P rivate jets can give the business traveller some great advantages over the standard scheduled airline - from increased flexibility and productivity to privacy and security...
The simplest way to use a private jet is to undertake a single-use jet charter - literally renting a jet for a set date, time and flight route.
Ad-hoc jet charters are certainly the best option for very light users of private jet aircraft, say 10 hours or 2-3 short return flights per year. They can also be useful and financially efficient for those needing up to 100 aircraft hours per year - although there are other options such as block hour jet cards and fractional ownership.
Aircraft jet charter rentals can be arranged in a number of ways:
1. Using an air charter operator - this is a licensed operator which has an aircraft fleet stationed at a home base (or multiple bases). They can vary from large operators with wide fleets to smaller operators with perhaps 1 or 2 aircraft. Examples include OneSky and TAG Aviation.
2. Using an air charter broker - these are companies (or individuals) which act as an agent between the aircraft operator and the customer. The largest companies have a wealth of experience and global networks of aircraft available. Examples of major brokers include Air Partner and Hunt & Palmer. A smaller online broker in the UK is PrivateFly.
What are the costs of hiring a private jet?
Obviously this will depend on passenger numbers, how far you need to fly and the type/size of aircraft being chartered. The cheapest charter planes are Turboprops and Very Light Jets (VLJs) for shorter hops; the most expensive are intercontinental Heavy Jets and Business Jet Airliners.
The approximate hourly cost (in USD) of renting a jet will be as follows:
Very Light Jet $2,000/hr
Light Jet $2,500/hr
Midsize Jet $3,000/hr
Super-Midsize jet $4,000/hr
Heavy Jet $6,000/hr
Jet Airliner up to $15,000/hr
Be aware of the charges incurred from chartering a jet - this can include aircraft positioning fees (if the origin is not the homebase of the aircraft), empty leg fees (for one-way charters the aircraft must return to its base), airport landing fees, FBO handling fees, departure taxes, catering and possibly any crew expenses and ground transportation.
A few tips for jet charter users:
- when getting a quotation for a private jet charter get the all-in fee with a breakdown of the costs. Ask if flying time is "wheels up to wheels down" or includes a taxi time component.
- remember, the charter cost is per aircraft - so by filling all the seats you bring down the effective cost per person.
- try to book your jet charter at least 1 week in advance as the price will rise for last minute charters.
- for shorter journeys (European example- London to Paris/Brussels/Amsterdam) consider a turboprop plane which will be cheaper than a jet. Turboprop charter aircraft are a little slower but should be fitted to the same level of comfort.
- day returns are probably the best value for jet charters as you won't pay an empty leg fee nor will you have overnight crew costs.
- if using a smaller charter broker then find out the name of the actual aircraft operator. Check the age/type of aircraft used, the safety record of the company and ask for references.
- If your plans change and you need to delay the flight then let the pilot or charter company know as soon as possible, preferably at least 2 hours before the flight.
Note: Always undertake a full financial analysis with a qualified professional before purchasing any form of private jet. Prices are for illustrative purpose only.