Tag Archives: Private Aviation News

U.S. Charter Activity ‘Marches’ 7.7 Percent while Fractional Remains Anemic

Photo: charter jets on ramp with large cabin charter flight departing

Large cabin jet charters climbed 15% in March, year-over-year.  Photo courtesy New Flight Charters.

Part 135 flying led business aviation last month with a 15 percent climb in large cabin jet charters.

From Aviation International News 4/9/18:

Business aircraft flying in the U.S. and Canada continued its ascent last month, but the 2.6 percent year-over-year increase was once again almost solely due to rising Part 135 activity, according to TraqPak data released by Argus International. Weaker flying at the fractional providers and especially at Part 91 operators caused activity to miss the company’s estimate for a 4.2 percent increase in March; this month, it is expecting a 2.8 percent rise.

By operator category, Part 135 flying led the pack last month, climbing 7.7 percent year-over-year, while fractional activity ventured back into positive territory, with a 0.6 percent gain over March 2017. Part 91 activity also remained anemic, once again recording a slight loss, falling 0.4 percent from a year ago.

All aircraft categories saw increases last month, with large-cabin jets coming out ahead with a 4.7-percent year-over-year increase, despite a 20.4 percent erosion in fractional large-cabin jet flying. This was followed by midsize jets, up 4.4 percent; turboprops, 1.8 percent; and light jets, 0.2 percent.

The only double-digit gain in individual categories last month belonged to Part 135 large-cabin jets, which rose 15.1 percent from a year ago. All individual categories under Part 91 suffered losses, with the exception of large-cabin jets, which rose 4.5 percent.


Source:  AINalerts, Aviation International News announcement

FlightList PRO, at $90 for 3 users no contract, is a favorite of the most experienced charter brokers and travel professionals; 80% of FlightList PRO users have arranged charters more than 10 years, 25% more than 20 years.  Free trials available.

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

2017 Results and 2018 Projections from 15 Air Charter Companies

Jet Charter Fleet

Photo courtesy New Flight Charters

Air charter activity is up worldwide according to data and anecdotal reports.  US and global economies are favorable and consumer sentiment is improving.  Recent US tax law changes are providing incentive and resources for business growth in the US and helping fuel the upward trend of business aviation for 2018.

We will let the industry speak for itself; from 15 air charter companies, organizations and individuals- compiled here are their own results, projections and commentary on business now and looking forward.

Jason Middleton, CEO, Silver Air

From January 18 Forbes.com:  “For us at Silver Air, the outlook for 2018 is great in pretty much all areas.  We are seeing aircraft sales go up, aircraft charter volume is going up, and charter clients are stepping up in the size of aircraft as well. We are seeing a particularly strong upswing in the Super Mid category. Aircraft like the Citation X and Challenger 300 are in high demand for charter.

PrivateFly

From company website and several online articles:  (PrivateFly acquired US broker Bird Dog Jet in 2017)  “PrivateFly has grown over 50% again in 2017, and we are looking to continue that growth path in 2018, in large part by U.S. expansion. We’ve grown both top line revenue and bottom line EBITDA as a profitable online platform in the digital space proving true viability. After opening our first US office in 2016, we’ve expanded our team with the recent takeover of Bird Dog Jet and received several new awards and accolades. These steps are just the beginning of our American growth, and we have big plans for 2018.”

Jamie Walker, President & CEO, Jet Linx Aviation

From January 18 Forbes.com:  “Our Jet Card business is growing at a strong and steady pace as more individuals realize the need for private aviation both in their business and leisure travel. Our average growth rate over the past five years has been 30% or more for both revenue and flight hours. I expect that business growth and utilization will continue to grow at 30% or more in 2018.

Overall, we’re seeing tremendous opportunities for growth in 2018 and beyond and are looking to expand to new markets on the east and west coasts, including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Salt Lake City and San Jose.”

New Flight Charters

Leading charter brokerage New Flight Charters announced in a national release about current jet charter trends and results: 12.5% increase in charter business overall lead by growth in midsize, super-midsize and heavy jets (+16%), and also turboprops (+18%) in that growing charter market segment.  International charters increased by 40% in 2017, led by flights to the Caribbean and Mexico.  Drivers to the growth included improved pricing options with floating fleets, personnel/service level, and increased repeat clients.  January 2018, it reports, continued the same trends.  The company offers the industry’s only “best price guarantee” for jet charter pricing and quotes.

Sergey Petrossov, CEO, JetSmarter

From January 18 Forbes.com:  “Business is great. We grew over 100% in 2017 for revenue and over 150% in passengers flown. We expect to double again in size in 2018. For the market, we believe the sharing economy will consume private aviation all the way from aircraft ownership to single seat bookings, and consumers will use multiple biz jet solutions for their travel needs.”

Monarch Air Group

Monarch Air Group, an aircraft management company, charter operator and charter broker based in Texas and Florida, published predictions for 2018.

  1. New clients will experience flying private
  2. Charters will lead the business aviation growth
  3. Bitcoin as a payment method will be a must
  4. Diversification as the key to withstanding shaky economies
  5. Consolidation of the very light jet segment

ARGUS

ARGUS through AIN Online 2/5/18:
For the first quarter, Argus predicts a 5 percent jump in year-over-year business aircraft traffic. January will lead the gains with a 5.4 percent increase, with February and March up 4.8 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively. Overall, business aircraft flights in the first quarter are expected to number 759,169.

Business aviation flights in the U.S. and Canada topped 3 million last year, reaching that mark for the first time since 2008, according to a 2017 Business Aircraft Activity Review released by Argus International. The 30-page review, which details Argus TraqPak flight activity data in 2017, reports that business aviation flights increased 3.9 percent overall and flight hours jumped 5.5 percent over 2016.

Year-over-year gains were posted in every month of 2017, Argus said, adding that the improvements were fairly consistent throughout the year. Activity in the first half of 2017 was up 3.9 percent over the same period in 2016, while activity in the second half of 2017 was up 3.8 percent.

Part 135 operations enjoyed the greatest gains, rising 9.2 percent last year. This improvement was driven by Part 135 large-cabin jet operations, which led all increases in 2017 with a 14.9 percent jump. Fractional flights ended the year up 4.7 percent, while Part 91 flights inched up 0.1 percent in 2017. Increased Part 91 large-cabin and midsize jet flights—up 2.9 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively—offset a slide in Part 91 light jet flights, down 0.7 percent, and turboprop flights, down 1.3 percent.

