Manufactured by Canadian aerospace firm Bombardier, the Challenger name encompasses a family of aircraft billed as “the best-selling business jet platform of the last decade.” All Challenger jets feature fuel-efficient turbofan engines, true “walk-about” cabins, and a supercritical wing design offering impressive climb and cruise performance at lower thrust settings.
No matter what company you're flying with, be sure to ask if there two pilots or one. (Though two pilots are standard on commercial flights, regulations vary for private planes of all sizes.) It also helps to ask if the operator owns the plane—typically, companies that own their planes offer better service. Never forget to ask about daily minimums and taxi fees. "If the hourly rate is $9,000 and you have a single 40-minute flight, you might assume you are going to pay $6,000," says Doug Gollan, creator of PrivateJetCardComparisons.com. "But if your provider has a daily minimum of 1.5 hours, you are going to actually be charged $13,500, plus taxi time, which in my comparisons I have found varies between being included and up to 12 minutes per segment."
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.
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.
Though the early Lockheed Jetstar had four, most production business jets have two jet engines, mostly rear-mounted podded engine. If mounted below their low wing, it wouldn't allow sufficient engine clearance without a too long landing gear. The HondaJet is the exception with its over the wing engine pods. Dassault Falcon still builds three-engine models derived from the Falcon 50, and the very light jet market has seen several single-engine design concepts and the introduction of the Cirrus Vision SF50 in 2016.
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