Whether you travel frequently for business or only occasionally for pleasure, chances are you've considered hiring a charter plane. When you fly on a private plane, you can skip the long wait times and baggage checks of a commercial flight. Your departure and return times are determined by your schedule, and in some cases you can even book a same-day flight! Here are some of our most commonly asked questions regarding private flights:
Manufactured by Canadian aerospace firm Bombardier, the Challenger name encompasses a family of aircraft billed as “the best-selling business jet platform of the last decade.” All Challenger jets feature fuel-efficient turbofan engines, true “walk-about” cabins, and a supercritical wing design offering impressive climb and cruise performance at lower thrust settings.
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.
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.
Paul Cappuccio, who lives in Greenwich, Conn., and is the general counsel for Time Warner, flew to Miami on Blade most weekends last winter and plans to do the same this year. “It’s such a relaxed way to fly, an elegant experience and so hassle-free,” he said. While not necessarily budget-friendly, Mr. Cappuccio said that Blade hits the sweet spot on price. “It’s not all that much more than a full-fare first-class ticket, but a small fraction of what it would cost to fly on a chartered private jet,” he said.
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.
On 1 April 2017, there were 22,368 business jets in the worldwide fleet, of which 11.2% were for sale. 5-year old aircraft residual value level is at a 56% of the list price. A new business aircraft depreciate by 50% in five years before depreciation flattens between years 10 and 15, and the owner of a 15 to 20 years old is often the last, matching luxury cars.