Joe Moeggenberg, CEO, ARGUS

From January 18 Forbes.com:  “For the first time since 2008, flight activity reached over three million flights in 2017, an upward trend we expect to see into 2018 as our TRAQPak analysis forecasted flight activity for Q1 in 2018 to increase 5% year over year. In 2017, Part 135 activity saw the largest year over year operation category increase of over 9% and large cabin aircraft saw the largest year over year increase across the industry, up almost 15%.

Steve Orfali, CEO, Jetset Group Inc. and Wholesale Jet Club

From January 18 Forbes.com:  “We believe 2018 will be another very strong year for our companies. Jetset Group saw a 30% increase in business in 2017, and we project about the same in 2018. The economy continues to flourish, and we are seeing more and more people shift to private jet travel as a result of it. I believe we will see some rising fuel prices in 2018, which could bring up the pricing on charters, but that’s why many people opt for our jet cards. They have guaranteed rates with no fuel surcharges.”

Stratos Jet Charter

Charter broker Stratos Jet Charter is calling for growth in charter, 5 trends for 2018:

  1. New aircraft models hitting the market in 2018
  2. Busy weekends for air traffic
  3. More air travelers become jet card program members
  4. Continued growth in charter market

Gary Hammes, President, Delta Private Jets

From January 18 Forbes.com:  “Business is strong, and with current economic conditions and stock market patterns we are anticipating another record year in 2018. We continue to see strong demand for our product, especially in the corporate space.  We expect to grow our charter business 15-20% and we expect a 20% increase in Jet Card sales. As 2018 progresses, we will continue to expand our fleet by about 15 aircraft to meet growth targets and demand. We are developing an enhanced jet card product, and we recently launched our Sky Access membership program which offers access to empty legs and fixed hourly rate private jet travel.”

ACI jets

ACI Jet is an FBO, aircraft manager and charter operator based in Southern California with a charter fleet of 11 midsize through ultra long range jets.

From article in Paso Magazine:  “Known for its work as a Fixed Base Operator (FBO), ACI Jet has locations at airports in Orange County, Oceano, San Luis Obispo, and Paso Robles, but the company began when Bill Borgsmiller fueled his Piper Seneca III as the company’s first charter aircraft in 1998.

ACI Jet now employs 190 people, operates a fleet of private jet aircraft, and celebrates a banner year in 2017 with a 20-year anniversary and more growth in 2018.

“In this last year, one of the most exciting things is a new location in Orange County,” Borgsmiller said. “We are adding new aircraft to the fleet. There is big growth.”

In concert with the expansion at the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, ACI Jet is building a 35,000-square-foot office complex, and an adjacent 25,000-square-foot hangar as its corporate headquarters on the grounds.”

Andrew Collins, CEO, Sentient Jet and Skyjet

From January 18 Forbes.com:  “We had an incredibly strong year at both Sentient Jet and Skyjet. Each brand saw growth in many of our key-performance measurements. We moved into new headquarters, launched new products, and pushed our brand and partnership visibility up a few notches.

I feel relatively bullish on 2018 within the major client markets that we serve, especially those in the financial sector. We’re projecting significant growth at both brands and seek to continue to push into new product categories and client segments.

Lastly, it feels like a number of upstarts that pursued significant growth models will continue to have industry visibility. However, unlike perhaps the past few years, they will have to mature their models to meet investor requests and demands and provide real insight into how they will scale and how they plan on truly impacting the private aviation buying segment.”

Greg Raiff, CEO, Private Jet Services (PJS) Group

From January 18 Forbes.com:  “Our corporate and leisure business was up year over year more than 100% when we compare 2016 to 2017. We expect that dynamic growth to continue in 2018, as the geometric increase in the number of private flyers globally, and the price efficiency of our solution gains broad recognition.”

Kenny Dichter, Founder and CEO, Wheels Up

From January 18 Forbes.com:  “Wheels Up is celebrating its 5th anniversary in 2018. We expect another banner year and to exit with 6,000 active members and a $400 million run rate with over 100 aircraft. We took delivery of our first three Citation Xs so we are now a three airplane type fleet. Wheels Up is revenue growing at over 35% per year, and we expect that kind of growth rate moving forward.”

 


Sources:  company announcements, press releases, articles, online media

FlightList PRO is used by the most successful and experienced brokers and travel professionals in the industry; 80% of users have arranged charters more than 10 years, 25% more than 20 years.

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

Boeing Business Jet Coming to Unrestricted Charter Availability

Boeing Business Jet for charter with unrestricted availability, operated by Silver Air.

Boeing Business Jet for charter with unrestricted availability, operated by Silver Air.

US charter operator Silver Air announces the coming addition of a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) to its charter fleet, creating the nation’s only unrestricted charter availability on a world-class BBJ. Starting spring 2018, the new BBJ based in Southern California will begin serving global executive and entertainment markets.

Silver Air’s Boeing Business Jet has a 16-passenger VVIP cabin configuration. For overnight flights, a 10-passenger sleeping arrangement is available, complete with a master bedroom suite and private bathroom with shower.

The Boeing Business Jet is capable of flying more than 6,000 uninterrupted miles and is equipped with the amenities expected on an aircraft of this caliber including: global Wi-Fi, a VIP private office, lounge area, a full service galley with private chef services, and a high-end assortment of DEAN & DELUCA snacks and a selection of world class wines.

Boeing Business Jet cabin, operated by Silver Air with unrestricted availability.

Boeing Business Jet cabin, operated by Silver Air with unrestricted availability.

All 20 Silver Air charter aircraft are included ONLY in the FlightList PRO multi-search platform along with all 16,631 charter aircraft and 3,419 operators worldwide automatically.

“This is an extremely unique opportunity for our charter clients to enjoy the ultimate private jet experience,” said Jason Middleton, Silver Air’s CEO. “Silver Air’s BBJ features the absolute highest level of service, luxury and comfort available in private aviation. There simply isn’t another charter operator in the country that has a BBJ of this caliber available on an unrestricted basis. It’s a game changer for Silver Air and our clients.”

Silver Air manages privately owned aircraft from Southern California to the Bay Area and Dallas. In addition to the newly signed Boeing Business Jet, Silver Air’s fleet includes light to large-cabin jets: Gulfstream GIV-SP, GIV, Dassault Falcon 2000, G200, Challenger 300, Phenom 100, Citation CJ3, Citation CJ2, and Citation X models.

