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.
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In addition to luxurious cabin fittings and a host of amenities, many of today's private jets also in-flight connectivity systems allowing passengers to connect to the Internet in much the same manner as they would in their own homes and offices, allowing busy CEOs to conduct important business meetings at 40,000 feet. Whether it's visiting multiple clients or offices in a single day, or carrying your family to a top-level vacation destination, private jets provide an incredibly fast, safe, and secure travel alternative for you, your friends and family, and your employees, all in unmatched style and luxury.
How can these and other similar companies afford to offer such low rates? One reason is that sites like JetSuite.com are offering seats on flights that would have been empty or at least not full. “Over 40% of flights that are flying private have empty seats,” says Steve King, the co-founder of private jet charter company AeroIQ. Many times, these flights are simply repositioning so they can pick up passengers in another city and the companies would rather get some money from passengers than no money.
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.
Operating leases are generally short-term (less than 10 years in duration), making them attractive when aircraft are needed for a start-up venture, or for the tentative expansion of an established carrier. The short duration of an operating lease also protects against aircraft obsolescence, an important consideration in many countries due to changing noise and environmental laws. In some countries where airlines may be deemed less creditworthy (e.g. the former Soviet Union), operating leases may be the only way for an airline to acquire aircraft. Moreover, it provides the flexibility to the airlines so that they can manage fleet size and composition as closely as possible, expanding and contracting to match demand.
As Rachel Raymond from West Orange, N.J., tells it, the day last August when she flew on a private jet ranks as one of the most unreal experiences of her life. Ms. Raymond, and her husband, Daniel, along with their three children, took a flight in a seven-seat jet, a Cessna Citation III, complete with two pilots and a well-stocked bar, from Westchester County Airport, in White Plains, N.Y., to upstate Saratoga Springs. The Raymonds had decided to take an impromptu trip to Lake George because they had found a last-minute deal where they could fly on that route for only $500.
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.[12]
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