports in the US that private planes can use (vs 500 airports for larger commercial aircraft). This means you can often land closer to your true destination. In the summer of 2006 the ban on liquids caused all sorts of inconveniences for people flying commercially, but private flyers avoided all this. Private planes also mean that you can travel with your special belongings such as instruments, sports gear, product samples or bring your pet in the cabin.
Companies like Surf Air and FLITE Air Taxi can charge less than big-name competitors, in part, because they use different planes — like, for example, single-prop turbo planes — that cost less to operate because they use less fuel than larger jets. “The operational cost can be a fraction of other planes,” says Justin Hart, vice president of Surf Air memberships.
In a wet lease arrangement, the financing entity, or lessor, provides the aircraft, and complete crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) to another party at a cost based on hours of operation over a set time period. The lessee pays for fuel, airport fees, duties, taxes and other operational costs. Wet leases generally are established for one to 24 months. (Any shorter period would be considered simply ad hoc charter, which can be thought of as wet lease by the hour or mission.) In the commercial airline world, wet leases are typically utilized to provide supplemental lift during peak traffic seasons or during annual heavy maintenance checks. In the United Kingdom, a wet lease is employed whenever an aircraft is operated under the air operator's certificate (AOC) of the lessor.
Customers can choose the cabin layout, including the option to divide the space into separate areas that can be decked out as an office, bedroom, galley or dining area. Exotic wood veneers and hand-stitched leather are among the many accouterments that buyers can select. Lighting and cabin temperature can even be controlled via one’s smartphone. Gulfstream
Blade, which doesn’t require membership, also sells flights, but only from December through mid-March and on one route, between Westchester County Airport (with or without a helicopter transfer from Manhattan) and its own terminal in Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport. From $1,285 each way, fliers travel on a Bombardier commercial jet retrofitted with 16 seats and receive an array of amenities such as catered meals from Dean & Deluca as well as iPad Pros loaded with first-run movies; they also get accommodations for the weekend at Faena Miami, a luxury beachfront hotel.
Fractional ownership of aircraft involves an individual or corporation who pays an upfront equity share for the cost of an aircraft. If four parties are involved, a partner would pay one-fourth of the aircraft price (a "quarter share"). That partner is now an equity owner in that aircraft and can sell the equity position if necessary. This also entitles the new owner to a certain number of hours of flight time on that aircraft, or any comparable aircraft in the fleet. Additional fees include monthly management fees and incidentals such as catering and ground transportation. In the United States, fractional-ownership operations may be regulated by either FAA part 91 or part 135.
For the decade starting in 2017, Aviation Week predicts 11,346 deliveries of business aircraft (jets or not) valued at $250.1 billion, with a fleet growing from 31,864 aircraft to 36,702 aircraft (64% in North America): 4,838 more at an average annual growth rate of 1.6%, with 5,835 retirements. For the coming five-year period, Textron Aviation should lead the market with a 22.8% market share, followed by Bombardier with 20.4%, Embraer with 16.6%, Gulfstream with 15%, Dassault with 8.4% then the rest of manufacturers with 16.9%. There should be 22,190 Engine deliveries, led by the Honeywell HTF7000, Williams FJ44, Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A Medium, Pratt & Whitney Canada PW300 and the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A Large. The average utilization should be 365 flight hours per aircraft per year.