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.”
Customers can choose the cabin layout, including the option to divide the space into separate areas that can be decked out as an office, bedroom, galley or dining area. Exotic wood veneers and hand-stitched leather are among the many accouterments that buyers can select. Lighting and cabin temperature can even be controlled via one’s smartphone. Gulfstream
Blade, which doesn’t require membership, also sells flights, but only from December through mid-March and on one route, between Westchester County Airport (with or without a helicopter transfer from Manhattan) and its own terminal in Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport. From $1,285 each way, fliers travel on a Bombardier commercial jet retrofitted with 16 seats and receive an array of amenities such as catered meals from Dean & Deluca as well as iPad Pros loaded with first-run movies; they also get accommodations for the weekend at Faena Miami, a luxury beachfront hotel.
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.
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.
Conversely, the aircraft's residual value at the end of the lease is an important consideration for the owner. The owner may require that the aircraft be returned in the same maintenance condition (e.g. post-C check) as it was delivered, so as to expedite turnaround to the next operator. Like leases in other fields, a security deposit is often required.
Hong Kong leveraged lease: In Hong Kong, where income taxes are low in comparison to other countries, leveraged leasing to local operators is common. In such transactions, a locally incorporated lessor acquires an aircraft through a combination of non-recourse debt, recourse debt, and equity (generally in a 49-16-35 proportion), and thus be able to claim depreciation allowances despite only being liable for half of the purchase price. Its high tax losses can then be set off against profits from leasing the aircraft to a local carrier. Due to local tax laws, these investments are set up as general partnerships, in which the investors' liability is mainly limited by insurance and by contract with the operator.
Equipment trust certificate (ETC): Most commonly used in North America. A trust of investors purchases the aircraft and then "leases" it to the operator, on condition that the airline will receive title upon full performance of the lease. ETCs blur the line between finance leasing and secured lending, and in their most recent forms have begun to resemble securitization arrangements.
PrivateJets.com is an extension of Sentient Jet Charter, LLC (“Skyjet”). Skyjet arranges flights on behalf of clients with FAR Part 135 air carriers that exercise full operational control of charter flights at all times. Flights will be operated by FAR Part 135 air carriers that have been certified to provide service for Skyjet and that meet all FAA safety standards and additional safety standards established by Skyjet. Skyjet is a registered trademark of Sentient Jet Charter, LLC, dba Skyjet.
US leveraged lease: Used by foreign airlines importing aircraft from the United States. In a US lease, a Foreign Sales Corporation (FSC) purchases and leases the aircraft, and is tax-exempt so long as at least 50% of the aircraft is made in the US, and at least 50% of its flight miles are flown outside the US. Because of the extensive documentation required for these leases, they have only been used for very expensive aircraft being operated entirely outside the US, such as Boeing 747spurchased for domestic routes within Japan.
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.
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.
The Lufthansa Technik inflight entertainment system is an optional addition and consists of a high-definition video system, surround sound, multiple audio and video input options, a cabin management system, and three options for voice communications and connectivity. The cabin management system can also be accessed via iOS and Android applications. Embraer
When it comes to small planes, weight matters. Don't be surprised when your contact emails you for all passenger weights, and when the pilot organizes seating by weights. (You don't want the three biggest people on the right side, for instance.) Similarly, don't expect to bring two weeks of stuff for a weekend, and definitely mention if you're planning on bringing golf clubs or skis. If they don't fit, check out ShipSticks or LuggageForward, which sends your equipment beforehand for a relatively small fee.