BEYOND PRIVATE JET OWNERSHIP
There are a number of ways to have use of a private jet, as Jill Stockbridge explains.
Owning a private jet is prohibitively expensive for most people. After the initial cost of purchase, there are various fixed costs of management, maintenance, hangarage, insurance and staffing, before you even consider the fuel, ground handling and slot fees, which vary hugely around the world. However, private aviation is also an important business tool and offers unrivaled convenience, safety, privacy and comfort. You can’t have a private business or board meeting in the bar of an Emirates A380.
There are a number of ways to have use of a private jet, without purchasing one, and which is best for you depends largely on how often you fly and how you like to travel. The range of options is constantly growing and changing, especially at the moment with a booming marketplace and the introduction of ever smarter and more accessible technology.
Anyone, with sufficient funds, can charter a jet. This allows you total flexibility to tailor the size of your aircraft to your needs, from a tiny turboprop to a Boeing Business Jet. However, you cannot guarantee that the type or aircraft you want will be available when you want it. Charter brokers and charter companies will supply you with the best aircraft at the best price, which should include the hourly rate, permits, landing, handling and parking and your choice of catering. However, beware of potential added extras, such as out-of-hours fees, depositioning fees, de-icing and wifi connection charges. There is an increasing number of online options for chartering, as the profile and demographic of the average private jet user changes to a younger, more techno-aware age group and many of the major charter companies offer booking through an app.
XO offers a shared charter scheme, where you can offset the cost of your aircraft charter by selling the seats you don’t need, all through their app. You can also create a crowdfunded flight, which may be an option when flying to a popular event, such as the FIFA World Cup or Cannes Film Festival.
The choice is yours: There are a number of ways to have use of a private jet. Which is best for you depends largely on how often you fly and how you like to travel.
Jet cards are ideal for companies or individuals who fly regularly, but less than around 25 hours annually. It is a prepaid card, allowing the holder to use different aircraft in a fleet at agreed fixed hourly rates. Usually, the hourly rate will include flight time, pilot’s fees and most costs, with additional charges for fuel price fluctuations.
Different cards offer different features, and with more than 50 suppliers to choose from in North America alone, so it may take some research to find the best for you. As a basic guide, jet cards usually don’t charge a membership fee, have a minimum entry level of around 25 hours to 50 hours, and offer guaranteed availability.
Different cards offer different features, and with more than 50 suppliers to choose from in North America alone.
Jet cards are offered by large and small fleet operators and charter brokers. It offers greater flexibility and often shorter notice than charter. It is also ideal for travellers who enjoy the familiarity of a single company or style of the jet. The use of jet cards simplifies the process of private aviation, giving you the choice to simply ‘top up’ the card if your annual demand grows. Different cards offer different features, and with more than 50 suppliers to choose from in North America alone, and suppliers offering it takes some research to find the best for you.
It has become a very popular way to fly. So much so, that FlexJet, one of the major charter companies, has suspended sales until 2023, due to the high demand.
Many of the large charter companies, such as VistaJet and Wheels Up, offer a membership programme, with a tailored flight-hour subscription plan, whereby the member pays a membership fee and then a fixed hourly rate for use of any jet on the fleet, with a minimum commitment to a number of hours per year. This is a very similar structure to a jet card but without the prepaid element.
It offers the highest level of control and flexibility, with owners able to travel in their own aircraft, but is often a more expensive option.
Fractional ownership was first developed by NetJets, part of the Berkshire Hathaway group and still the largest operator of private jets in the world. It offers the highest level of control and flexibility, with owners able to travel in their own aircraft, but is often a more expensive option.
There are a number of different business models for fractional ownership, but it works along the lines of a time-share property. The cost of the aircraft and its management is broken into shares. Those shares are then sold and each owner pays the equivalent to his share of the aircraft and has a share of the hours. Although the aircraft may be broken into 10 shares, an owner requiring more hours per year could buy two or more shares. Many fractional ownership models also allow for use of other owners’ aircraft if the principal’s aircraft is not available when required.
The INVICTUS PARTNERSHIP is Jet Luxe’s flagship global private jet program. This is not a jet card, it’s not fractional ownership, and it’s not a traditional membership. It is a new, niche, and highly exclusive partnership with just four partners per jet. A surge in demand has led to a lack of jet availability. Pre-owned aircraft are limited, traditional ownership has become expensive, and fractional ownership comes with the burden of depreciation. INVICTUS from Jet Luxe gives a sense of owning an aircraft without the cost of being an actual owner. INVICTUS eliminates the high, fixed expenses related to aircraft ownership and the inconvenience and hidden costs associated with traditional charters. With INVICTUS, partners have access to a closed, private fleet without a restrictive financial commitment or risk of asset depreciation.