The very light jet (VLJ) is a classification initiated by the release of the Eclipse 500, on 31 December 2006, which was originally available at around US$1.5 million, cheaper than existing business jets and comparable with turboprop airplanes. It accompanied a bubble for air taxi services, exemplified by DayJet which ceased operations on September 2008, Eclipse Aviation failed to sustain its business model and filed for bankruptcy in February 2009.
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For those who don't mind mingling with strangers, companies like Tradewind offer shuttles between places like New York and Boston, Stowe, and Nantucket, as well as Caribbean Islands like St. Barth's and Anguilla. (Flights begin at $250 plus tax each way.) The bonus? On a route from from San Juan to St. Barth's, a Tradewind rep will meet you at your terminal and help shuttle you through. JetSuiteX, affiliated with JetBlue, sells seats on planes between Burbank and Las Vegas.
There are some significant additional caveats to discount private plane travel. Often these deals are only for one-way flights, so they will then need to find an alternative way back. It’s also important to understand that there may be extra fees added to the cost of your flight — such as airport or landing fees — so read the contract to determine what’s included and what’s not. De-icing fees, for example, can be significant and may be passed on to consumers, says Jeff Trance, the SVP of private jets for the U.S. for jet charter company Air Partner.
If you’re flexible both on when you fly and where you fly, you’ll likely get the best deals, says Trance. Call the company and ask about the cost differences between, say, a Saturday and a Tuesday and see if you can fly into a nearby airport. Fridays and Sundays tend to be the most expensive times to travel, says Justin Sullivan, the co-founder of FLITE Air Taxi. And, of course, last-minute deals can be significant so it may be worth waiting until about 72 hours before you want to fly to find deals, says Trance, though this is, of course, risky.
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.”
Business airliner can be contracted as bizliner. Airliners converted into business jets are used by sports teams or VIPs with a large entourage or press corps. Such airplanes can face operational restrictions based on runway length or local noise restrictions. They can be the most expensive type of private jet as they provide the greatest space and capabilities.
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.
But for travelers who only want their own chartered plane without having to pay an exorbitant price, there are options like JetSuite’s “SuiteDeals.” The company’s primary business is private jet charters for hourly rates of between $4,000 and $7,000 while “SuiteDeals” are sales of flights called empty legs — routes that jets are scheduled to fly on without any passengers.
In October 2017 Jetcraft forecasts 8,349 unit deliveries in the next decade for $252 billion, a 30.2 $M average. Cessna should lead the numbers with 27.3% of the deliveries ahead of Bombardier with 20.9% while Gulfstream would almost lead the revenue market share with 27.8% trailing Bombardier with 29.2%. For 2016-2025, Jetcraft forecasted Pratt & Whitney Canada should be the first engine supplier with 30% of the $24B revenue, in front of the current leader Rolls-Royce at 25%. Honeywell will hold 45% of the avionics $16B revenue ahead of Rockwell Collins with 37% and Garmin.