The company’s charter fleet now numbers 20 aircraft, from turboprops to the new Boeing Business Jet.  The operator has acquired the ARGUS Platinum and IS-BAO ratings, and is a member of the Air Charter Safety Foundation.


Source:  company press release

FlightList PRO is used by the most successful and experienced brokers and travel professionals in the industry; 80% of users have arranged charters more than 10 years, 25% more than 20 years.

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

New Private Jet Charter Empty Legs Listing Nationwide Announced by New Flight Charters

Largest Public Listing includes over 150 Jet Charter Empty Legs Nationwide Sourced and Published by Top-Rated Jet Charter Brokerage.

New Flight Charters, a charter aircraft owner and leader in the private jet charter space since 2004, in a news release has announced the largest public listing of empty legs in the jet charter industry.  The company now is listing over 150 upcoming and available empty legs from U.S. private charter aircraft.

EMPTY LEGS

Hawker 800XP jet charter with New Flight Charters at Jackson Hole, WY airport.

Hawker 800XP jet charter with New Flight Charters at Jackson Hole, WY airport.

Also known as dead-heads or ferry flights, empty legs are flights without passengers on board when an aircraft needs to be moved.  Often a private charter jet will have empty leg flights associated with an existing flight schedule- when it needs to move to another location to start a charter, or return back to base after completing a charter, or the same situations for its owner flights.

These empty legs, when an aircraft needs to fly a certain direction, can be a unique opportunity for a low-cost jet charter.  Aircraft can be re-routed to accommodate a charter flight need.  For example, an empty leg from Houston to Denver can be rerouted for a Dallas to Aspen charter at a much lower than normal cost.

RATES

Rates can vary since each empty leg charter is unique, but pricing is typically 30-50% lower than standard charter quotes.

Examples from the current Empty Legs Listing of 150 flights include:·

  • Jackson Hole, WY – Denver, CO, Hawker 400XT light jet, December 19, $6,800
  • Boca Raton, FL – Teterboro, NJ, Embraer Legacy 600 large jet, December 21, $15,450
  • Sun Valley, ID – Los Angeles, CA, Phenom 300 light jet, December 22, $6,900
  • New York, NY – Palm Beach, FL, Citation CJ3 light jet, December 27, $10,600
  • Los Angeles, CA – Aspen, CO, Gulfstream IV large jet, December 31, $13,950

“When an empty leg matches up with a flight need, there is no better value in private flying,” commented Rick Colson, New Fight Charters’ president.  “Working with the largest charter availability in the industry we use a variety of tools to source ideal aircraft options for any given charter request.”

FLOATING FLEETS

All Floating Fleets are listed only in the FlightList PRO multi-search platform along with all 16,631 charter aircraft and 3,419 charter operators worldwide. 

Floating Fleets are a second attractive and lower cost solution.  A fast-growing option in private jet charter is utilizing a non-based Floating Fleet aircraft for better one-way pricing, point-to-point.  These can be available in all parts of the U.S., for all types of flying, from shorter one-hour flights to coast-to-coast and international flights.  Floating Fleet aircraft do not have to return to a base, and thus can be more cost-effective charter options.

334 floating fleet jets are available nationwide through New Flight Charters; all sizes from light jets to ultra long-range jets such as the Global 5000.  Charter quotes for these floating fleet aircraft are typically 15-30% less than traditional based aircraft.

Any requested charter need can be fully customized for aircraft, size, type, and amenities along with desired ratings or registrations from ARGUSÒ, Wyvern Ltd.Ò, IS-BAO or the Air Charter Safety Foundation.

About New Flight Charters

Since 2004 charter aircraft owner and leading U.S. private jet charter brokerage New Flight Charters has arranged private domestic and international flights with top-rated operator aircraft along with its jet charter pricing Best Price Guarantee, top aircraft availability, industry empty legs list, and a perfect safety history. As a registered U.S. government contractor with an A+ rating by the BBB, and named to the Inc.500 fastest growing list four consecutive years, the jet charter company handles 1,400 flights annually nationwide and serves a wide variety of clientele including Fortune 500 companies, government heads of state, presidential campaigns, entertainment icons, private families and entrepreneurs. Extensive client reviews and industry ratings are available on the New Flight Charters website.

For charter quotes or information nationwide, call (800) 732-1653.

Colorado private charter information and quotes for Denver, Aspen, Vail, Telluride and more can be found at Jet Charter Colorado.  For private jet charter information to and from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, see Jackson Hole Jet Charter.  The nationwide jet charter aircraft listing can be found at Jet Charter Review.


Source:  company press release

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.  FlightList PRO is used by the most successful and experienced brokers and travel professionals in the industry; 80% of users have arranged charters more than 10 years, 25% more than 20 years. 

Global Charter Operator Zetta Jet Calls It Quits

International long range jet operator Zetta Jet ceased operations yesterday, Nov. 30, according to court documents.  Zetta Jet owned and operated a fleet of branded Global 6000’s and Challenger 650’s and focused on the Asia-Pacific-US region, and had been embroiled in internal lawsuits and a Chapter 11 filing which is now moving to Chapter 7 proceedings.  The operator is turning over it’s air carrier certificate to the U.S. FAA according to reports.

zetta jet charter operator backruptsy

Global air charter operator Zetta Jet ceased operations November 30. A reliable source said the company is leaving its fleet of Bombardier Challengers and Globals parked where they are at the end of the day. (Photo: David McIntosh/AIN)

Aviation International News, by Kerry Lynch, Nov. 30

Just a few weeks after believing that it had lined up $8.5 million in post Chapter 11 petition financing, international air charter operator Zetta Jet is ceasing operations today and turning over its air operator’s certificate to the U.S. FAA. Court documents show that the trustee in the Zetta Jet bankruptcy case, Jonathan King, a partner and co-chair of DLA Piper’s white collar, corporate crime and investigations practice, has asked the court for a change from Chapter 11 proceedings to Chapter 7 proceedings. The change to liquidation came after the U.S. Court apparently denied Zetta Jet’s bid for new financing, a decision that was said to have come as a surprise.

Zetta Jet had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September after ousting managing director Geoffery Cassidy. Zetta Jet in mid-November announced it had arranged financing from existing lessor Scout Aviation II and said it hoped to secure a buyer for the company.

The Zetta Jet brand was launched a little more than two years ago and had become one of the fastest-growing charter operators in the Asia-Pacific region with a fleet of Bombardier Globals and Challengers. Although it was originally a Singapore-based company, the bankruptcy proceedings were filed in U.S. courts. The U.S. branch was built up following a merger less than a year ago with aircraft management specialist Advanced Air Management.


