How can these and other similar companies afford to offer such low rates? One reason is that sites like JetSuite.com are offering seats on flights that would have been empty or at least not full. “Over 40% of flights that are flying private have empty seats,” says Steve King, the co-founder of private jet charter company AeroIQ. Many times, these flights are simply repositioning so they can pick up passengers in another city and the companies would rather get some money from passengers than no money.
Ms. Broder booked a jet charter this March from New Jersey to Las Vegas for her client Steven Michaels, an entrepreneur from Cherry Hill, N.J., and seven of his friends. The trip was in celebration of several of the men turning 50, and the group wanted an extravagant getaway. First-class tickets worked out to close to $2,000 a person round trip, while chartering an eight-seat Citation III jet was $3,500 each. When presented with both options, Mr. Michaels said that going private was a no-brainer. “The journey was like paying for a high-end tour or excursion and ended up being one of the most fun parts of the trip,” he said.
Meredith Broder, an adviser with the Villanova, Pa., travel company Avenue Two Travel, said that empty leg flights have changed the private jet game. “Rather than have the plane fly empty, air companies or private jet brokers try to sell that route at a discount,” she said. “This strategy helps with fuel costs and puts private jet flying within reach to people who wouldn’t normally be able to afford this luxury and convenience.”
Some prefer more specific terms that may include a manufacturer’s name along with the aircraft model number, and configuration features such as a distinct cabin layout or upgraded avionics package. However, even using very specific terms when searching for aircraft for sale online may miss some listings due to variations in identification; for example, “Gulfstream G550” vs. “Gulfstream G-550.” More inclusive searches, such as “Gulfstream, large-cabin jet” yield more results.
Hong Kong leveraged lease: In Hong Kong, where income taxes are low in comparison to other countries, leveraged leasing to local operators is common. In such transactions, a locally incorporated lessor acquires an aircraft through a combination of non-recourse debt, recourse debt, and equity (generally in a 49-16-35 proportion), and thus be able to claim depreciation allowances despite only being liable for half of the purchase price. Its high tax losses can then be set off against profits from leasing the aircraft to a local carrier. Due to local tax laws, these investments are set up as general partnerships, in which the investors' liability is mainly limited by insurance and by contract with the operator.
A public charter is one in which a tour operator rents the aircraft and advertises and sells seats to members of the public, either directly or through a travel agent. In the case of public charters, the flight must be filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the tour operator must supply a charter prospectus. The tour operator also must assume a legal responsibility to provide the transportation service, and must abide by DOT requirements for the protection of the clients' money. Public charters often operate only seasonally, and are often sold as part of a vacation package deal, although spare seats may be offered at bargain prices.
Currently, approximately 10 percent of the worldwide fleet of private aircraft is for sale. That serves to keep prices down; however, the projected decrease in new private jet deliveries could bring an uptick in transaction prices on preowned aircraft, particularly over the next 2-3 years. Aviation consultants and industry professionals have also reported seeing a recent rise in the number of first time private plane buyers brought into the market by today's bargain prices for private jets.
With a charter flight, you rent the entire aircraft, rather than just one seat. The aircraft can be large or small, and flights can be one-way or round-trip. The charter could be made on a flight-only basis, might include ground services such as transportation to or from meetings or could be part of a complete vacation package. Charter flights offer more flexibility than scheduled flights, with a wider choice of destinations and tailor-made itineraries.
The Bombardier Challenger 600 began as a proof-of-concept business aircraft design from American aircraft pioneer Bill Lear. The design was subsequently purchased by Canadair, the predecessor to Bombardier, in the late 1970s. Canadair further refined the design and certified the aircraft in 1980. The type really “took off,” so to speak, with the follow-on Challenger 601, introduced in 1983, which replaced its predecessor’s Avro Lycoming engines with modern General Electric CF43-1A turbofans designed for high-utilization commercial airline service.
The key words here are prop planes, turboplanes, and light jets. Prop planes like the Cessna Caravan are popular because they're roomy (the seats are like business class, and often configured face to face). More popular these days are planes like the six- to eight-seater Pilatus PC-12, and KingAirs, which fly faster and feel more like jets. And then you get into light jets like Learjets, Embraer Phenom 300s, and Citation CJ3s, and Hawkers, all of which are sleeker and more streamlined, and can fly for four to five hours, for slightly longer trips.
Discover fascinating peoples, places and celebrations in intimate and unforgettable ways on this spectacular new journey by private jet. Travel on an exclusive 23-day itinerary packed with insider access, fine dining and invitation-only cultural events curated by our local experts. Following a boldly imagined route, explore Japan, Mongolia, Nepal and Bhutan, India, Abu Dhabi, Jordan and Sicily. And stay in one-of-a-kind accommodations throughout, from a comfortable ger camp with en suite baths to Dwarika’s, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
With a dry lease, the lessor provides the aircraft without crew. These arrangements are favored by leasing companies and banks, and require the lessee to put the aircraft on its own AOC and provide aircraft registration. Dry leases usually cover a term of no less than two years. Lessees must comply with conditions regarding maintenance, insurance, and depreciation, and other requirements that may be affected by geographical location, political circumstances or other factors.
Because jet charter is not priced on a per person or ticket basis, it is not likely that it would be more cost effective for a group of 10-15 individuals to charter a jet compared with flying via scheduled airline service in coach or first class. Even if the total cost for a charter trip is split among 10 people, the cost each person would cover would still be significant.
Members who want to set their own schedule can create a flight and post it to JetSmarter’s app so that other interested members can buy seats for the route and help reduce the cost of the charter; if all the seats on the plane sell, the member who created the flight flies for free. These crowdsourced trips usually top out at $2,000 a person, a fraction of the $8,000 or more per hour it can cost for a traditional charter. “My goal is to make private jet flying less elitist,” Mr. Petrossov said.
On a Charter Flight, passengers aren’t limited to on of 2 or 3 entrees being served. They can literally design their own meal or order from a restaurant of their choice to be enjoyed while traveling in supreme comfort. There is also a wide variety of entertainment options on a charter flight. Many aircraft used for charter flights have free WiFi, high end sound or entertainment systems with iPhone/Android hook-ups and even satellite TV.
The most economical option is chartering, which doesn't require any cash upfront (other than a deposit) through companies like Tradewind, Sentient, and Solairus, (which we took home from North Carolina). Of course, there are the old standbys like NetJets and Marquis, who sell fractional ownership (like 1/16th) of a single jet for upwards of $100K. One step down from that, pricewise, is the jet card, where you buy a set amount of hours from a company like Nicholas or Private Jet Services, and can use those hours for different planes. Then there are membership models like WheelsUp, where you pay $17,500 as an initiation fee to fly in their fleet, and then a $8,500 annual dues fee starting the second year. It's like a country club—only you're guaranteed access to a KingAir350i or Citation Excel / XLS instead of a golf course.