Comparison study of buying an airplane, fractional share, jet cardrivate jet charter
UNDERSTANDING THE OPTIONS
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19. Page 3-10

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3. Program Characteristics 

 

 

 

Private Jet Travel: Understanding the Options  

October 2003 

 

3-10

On-Demand Charter 

 
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 
internet 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charter pricing 
structure – 
beware of “empty 
legs”! 

"Chartering a plane, either directly from a charter company or through a charter broker, is often the most cost effective way to fly private."

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.