Source:  AIN article news article
Copyrights held by Aviation International News (AIN)

The FlightList PRO multi-search platform, the world’s largest, includes all 16,631 charter aircraft and 3,419 charter operators worldwide.  FlightList PRO is used by the most experienced brokers and travel professionals in the industry; 80% of users have arranged charters more than 10 years, 25% more than 20 years.  Access to the multi-search platform for 3 users is just $90/month-to-month.

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

Charter Ratings for Operators, Brokers, Examined in Industry Article

Aviation International News (AIN) today published an article under their ‘Charter & Fractional’ news category, about the state of third-party charter safety ratings and certifications for operators and brokers in the air charter industry.

The article explores the confusing nature of various ratings by different charter ratings firms, and the “myriad logos, seals and badges received from charter rating firms” displayed by operators and brokers.

The story includes ARGUS, Wyvern and the Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) and stems from a November 2017 NTSP report about the fatal crash of a chartered Hawker 700 operated by Execuflight, which held Argus Gold and Wyvern Registered charter ratings.

Are Charter Ratings Worth their Weight in Gold?

Since then, Wyvern changed the name of its non-audited rating to “Registered with Wyvern data network.” It has also posted the following disclaimer on its website: “Membership in the Registered with Wyvern data network does not constitute a safety certification nor is it intended to imply an endorsement of an operator’s commitment to best practices in business aviation.”

All 4 industry safety ratings and registries are included ONLY in the FlightList PRO multi-search platform along with all 16,631 charter aircraft and 3,419 operators worldwide.

Wyvern CEO Art Dawley added, “Knowing that the operator has chosen not to be audited and certified in the Wingman program, the data network allows customers to assess alternative criteria that allows them to set their own level of acceptable risk. Wyvern does not rate companies; if operators pass our criteria during an on-site audit, they receive Wingman certification.”

Contrary to Wyvern, Cincinnati, Ohio-based Argus has several operator ratings, and because it does—especially its two programs that allow charter operators to use round-shaped gold seals in their marketing materials and websites—president and CEO Joe Moeggenberg said he understands why some people have been confused. He didn’t argue that the average charter customer might incorrectly assume that a gold rating means its a gold-standard charter operator. The company offers Gold, Gold Plus and Platinum ratings.

To earn the Gold rating, operators volunteer info and Argus does historical safety analysis, pilot background checks and operational control validation. Argus’s Gold Plus is the result of an on-site audit, but the operator doesn’t meet the high standards of its top-tier Platinum rating or chooses not to fix “non-safety” issues within 120 days.

When asked why the company still offers Gold Plus since the Platinum rating far exceeds FAA minimums, Moeggenberg said, “Operators that choose not to have a safety management system [SMS] or an emergency response plan [ERP] can become Gold Plus. It’s not required by the FAA that Part 135 operators have an SMS or an ERP.”

There are also several scenarios where an operator might be downgraded from Platinum to Gold Plus status. One of these is when an operator “has parts of a SMS implemented within its company but chooses not to train employees in the fundamentals of the SMS,” he told AIN.

Moeggenberg also said that if an operator “does not have a hazard reporting system in every area of the company,” then that operator would become Gold Plus rated. He noted, “All industry best practices and regulatory requirements have some degree of safety impact for an operator.”

As of early October, Moeggenberg said Argus has completed its click-through software so consumers of operators or brokers can verify the status of ratings in real time. “We’re in the process of notifying our customers,” he said. Wyvern has already had this verifying process available for several years.

According to Dawley, Wyvern’s database includes approximately 2,026 Part 135 operators, though that number changes daily. He said there are 21,471 commercial and airline transport rated pilots in the Wyvern database. The number of operators that can be referenced in the Wingman Certified Directory was approximately 120 at press time. Moeggenberg reported there are currently 154 audited on-demand charter operators in his company’s system.

BROKER PROGRAMS

In addition, Argus has two charter broker rating programs—registered and certified, the latter via on-site audit. However, some of its criteria is confusing. For example, Argus’s Gold Plus audited charter operators aren’t required to have an ERP, yet certified charter brokers are expected to have this program.

“To start, a [brokerage] company is required to provide adequate documentation to determine the legitimacy of business, such as articles of incorporation; how that business is conducted, employee and operations manuals; what protections are in place for consumers; contracts; terms and conditions; and insurance,” Moeggenberg said. “They are also required to sign the Baltic Air Charter Association pledge.”

He said if the broker meets the standards of the evaluation, it’s considered Argus Registered. An Argus Certified Broker undergoes an onsite audit after completing the registration process.

“This audit verifies the information gained during the registration process, but also evaluates a broker’s due diligence process, how well its ERP is designed and how knowledgeable the brokers are in their market, among other things,” Moeggenberg explained.

Both Wyvern and the Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) mandate that operators have a fully implemented SMS and an ERP. As well, neither has a broker program.

Russ Lawton, ACSF’s director of safety management aviation/safety action program, said, “The ACSF does not conduct the audits. Instead, it trains and accredits audit organizations. There are at present two accredited audit organizations: Argus and R. Dixon Speas Associates. The listing of current [15] audited companies is listed on ACSF’s website.”

Lawton added that the ACSF does not offer any “ratings, certifications or reviews for non-audited companies.”

As for not having a broker program, Dawley said, “It is a non-regulated industry with little oversight and guidance, which makes assessing any individual or company against a globally accepted benchmark challenging. There are no globally accepted benchmarks or requirements of which Wyvern is aware.”

AINonline article here


Source:  AIN article news article
Copyrights held by Aviation International News (AIN)

All four main industry safety program ratings and registries are included by operator ONLY in the FlightList PRO multi-search platform, which includes all worldwide 16,631 charter aircraft and 3,419 charter operators.  FlightList PRO is used by the most successful and experienced brokers and travel professionals in the industry; 80% of users have arranged charters more than 10 years, 25% more than 20 years.

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

Sunwing Travel Group Adds Private Jet Service

Photo: SunwingJets

The Sunwing Travel Group, based in Toronto, announced yesterday it has added a new line of business to its corporate portfolio with the introduction of “SunwingJets”, a luxury private jet service, according to a company release.

Customers can select from a fleet ranging from economical turboprops to executive class luxury jets comfortably accommodating up to 15 passengers.

According to the company, SunwingJets’ Concierge Service offers 24/7 service and a personalized inflight experience featuring a broad range of amenities and dining options.

