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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
JetSmarter, around since 2013, is an example of a player in the private aviation space selling shared flights. The company operates on a membership model: Fliers pay a minimum of $15,000 a year and book seats on already scheduled flights through the JetSmarter app, which lists more than 150 domestic and international trips a day. Trips under three hours are included in the cost of the membership while longer ones are an average of $300 a person, according to Sergey Petrossov, the company’s chief executive officer; most flights have an average of eight to 10 passengers.
On 1 April 2017, there were 22,368 business jets in the worldwide fleet, of which 11.2% were for sale. 5-year old aircraft residual value level is at a 56% of the list price. A new business aircraft depreciate by 50% in five years before depreciation flattens between years 10 and 15, and the owner of a 15 to 20 years old is often the last, matching luxury cars.