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.

Privacy is one of the main advantages of a charter flight.  Unlike a commercial flight, where travelers are herded through a crowded airport, having to undergo an intrusive security screening, passengers on a charter flight depart from a private facility known as an FBO.  At most private airports, passengers can pull their cars right up to the plane.


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.
Finance leasing, also known as "capital leasing", is a longer-term arrangement in which the operator comes closer to effectively "owning" the aircraft. It involves a more complicated transaction in which a lessor, often a special purpose company (SPC) or partnership, purchases the aircraft through a combination of debt and equity financing, and then leases it to the operator. The operator may have the option to purchase the aircraft at the expiration of the lease, or may automatically receive the aircraft at the expiration of the lease.
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Charter, also called air taxi or ad-hoc flights require certification from the associated country's regulating body such as the FAA in the U.S. The regulations are differentiated from typical commercial/passenger service by offering a non-scheduled service. In the U.S. these flights are regulated under FAA Part 135[1]. There are some cases where a charter operator can sell scheduled flights, but only in limited quantities[2].


Time saving - this is one of the most significant reasons for using private aircraft. Depending on your program you can have an aircraft ready in just a few hours. You can arrive at the airport just minutes before your scheduled departure time, fly directly to your destination (without any layovers), make productive use of your time onboard, avoid overnight stays (saving hotel $ as well as time), avoid waiting in lines at the airport, land at over 5,000 airports in the US and so be closer to your destination. All of this can provide significant savings in both productive time and in dollars. Productivity - the time savings above provide significantly more productive time, both onboard and before and after your flight. You and your staff can make the most of the travel time to talk business or work with customers, suppliers or partners.

Aircraft charter brokers have entered the marketplace through the ease of setting up a website and business online. Aircraft charter operators are legally responsible for the safe operation of aircraft and charter brokers require no economic authority and are largely unregulated. The Department of Transportation requires that air charter brokers disclose to the consumer that they do not operate aircraft and cannot use terms like "our fleet of aircraft", "we operate", "our charter service" and others.[17]

Aircraft charter brokers have entered the marketplace through the ease of setting up a website and business online. Aircraft charter operators are legally responsible for the safe operation of aircraft and charter brokers require no economic authority and are largely unregulated. The Department of Transportation requires that air charter brokers disclose to the consumer that they do not operate aircraft and cannot use terms like "our fleet of aircraft", "we operate", "our charter service" and others.[17]
Waiting until the last minute isn’t an option for most travelers, of course. For those whose schedules can’t accommodate a last-minute booking, there are other options, though they can be pricier. West Coast airline Surf Air offers unlimited private plane flights to and from roughly a dozen California and Nevada locales like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Santa Barbara for $1,750 per month (plus a one-time $1000 initiation fee); the airline operates up to 90 flights each day and it added Monterey, Calif., to its list of itineraries on July 13, 2015.
In the United States, business aircraft may be operated under either FAR 91 as private operations for the business purposes of the owner, or under FAR 135 as commercial operations for the business purposes of a third party. One common arrangement for operational flexibility purposes is for the aircraft's owner to operate the aircraft under FAR 91 when needed for its own purposes, and to allow a third-party charter-manager to operate it under FAR 135 when the aircraft is needed for the business purposes of third parties (such as for other entities within the corporate group of the aircraft's owner).[16]
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