The full 9-aircraft fleet of Flightexec is ONLY available in the FlightList PRO multi-search platform along with all 16,631 charter aircraft worldwide.  Free 30-day trials are available.

SunwingJets is operated by Toronto-based charter operator, Flightexec, according to the SunwingJets website.  Flightexec operates a fleet of 9 charter aircraft including piston, turboprop, light jet, midsize and heavy Jets.

Sunwing Travel Group says it offers a variety of options to suit all budgets.  The company has been increasing its luxury product offering with the continued expansion of Royalton All-In Luxury™ resorts and a variety of vacation upgrade options ranging from private transfers to presidential suites.

“We’ve seen an increase in demand for luxury travel products and in particular private jet charter service from our corporate affiliates across the sports, music, and financial sectors, as well as our retail partners specializing in meeting, incentive, and destination weddings”, said Stephen Hunter, CEO & President of Sunwing Travel Group, adding “we are pleased to be able to address this demand and feel this service is a great complement to our existing suite of luxury products”.

Sunwing Travel Group is a privately owned, vertically integrated travel company headquartered in Toronto. The group operates an airline, three tour operators, a retail chain and destination management company.


Source:  company press release and website

All 822 Canadian charter aircraft and 197 operators in Canada are available ONLY in the FlightList PRO multi-search platform which includes all worldwide 16,631 charter aircraft and 3,419 charter operators.  FlightList PRO is used by the most successful and experienced brokers and travel professionals in the industry; 80% of users have arranged charters more than 10 years, 25% more than 20 years.

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

Charter Floating Fleet Operator flyExclusive Plans Rapid Growth

After Delta acquisition, aviation entrepreneur charts growth with new airline

Seven years after selling his private jet service to Delta Air Lines, aviation entrepreneur Jim Segrave is “getting the band back together” in Kinston.

His new charter company, LGM Enterprises, is doing business as flyExclusive at Global Transpark. And it involves many of the same employees that helped him build Segrave Aviation, purchased by Delta subsidiary Delta AirElite in 2010 for an undisclosed sum.

This time, however, Segrave is doing things a bit differently. “We own all our own planes, for one,” he says.

To cover the costs, LGM has closed on $315,000 in debt capital, part of an offering capped at $2.5 million, according to a securities filing disclosed May 3rd.

flyExclusive and its 20-aircraft fleet are included in the Floating Fleets section of FlightList PRO‘s multi-search platform along with all 232 floating fleet aircraft and 14 operators.  Get your free 30-day trial here.

The 2-year-old firm already has a fleet of more than 20 airplanes, according to Segrave. He says flyExclusive adds a plane every two to three weeks.

While the first company had 17 different types of jets in its fleet, the new firm has just two. He says standardization means all of his pilots can fly all of his planes – giving him scheduling flexibility.

Editor note: The fleet currently includes 7 Citation CJ2 light jets, and 13 Citation Excel/XLS aircraft, all model year 2000-2008.  flyExclusive was recently highlighted in a previous charter alert as now being approved for the ARGUS Platinum rating.

Segrave says the business model is working. FlyExclusive targets high net-worth individuals, business executives and families. Already, the company averages about 1,500 hours per month in the air, with about a $60 million annual run rate, he adds. The goal is to increase the fleet to 50 airplanes “as fast as I can do it,” he explains. “It will probably take me two years.”

The firm has 110 employees.

Article in Triangle Business Journal here


Previous Charter Alert about flyExclusive, 7/14/17


Sources:  Article in Triangle Business Journal, public information

All 20 flyExclusive charter aircraft are available in the FlightList PRO multi-search platform which includes all 16,631 charter aircraft and 3,419 charter operators worldwide.  FlightList PRO is used by the most successful and experienced brokers and travel professionals in the industry; 80% of users have arranged charters more than 10 years, 25% more than 20 years.

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

How To Make Money With Airplanes- Management, Jet Cards, Charter: Operator Jet Linx Reaches 100 Aircraft at 14 Bases, 38 Added in 2016

Jet management company and charter operator Jet Linx reaches 100-aircraft milestone

Jet Linx charter operator management company

“A hundred airplanes is a phenomenal benchmark,” said Jet Linx President and CEO Jamie Walker. Photo: Matt Miller/The World-Herald

The trick to making money with airplanes is to not own them.

Jet Linx learned that lesson four years after the Omaha company started in 1999, giving up ownership of its jets and shifting to aircraft management and a private jet travel card service.

Now, Jet Linx is celebrating its 100th managed jet — actually, the fleet stands at 101 today — and ranks No. 3 in the highly fragmented industry of managing and renting out expensive air vehicles as a service to their owners.

“A hundred airplanes is a phenomenal benchmark,” said Jet Linx President and CEO Jamie Walker.

He hosted about 400 clients, staff members, vendors and others for supper at downtown Omaha’s Blatt Beer & Table restaurant, followed by a private concert by the band Smash Mouth at Slowdown.

No. 1 in managed fleet size is Executive Jet Management, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway’s NetJets. No. 2 is Gama Aviation, based in Hampshire, England.

Jet Linx added 38 aircraft last year and is headed for 110 by the end of 2017. Walker attributed that growth, about 30 percent a year in revenue, to the people running its network of 14 local private airport terminals, alongside the 95-member staff at its operational headquarters in Omaha.

From pilots to airplane polishers, Jet Linx has 485 employees.

Members of the Jet Linx local Omaha FBO team, with their Hawker 800XP midsize jet and crew.  Photo: Jet Linx

Joe Moeggenberg, president and CEO of air travel data company ARGUS International of Cincinnati, said Jet Linx’s local network is a unique structure in private jet management, an industry with 2,300 businesses, nearly all of them tiny, that manage private jet airplanes.

Jet Linx — an ARGUS customer — has a cost advantage because most of its flights start or end at its network cities, Moeggenberg said, meaning fewer expensive empty-cabin flights.

Aside from a few jets managed exclusively for their owners, Jet Linx’s card customers can book any of the airplanes made available at the owners’ discretion.

Jet Linx handles fueling, maintenance, safety checks, hangar storage and other services, including employing pilots, as well as scheduling and tracking flights for Jet Linx’s card members, more than 200 in Omaha and 1,300 total.

All 79 Jet Linx charter aircraft nationwide are included in FlightList PRO‘s multi-search platform along with all all 16,631 charter aircraft and 3,419 charter operators worldwide.  Free 30-day trials available here.

