Fliers with flexibility should sign up for empty-leg email lists of companies like Magellan Jets, who regularly send out emails selling discounted flights from, say, the plane of a corporate exec who flew to Los Angeles but is looking to offset his cost of getting the plane back to New York. “I wouldn’t say that the cost of flying private has gone down, but there are new ways of pricing charter that makes it more accessible,” says David Zipkin, co-founder and VP of Tradewind, the service known for semi-private flights in the Northeast and Caribbean. “In our case, we save people money with our shared charters, and we also sell discounted empty legs.”
The global aviation marketplace is filled with many options and solutions. What works for one client isn’t necessarily right for you, and nor should it be. Private Jet Services offers a unique consultancy approach, using over a decade of experience to handcraft individualized solutions for every client. It is a method that consistently delivers choice and value for a wide range of global clients.
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.
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.”
Steve Wooster, the managing director of services and air operations for the luxury travel network Virtuoso, said that the proliferation of private jet brands has led to these lower prices. “There are many more suppliers than there ever used to be, and competition means prices have dropped,” he said. “Private jet flying is now open to a diversity of passengers, not just C.E.O.’s.”
Some other examples of prices come from Avinode, which powers a charter marketplace for brokers and operators and gathers a large amount of data on pricing. Their recent data shows the average price per hour for return trips, for various aircraft. As noted above, these rates can vary depending on when you fly, where you fly and if your flight is one way or return, plus landing fees, ramp fees and any repositioning can all add to the costs. Always ask for a fully inclusive quote from your broker or operator.
At 102 in (259 cm), the G650ER has the widest cabin yet but should be joined by the Falcon 5X (a Global 5000/G500 competitor) and its replacement, and the 4,500 nmi (8,300 km) Citation Hemisphere in 2021; at 98 in (249 cm), the Global 7000/8000 is wider than the 95 in (241 cm) Global 5000/6000, the same as the Gulfstream G500/G600 and the Canadair Challenger, while the Dassault Falcon 8X is 92 in (234 cm) wide and the G450/G550 88 in (224 cm).
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.
Finance leasing is attractive to the lessee because the lessee may claim depreciation deductions over the aircraft's useful life, which offset the profits from the lease for tax purposes, and deduct interest paid to those creditors who financed the purchase. This has made aircraft a popular form of tax shelter for investors, and has also made finance leasing a cheaper alternative to operating leases or secured purchasing.
Flight departments are corporate-owned operators who manage the aircraft of a specific company. Ford Motor Company, Chrysler, and Altria are examples of companies that own, maintain and operate their own fleet of private aircraft for their employees. Flight departments handle all aspects of aircraft operation and maintenance. In the United States, flight-department aircraft operate under FAR 91 operating rules.