T he use of private jets in the UK is well established with some 300,000 business jet movements in the country each year...
The most popular way to use a private jet in UK and Europe is ad-hoc jet charter - that is renting a jet for a set time and route.
For those needing to fly longer annual hours there are options for block hours (jet cards), fractional ownership and out right purchase - although the high upfront costs make them a less popular choice.
Around London there are many airports which handle private jet flights - including London City, London Luton, Biggin Hill, RAF Northolt and Farnborough. See here for a reminder of the benefits of private jets.
Private Jet Charter in UK
To hire a private jet you would normally purchase via a charter operator or air charter broker. The operator is a company licensed to fly paying passengers on aircraft it owns or manages. A charter broker is an intermediary company or individual which through a network of operators can arrange an air charter for a customer. The UK (and European) market is fragmented with many small operators.
The cost of chartering a jet for a flight to Europe will depend on the route and size of aircraft required. Expect to pay roughly from £4,000 to £12,000 for a day return on a short European flight - this is the price for the whole aircraft so divide by the number of passengers to get the price per person.
Note that Air Passenger Duty is likely to be levied on private jet flights in the UK from 2013 which will add a small surcharge on your charter.
Empty legs are private jet sectors flown empty and some companies sell these for up to 75% less than the standard charter rate. For shorter journeys you may also wish to consider Helicopter Charters in UK.
The following is a listing of some charter operators and brokers in the UK - this is by no means a comprehensive listing:
Charter Operators in UK
Blink - operates Cessna Citation Mustangs (4-seater Very Light Jets VLJs) offering cheap jet charter from hubs in London, Geneva, and the Channel Islands.
London Executive Aviation - bases at London City, Farnborough and other London airports, offers charters from VLJs to large cabin jets.
TAG - large global operator with a state-of-the-art facility at London Farnborough which includes the Aviator Hotel. Has a wide fleet of aircraft.
Gama Aviation - international charter operator with base at Farnborough with a broad fleet of liveried aircraft.
Bookajet - a UK charter company based at Farnborough.
There are a number of smaller operators based around
the regions. Examples are Centreline Air (Bristol), AD Aviation
(Liverpool), Air Charter Scotland, Private Sky (Ireland).
Air Charter Brokers in UK
Air Partner - One of the world's leading air charter brokers (with Royal seal) they can arrange jet charters, airliners and freight services worldwide.
Air Charter Service - a UK based air charter broker with worldwide presence.
Chapman Freeborn - large international air charter broker based near London Gatwick.
Hunt & Palmer - a large UK broker with international presence offering a high level of service.
PrivateFly - a small UK broker which provides an online platform to obtain jet charter quotes quickly.
A new development in the charter market is FlyVictor which calls itself a "private jet share community". Its free to join and members can bid for or sell any empty seats on listed chartered flights.
These are programs which sell annual jet flying hours, usually in blocks of either 25 or 50 hours. They tend to be priced in euros. Examples include:
JetCard from Air Partner which charges from €108,000 for 25 hours in a VLJ to €385,000 in a global jet. Jet Black card from BookaJet (25 hours from €125,000 to €277,000).
Other private jet cards include those from Netjets Europe and Blink's 50 hour Foresight card.
This is the purchase of a share of a private jet aircraft, generally from a 1/16 share (50 hours per year) right up to a full share (equivalent to 800 annual hours). Fractional ownership programs are very popular in the US due to various tax concessions; however they are less popular in UK and Europe.
The leading company in the fractional space is Netjets which has a Euro subsidiary NetJets Europe, headquartered in London. You need to pay a large up-front acquisition fee (though Netjets does offer finance options) and on top of this there will be monthly management fees and a fee per flying hour. After the contract period of 5 years Netjets can purchase back the share at a "fair market value", though fractional aircraft do suffer from heavy depreciation costs.
VLJ operator Blink also offers a fractional program for its Mustangs. A 1/4 share (150 hours) will set you back around £385,000 upfront with monthly management fee of £6,667 and an hourly rate of £850.
Outright Purchase of a Business Jet
This is an option only for serious users
who fly more than 400 hours per year. You will need to finance the large purchase
cost (£2m to £40m+ depending on aircraft) plus you need to pay for
aircraft management, maintenance and operation.