Card members are guaranteed hourly rates — $3,500 to $8,500, depending on the size of the plane — as well as flight access and safety standards, Walker said. Their travel fees cover Jet Linx’s costs and supply revenue for the aircraft owners, often cutting net operating costs by 50 percent.

But no matter how well you manage costs, Walker said, there’s an industry truism: “You cannot make money owning an airplane.”

Besides operating expenses, aircraft prices are high, especially for long-range aircraft.

Jet Linx’s fleet includes seven-passenger Beechjet 400s that can travel 1,400 miles on a tank of fuel, often priced around $700,000, and 14-passenger, $20 million-plus Gulfstream 450s with a 5,000-mile range.

Walker said some businesses would end their company flight operations if they had to absorb all the costs. By bringing in revenue from travel card customers they can keep the convenience and time savings that jets offer.

Besides Omaha, Jet Linx’s local offices are in Atlanta; Dallas; Denver; Detroit; Forth Worth, Texas; Houston; Indianapolis; Nashville, Tennessee; St. Louis; San Antonio; Scottsdale, Arizona; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C.

Jet Linx is majority owner of each location, with a local partner as minority owner.

“We need somebody locally who gives us that credibility and trust and support in that community,” Walker said, plus contacts to recruit as travel card members.

Besides reduced “dead-head” flight costs, he said, the terminals provide local-style, personalized service for card members and aircraft owners. The local Jet Linx partner typically becomes “the jet guy” in each city, he said.

Later this year Jet Linx’s local offices will celebrate the 100-aircraft landmark. Jet Linx was founded by Denny Walker, Jamie’s father and now chairman. He is former head of MemberWorks Inc., an Omaha-based card membership company. Jamie Walker said Jet Linx has room to grow, with plans to open about two locations a year. He said another dozen or so U.S. cities meet Jet Linx’s requirements for airport services and other standards.

The Omaha World-Herald is owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

By: , 6/26/17.  Article in the Omaha World-Herald here.


All 79 Jet Linx charter aircraft are available in the FlightList PRO multi-search platform which includes all 16,631 charter aircraft and 3,419 charter operators worldwide.  FlightList PRO is used by the most successful and experienced brokers and travel professionals in the industry; 80% of users have arranged charters more than 10 years, 25% more than 20 years.

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

Two Popular US Charter Operators Now ARGUS Platinum

Two popular US charter operators now carry the ARGUS Platinum rating, the highest designation available from the aviation services and safety organization, ARGUS.  With this, 31 more aircraft spanning both US coasts, have the Platinum designation.

The two-year-old operator flyExclusive with its fast growing floating fleet has become a major player in the one-way pricing charter market nationwide.

Operating a defined fleet of seventeen jets, consisting of eleven midsize Citation Excels and six Citation CJ2 light jets, flyExclusive is included in both the Aircraft Search and the Floating Fleets sections of FlightList PRO’s multi-search platform, along with all 14 floating fleet operators and 232 aircraft.


Founded in 2006, Latitude 33 Aviation manages the largest and newest fleet of light jets in the United States according to a company press release. Headquartered at KCRQ McClellan-Palomar Airport in Southern California, Latitude 33 Aviation is convenient to San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles and surrounding areas.

Operating a total of fourteen aircraft for charter, Latitude 33 offers seven Citation CJ3 and CJ3+, and four other Citations; M2, CJ4, XLS and Sovereign.  Rounding out the current fleet are a Phenom 100 and two Phenom 300’s.  All are manufacturing dates of 2005 or newer.

The fleet is based in Southern and Central California, the majority in the Los Angeles and San Diego area, including 9 at KCRQ Palomar Airport, Carlsbad, CA, a northern Suburb of San Diego.

The full fleets of flyExclusive and Latitude 33 are only available in  FlightList PRO‘s multi-search platform, the only source including all Part-135 certified charter aircraft and operators in the US and worldwide.  Free 30-day access is available here.


Currently worldwide, 1,698 charter, cargo and ambulance aircraft with 134 operators carry the ARGUS Platinum rating, 1,372 aircraft and 109 operators are in the United States.

ARGUS International, Inc. is one of four main aircraft operations safety services and registration organizations, and has the largest number of operators subscribing.

Other major safety services organizations include Wyvern Ltd., Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF), and the International Business Aircraft Council (IBAC).

flyExclusive and Latitude 33 both also carry the Wyvern Registered designation.


Other Charter Alert about Latitude 33, 9/29/16


Source:  Company press releases, news and public information

All 4 major safety standard organizations and 6 operator ratings are included by operators in the FlightList PRO multi-search platform which includes all 16,631 charter aircraft and 3,419 charter operators worldwide.  FlightList PRO is used by the most successful and experienced brokers and travel professionals in the industry; 80% of users have arranged charters more than 10 years, 25% more than 20 years.

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

The Future For Charter – XOJET, Part 3

By Alasdair WhyteJune 16, 2017, Corporate Jet Investor


Part 1 – An overview and brief history of XOJet touching on its strategic goals and fleet
Part 2 – The Six Principals of Owned Charter


Part 3

The future for charter

With XOJET, his consultancy background and a place on the JetSmarter board, CEO Brad Stewart has a wide view of the US business aviation market. He also spends a lot of time thinking about it.

“There are three key themes at the moment,” says Stewart. “Private airlines like Surf Air or JetSuiteX offering fixed schedules; digital brokerage like JetSmarter, Victor and others; and plane sharing.”

He is not convinced all of them will necessarily succeed. “As a former consultant to United I know how tough the airline market is. Airlines have trouble making money when they cannot fill aircraft. It is much harder with five or six passengers and smaller aircraft,” says Stewart. “But we are not in this market so I don’t know how big it can become.”

Stewart is also unsure if selling individual seats on other routes will work.

“Plane sharing is still unknown.”

“Plane sharing is still unknown. It seems to work on some fixed routes but I am not sure how big this,” says Stewart. “But we are seeing JetSmarter and Wheels Up try it.”

Although he is watching new business models closely he does not see any direct competitors. “We operate in a very different market. Our customers are prepared to pay more for a whole aircraft and have customers with very different requirements,” says Stewart.

XOJet and its 41-aircraft fleet are included in both the Aircraft Search and the Floating Fleets sections of FlightList PRO‘s multi-search platform along with all 232 floating fleet aircraft and 14 operators.  Free 30-day trials available here.

