What are the options?
Most of the time, a person looking to buy a private jet has already justified the need or want. But, in a lot of cases, the client is unsure if purchasing or other options such as chartering make the most sense for them. In fact, they probably have no idea how many options are available.
The hours test
There is a simple process I use to help clients decide the best option for their needs. Should I buy hours or buy a plane? If you are already flying private more than 150 hours a year, then skip down to the bottom. Aircraft ownership makes more sense for you than chartering on a cost basis. Depending on your mission, some cases may take even fewer hours to justify aircraft ownership.
Navigating the private charter route
If you’re flying less than 150 hours a year, chartering an aircraft may make the most sense for you. The chartering category includes traditional charters where you call for each trip and jet cards or private jet membership options. On longer flights, these options can be compared on a per-hour or per-trip basis. For shorter flights and fewer hours you may run into high minimums. Some jet cards and other memberships have set rates that run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The key benefit to traditional chartering is that there is no commitment. This makes it a great option for someone taking only a few trips a year. However, your flights can be cancelled on short notice if the charterer gets another last minute request or goes in for unscheduled maintenance. Beyond a quick referral you’ll likely be forced to start the booking process all over again with someone else.
The benefits of private jet membership cards
Jet cards or memberships are significantly less expensive than buying a private jet if you fly fewer hours. That said, jet cards are more expensive than charter but they come with some perks. Many of these are essentially luxury concierge services that take care of everything for you.
Over 150 hours
If you are already flying privately more than 150 hours a year, congratulations, you can justify the cost to buy a private jet. Going the ownership route, there are some additional options to consider. There is shared ownership, fractional ownership, or buying then chartering out your own aircraft.
Even if you don’t fly that often, there are also some non-mathematical factors to consider. For example, if your schedule leads to last-minute changes and flexibility is a priority for you, then using someone else’s plane could present some challenges for you. There will be penalties or forfeited hours from both charter companies and jet memberships for canceling or changing trips, which could ultimately stack up. This often makes this option more expensive and frustrating for people on the fence.
Airplane share or ‘co-ownership’
Finding a partner for an airplane share or co-ownership, whose schedule complements yours is challenging but can be done. This allows you to split the fixed costs in half or even thirds to reduce the burden on costs and maintenance.
Fractional ownership is done through a professional management company. They typically manage a fleet of aircraft and sell you exactly the amount hours you need with pro-rated fixed costs. Fractional ownership allows you to share a plane without the personal responsibility of scheduling around other owners.
Buy and charter out your plane
One last option to consider is buying your own airplane in full and having a company charter it when you are not using it. As the owner you will get priority access and professional management. This will also allow for you to reduce your annual cost with the revenues generated from charters.
Still need advice? Contact us
The options for flying private are almost endless with even more innovative approaches in the works. Narrowing down your missions, usage, personal preferences, and most importantly, budget, will help you and your broker to identify the best way to avoid the airlines.
At KinectAir, we have decades of experience in buying and selling, chartering and operating fleets of aircraft. The best thing to do if you are considering any of the options of ownership is to contact an operator like KinectAir. We can help you with your search and advise you on the aircraft type that you are interested in sharing.
Our “Pioneer” program pays owners for putting the aircraft onto our network when they are not using the aircraft. As an operator (under Part 135 certification) we manage the aircraft to rigorous commercial standards which saves you admin time, cost and enhances your operational safety. For more information on “ownership that pays”, take a look at our aircraft owners page and get in contact with us there.