One particular type of operating lease is the wet lease, in which the aircraft is leased together with its crew. Such leases are generally on a short-term basis to cover bursts in demand, such as the Hajj pilgrimage. Unlike a charter flight, a wet-leased aircraft operates as part of the leasing carrier's fleet and with that carrier's airline code, although it often retains the livery of its owner.
Are these lower prices the reason more Americans are chartering planes? Virtuoso’s statistics indicate that the number of private charter trips increased by 10 percent from 2014 to 2016, and statistics from the research company Euromonitor show that the number of passengers in the United States who chartered planes increased from 4.88 million in 2013 to 5.32 million in 2016 (this number excludes helicopter charters).
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.
Diener recommends checking out FlyVictor.com, as it compares the cost of private jet travel across different airlines. He says that JetSuite.com is the best known for last-minute deals. You may also want to consider having a broker do the heavy lifting for you, says Trance; brokers typically work on commission, so ask them what their commission is before booking and how you pay it, and tell them your all-in price tolerance ahead of time.
Charter companies offer a tailored service in which the client has a choice of meals, drinks, staffing levels and additional services. Tour companies aim to maximize profits, so public charters usually only provide a very basic service to passengers, with a cheap -- or no -- meal, minimal staffing and low baggage allowances. With a private charter, organizations can take advantage of options such as video conferencing, business services and corporate branding. In-flight meals are of a better quality, and passengers do not have luggage restrictions. With public charters, passengers still have to stand in line for check-in and security, so they need to be at the airport two to three hours before the flight. With a private charter, you can pass straight through security and onto the aircraft.
Lastly, don't be afraid to ask about safety: Any reputable operator should have safety information prominently featured on their website, and won't mind answering questions about their pilots, such as how many hours they have flown. (At least 250 hours, which is what it takes to get a commercial license; NetJets mandates at least 2,500 hours; Wheels Up, mandates 7,000 hours for a captain and 4,000 for a first officer.) Gollan suggests fliers ask if the pilot has any health issues, and feel free to ask if the operator (or plane itself) have any accidents or incidents in its history.
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Under American and British accounting rules, a finance lease is generally defined as one in which the lessor receives substantially all rights of ownership, or in which the present value of the minimum lease payments for the duration of the lease exceeds 90% of the fair market value of the aircraft. If a lease is defined as a finance lease, it must be counted as an asset of the company, in contrast to an operating lease which only affects the company's cash flow.
Over the past several years, global economic conditions led to record levels of pre-owned private aircraft listed for sale, ranging from smaller, propeller-driven airplanes to the largest, most advanced, and most luxurious intercontinental business jets. This truly resulted in a ‘buyer’s market,’ with purchasers able to select from a high number of quality aircraft, often for comparatively low prices.
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.
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.