But he is convinced that digital brokers will shape the industry.  “Digital brokerage is the idea that customers can push a button and get a jet. This is happening. This is a real thing. You have to have an app and online offering.”

JetSmarter announced what it called a strategic partnership with XOJET in 2016. JetSmarter favours XOJET aircraft when its customers charter mid-size aircraft and JetSmarter is developing an app for XOJET customers. Significant XOJET customers – ones spending more than $200,000 a year – also get free membership of JetSmarter.

Stewart is a member of JetSmarter’s board and believes that tech company is not understood by many in the market. “JetSmarter is first and foremost a digital story and secondly a plane story,’ he says. “JetSmarter is the undisputed leader in business aviation.

Private equity typically does not hold on for 10 years but Stewart says that XOJET’s investors  and co-owners TPG and Mubadala are prepared to wait.  “TPG is a wonderful investor,” he says. “We are responsible for getting a great return but there is no pressure for us to sell.” He is an adviser to TPG on aviation and points to its investment in TMC as its support for the sector.

“I am not the sort of person who is jealous of someone with a washboard stomach.

He laughs when asked if he is  jealous of JetSmarter’s valuation. “I am not the sort of person who is jealous of someone with a washboard stomach. My parents taught me to be happy with what I have and I am very proud of XOJET.”

He adds: “It is fantastic being responsible for a whole enterprise. I wake up in the morning and go to run a $500 million business with thousands of clients who are interesting people. It is also satisfying seeing how the business has changed,” says Stewart, “and we have not reached our full potential yet.”

By Alasdair Whyte, Corporate Jet Investor

Part 3 of 3


Source:  Alasdair Whyte, Corporate Jet Investor, 6/16/17

All 41 XOJet charter aircraft are available in the FlightList PRO multi-search platform which includes all 16,631 charter aircraft and 3,419 charter operators worldwide.  FlightList PRO is used by the most successful and experienced brokers and travel professionals in the industry; 80% of users have arranged charters more than 10 years, 25% more than 20 years.

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

The Six Principals of Owned Charter – XOJET, Part 2

By Alasdair WhyteJune 16, 2017, Corporate Jet Investor


Part 1 was an overview and brief history of XOJet touching on its strategic goals and fleet.


Part 2

The six principles of owned charter

The majority of aircraft that are used for charter in the US are owned by individuals or companies that make them available when they do not need them. This means that most charter companies do not worry about ownership costs. XOJET is one of a relatively small number of charter operators that own aircraft.

Despite ownership costs, XOJET CEO Brad Stewart believes that there are benefits from an owned fleet.  As a former management consultant, he has identified six principles that an owner-operator needs to be profitable. These are: a closed loop network; a floating fleet; high utilization; direct distribution to customers; dynamic pricing; and scale advantages. Although he highlights that these principles may not work for new aircraft.

XOJET meets all of these tests.

More than 80% of passengers on XOJET aircraft come from its own sales team, including its programs. The company says that it sold more than 950 programs in 2016. This program includes Preferred Access (for a refundable $100,000 deposit); Elite Access (guaranteeing availability at 12 hour notice for $200,000 deposit and $8,500 hourly fee including fees and surcharges); and an Enterprise Access for corporates.

In the last few years, XOJET has also added sales offices in New York and Los Angeles to boost its direct sales. It is also about to open a new office in Palm Beach, Florida. This is on top of its headquarters in San Francisco and an operations centre in Sacramento.

XOJet and its 41-aircraft fleet are included in the Floating Fleets section of FlightList PRO‘s multi-search platform along with all 232 floating fleet aircraft and 14 operators.  Free 30-day trials available here.

Most of the 20% of passengers that it does not sell directly come from charter bookings made from broker Sentient Jet (part of Directional Capital) and JetSmarter – both XOJET preferred partners.

XOJET boosts its utilization by not basing aircraft at one airport and having just two types (this also saves on crew and maintenance costs).

He believes any owner-operator needs a minimum of 15 aircraft. XOJET now has a fleet of 41 super midsize aircraft (GMJ has another six). In January 2017 TPG also acquired TMC, which had been XOJET’s preferred travel provider for a number of years. TMC has another 55 aircraft. He does not plan to order any more aircraft for XOJET soon.

He has no plans to launch XOJET outside the US but he is keen to add aircraft management – something the company stopped focusing on in 2006.

“We have clients who are flying a lot and we can help advise them on the pros and cons of owning an aircraft versus program,” says Stewart. “We have a fantastic platform and can offer owners great service. And it fits into our advisory strength.”

He says that the company can launch management itself but is also interested in acquiring significant management companies.

By Alasdair Whyte, Corporate Jet Investor

Part 2 of 3


Source:  Alasdair Whyte, Corporate Jet Investor, 6/16/17

All 41 XOJet charter aircraft are available in the FlightList PRO multi-search platform which includes all 16,631 charter aircraft and 3,419 charter operators worldwide.  FlightList PRO is used by the most successful and experienced brokers and travel professionals in the industry; 80% of users have arranged charters more than 10 years, 25% more than 20 years.

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

Brad Stewart’s Next Plan for XOJET, Part 1 – Overview

By Alasdair WhyteJune 16, 2017, Corporate Jet Investor

Brad Stewart, CEO and Chairman of XOJet.

Photo: Corporate Jet Investor

Brad Stewart’s business card simply says CEO and chairman, XOJET.

But he actually runs three different companies. There is XOJET, the fleet operator; the company’s Aviation Advisors, XOJET Private Client Services – the charter brokerage; and GMJ Shuttle, which operates corporate shuttles for Fortune 100 companies. He is now looking at adding aircraft management.

“These are all very different businesses but they are connected and stronger together,” says Stewart. “At one level the brokerage and XOJET’s fleet operations are both about advising and serving customers. There is a real synergy there. XOJET and GMJ – no one ever focuses on GMJ – are also the best operators of aircraft in the world – with the highest return on capital in the industry. They do not have to be under the same brand to benefit from synergies.

Stewart says that the three companies also benefit from scale including sharing a management team.

XOJet and its 41-aircraft fleet are included in the Floating Fleets section of FlightList PRO‘s multi-search platform along with all 232 floating fleet aircraft and 14 operators.  Get your free 30-day trial here.

He says that he wants XOJET to be seen as a trusted adviser for individuals and companies looking to fly. This can include using XOJET aircraft or a fleet of 1,087 aircraft that have been vetted by his team. In 2016 much of the charter brokerage was focused on smaller or larger aircraft than XOJET operates. The company says that light jet and heavy jet charter was up 22%.

