19. Page 3-10
3. Program Characteristics
Private Jet Travel: Understanding the Options
Aircraft Charter is the original business aviation alternative to those without the
requirements or means for aircraft ownership. It remains the best option for
those with minimal flight requirements. Traditionally, Charter has been booked
directly with an operator, either through a Fixed Base Operator (FBO) or through
the phone book. In most instances, the fleet mix of the Charter operator that you
call limits your options, hence the term “air taxi.”
In the last five years, a number of online Charter booking web sites have been
developed that simplify and consolidate the process, giving you more aircraft
options. The companies behind these web sites have relationships with Charter
operators around the country (in some cases, around the world). By simply
indicating your needs on the site, you are presented with a list of aircraft options,
availability and price quotes for your planned trip. As with Block Charter
companies, some of the “demand aggregation” web sites have very strict criteria
for operators to qualify for inclusion. In some cases, the same company offers
both On-Demand Charter and Block Charter services.
Financial Considerations of Charter
Charter pricing fluctuates based on your travel requirements. First, you pay by
the hour for your flight. If your travel plans call for a return flight the same day,
and you meet any minimum daily flight time requirements, the hourly charge will
comprise the bulk of your bill. If your plans require a longer stay, you might have
to pay the per night overnight fee, covering aircraft parking and crew expenses,
and you may also incur a daily minimum charge to compensate the operator for
the opportunity cost of keeping the aircraft idle.
Alternatively, you might be charged the hourly charge of the aircraft returning to
your point of origin - without anyone onboard. If you require another Charter
journey back to your origin at a later date, you pay for the time it takes the aircraft
to get back to where you are (again empty) as well as your actual flight time. It is
this aspect of Charter (paying for empty or “deadhead” legs) that can make it
prohibitively expensive if used inefficiently. Indeed, the most inefficient types of
travel can produce hourly costs double the listed hourly rate.
Some Charter operators advertise all-inclusive hourly rates. Others use lower
base prices to attract attention, but often have higher daily flight time minimums
or charge separately for items included in a higher priced option. The best way to
compare the true cost of Charter is to get firm price quotes on actual trips that
you intend to fly.
All that said, chartering can be the lowest-cost way to use business aviation if
your travel is very efficient and you use it wisely.
Operational Considerations of Charter
There are very few operational considerations for Charter services. For a price,
you can usually get the exact type of aircraft to take you wherever you want to
Charter via the
beware of “empty
Independent Source: Deloitte Private Wealth, Private aircraft: Flying private makes sense for those with the right information (page 20)
*This website has no affiliation with Deloitte.