P rivate jet use in Europe is well established with some 2,500 private jets based in the continent and the possibility to land at up to 3,000 airports...
In Europe, jet
charter remains the most popular way to purchase a flight on a private jet,
that is renting a certain aircraft for a set date, time and route.
For those requiring longer annual flying hours there are options for block hours (jet cards), fractional ownership and outright purchase - although the large upfront costs make these a less popular choice.
Most of the private jet flights in Europe are taken by multinationals flying between the financial centres - London, Paris, Zurich, Geneva and Frankfurt. Leisure flights by wealthy individuals to Mediterranean hotspots are also popular. Demand from Russia has been increasing - Moscow is also becoming a major business aviation hub and some 600 jets are based in the country.
Private Jet Charter in Europe
There are generally 2 ways to purchase a private jet charter - via an aircraft operator, a company which is licensed to fly passengers on aircraft it manages or owns; or via an air charter broker, essentially an intermediary company or individual who can arrange an aircraft charter through a network of operators. The European business aviation market is quite fragmented with around 1,000 operators.
The cost of chartering a jet for a flight within Europe will depend on the route and size of aircraft required. Expect to pay roughly from €5,000 to €15,000 for a day return on a standard European flight - this price will be for the whole aircraft so divide by the number of passengers to get the price per person.
Empty legs are private jet sectors flown empty and some companies sell these for up to 75% less than the standard charter rate.
The following is a listing of some charter operators and brokers of note in Europe - this is by no means a comprehensive listing:
Charter Operators in Europe
Blink - operates Cessna Citation Mustangs (4-seater Very Light Jets VLJs) offering cheap jet charter from hubs in London, Geneva, and the Channel Islands.
VistaJet - a rapidly growing Swiss based charter company with presence in Europe/UK/Asia. Its fleet has a consistent red-striped livery and interiors are luxuriously appointed. Aircraft fleet from midsize to global.
TAG - large global operator with a state-of-the-art facility at London Farnborough plus presence in Madrid and Geneva. Has a wide fleet of aircraft.
PrivatAir - Swiss based air operator which specialises in large jets and airliners.
Comlux - Another Swiss operator with a broad fleet of luxurious large jets based in Europe and the Middle East.
Abelag - Operator with a large fleet based in the Belgium, Netherlands and northern France.
Executive Airlines - Spanish operator with large fleet of aircraft that specialises in intercontinental flying.
Air Charter Brokers in Europe
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 - an international air charter broker with European presence in UK, France, Germany, Russia and Spain.
Chapman Freeborn - large international air charter broker with offices throughout Europe.
Hunt & Palmer - a large UK/international broker offering a high level of service.
Private Jet Charter - large independent charter broker with offices in London, Nice, Moscow plus Dubai and Florida.
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. Many of the flights are intra-Europe.
These are programs which sell annual jet flying hours, usually in blocks of either 25 or 50 hours. 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 UK operator BookaJet (25 hours from €125,000 to €277,000). Other jet cards are from Blink (Foresight, 50 hour program), Abelag (25 hour Private Jet Card) and NetJets Europe.
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 Europe and prices tend to be higher than the US.
The leading company in the fractional ownership space is Netjets, which has a Euro subsidiary NetJets Europe, headquartered in London with main operational base in Portugal. You pay a large up-front acquisition fee (Netjets can offer finance options) and on top of this will be monthly management fees and actual flying hourly fees. After the contract period of 5 years, Netjets can purchase back the share at a "fair market value" - note, fractional aircraft may suffer heavy depreciation costs.
Other companies offering fractional programs are Abelag and Blink.
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 (€2.5m to €50m+ depending on aircraft) plus you need to pay for aircraft management, maintenance and operation. Some companies offer aircraft sales and acquisition consultancy services to help you find a purchase solution - examples include Global Jet Concept (Switzerland), Gama Aviation (UK), MasterJet (France/Portugal).
Private Jet-Commercial Airline Partnerships
Lufthansa offers private
jet flights from Europe operated by partner NetJets Europe. The flights are purchased
either on a stand alone basis or as a connection to an intercontinental Lufthansa
or Swiss flight. Flyers can earn Miles & More frequent flyer miles. See Lufthansa