The three different businesses also give the company diversity. GMJ Shuttle runs corporate flights for large Fortune 100 businesses – a stable, profitable but slow growing division. Charter broking is profitable, relatively low-risk but low margin. XOJET – which owns its aircraft – is a riskier business with potentially higher rewards.

The company was founded in 2002 as PCMT by tech entrepreneur Paul Touw (now launching charter market Stellar). In 2006 it was renamed XOJET and ordered 12 new Cessna Citation X aircraft. In 2007 it raised finance from TPG – one of the greatest aviation investors ever – and Abu Dhabi fund Tasameem. It used this cash to placed orders for new aircraft including one for 20 Bombardier Challenger 300 jets worth $450 million. By 2012 it planned to be operating a fleet of 127 aircraft worth $3.1 billion. In April 2008 XOJET announced its international plans.

But then the global financial crisis hit. Demand for business jet charter fell sharply. The company was forced to change its business plan. Touw left (he has since launched Stellar a business jet charter marketplace). Stewart came in as adviser in 2010 and was promoted to president in 2013. “XOJET was effectively bankrupt in 2009 and 2010,” says Stewart. “The business model was not capable of surviving a terrible market so the company restructured in 2011 and 2012. It is much stronger now.”

The company had sales of more than $300 million in 2016 and Stewart says that it has been profitable for three years.

Part 1 of 3

By Alasdair Whyte, Corporate Jet Investor


Source:  Alasdair Whyte, Corporate Jet Investor, 6/16/17

All 41 XOJet charter aircraft are available in the FlightList PRO multi-search platform which includes all 16,631 charter aircraft and 3,419 charter operators worldwide.  FlightList PRO is used by the most successful and experienced brokers and travel professionals in the industry; 80% of users have arranged charters more than 10 years, 25% more than 20 years.

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

Jackson Hole Airport to get Second FBO, Fuel and Services Compeition

By Mike Koshmrl, from Jackson Hole News&Guide, 6/7/17

Private aircraft owners will soon have more options for buying jet fuel and renting hangar space at Jackson Hole Airport.

An application submitted by Wyoming Jet Center has spurred the airport’s board to find a second fixed-base operation to vie with Jackson Hole Aviation, a business that hasn’t had a competitor in decades. The decision to go with two FBOs was made at the airport’s May board meeting. Because of Federal Aviation Administration rules, there was not much choice in the matter, Director Jim Elwood said.

“We’re being forced down this road by FAA regulations,” Elwood said. “The FAA, as we understand it, is very clear in saying that competition needs to be accommodated and should be accommodated.”

Wyoming Jet Center will not receive the business opportunity outright.

Instead, in the weeks ahead airport staff will develop a request for proposals that will allow companies from around the country to bid for the chance to do business in Jackson Hole.

“Given the number of additional inquiries on top of the one we received from Wyoming Jet Center, we thought it would be prudent to go out for bid,” Elwood said. “We’re trying to determine the exact level of interest.”

Jackson Hole Aviation FBO at Jackson Hole Airport

A second FBO (fixed-based operator) will soon be doing business at Jackson Hole Airport to provide competition for private aircraft fueling and services. Photo: New Flight Charters Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole Aviation fought the prospect of facing competition, delivering a short presentation to the airport’s board. General Manager Matt Wright said in an interview that having two fixed-based operations was a “failed experiment of the past.”

“I understand where the airport’s coming from, but obviously we’d like to protect our business,” Wright said. “We think that adding a second FBO creates serious safety issues. Maybe more importantly, there’s the increases in aircraft movement and the corresponding noise that it would create.”

Elwood disagreed.

“We’re not anticipating this impacting the volume or numbers of aircraft coming and going from the airport,” he said. “The quantity of aircraft that have interest in coming into Jackson is finite. … They’re not going to turn it into a fuel stop.”

Wyoming Jet Center’s Greg Herrick, a seasonal West Bank resident, was pleased with the board’s decision, though he would have preferred that his application be processed without facing competing bids.

“Competition is a good thing,” Herrick said. “It improves capacity at the airport for handling general aviation traffic, which will enhance safety, we believe. There’s also the economics that competition brings to the table.

“The fuel prices are among the highest in the Rocky Mountains right now,” he said, “and we think a little competition is going to bring those prices down.”

An economic analysis Herrick presented to the airport’s board contended that the jet fuel prices have suffered because of a monopoly. The price per gallon of Jet-A fuel, $6.66 recently, was $1.56 more than Driggs, Idaho, and $2.41 more than Alpine, according to Wyoming Jet Center.

“From our analysis in 2016, there were 1.8 million gallons, roughly, of Jet-A pumped for general aviation aircraft,” Herrick said. “We projected the gross profit margin on that to be well over $8 million. The airport received $219,220 of that, and the national park that leased the land received $3,218.

“$3,200 versus $8 million,” he said.

Jackson Hole Aviation’s Wright said its prices are comparable to those at other resort airports.

But “egregious” is the word the president of an advocacy group for small plane owners used to describe the current price of Jackson Hole Airport’s jet fuel.

“If you had two or three FBOs servicing the airport, you’d probably see fuel prices in the $3 to $4 range,” Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association President Mark Baker said. “I applaud the Jackson Hole Airport board for taking the initiative and understanding what it means to bring more people to your town and experience the great outdoors there by making it fair.”

Baker said he fields many complaints about Jackson Hole Aviation’s fuel prices and fees from his membership.

“Jackson Hole is one of the top-20 complaint areas,” he said.

Herrick’s pitch included a commitment to giving 15 percent of revenue from aircraft parking fees back to the airport. Revenue sharing, he said, should also be included with “handling fees” that fixed-based operators like Jackson Hole Aviation assess to aircraft owners who do not fuel up at the airport.

A new facility for a competing fixed-base operation would likely be located just north of Jackson Hole Aviation’s building, Elwood said. The new business, he said, won’t be able to operate until next year, after an enlarged fuel farm is built on the premises.

Article in Jackson Hole News&Guide


Source:  Jackson Hole News&Guide

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

The FlightList PRO multi-search platform which includes all 16,631 charter aircraft and 3,419 charter operators worldwide.  FlightList PRO is used by the most successful and experienced brokers and travel professionals in the industry; 80% of those using FlightList PRO have been arranging charters more than 10 years.

How Private Jets are Sourced for 21 Jet Card Programs

Editor’s note:  Forbes.com contributor Doug Gollan has undertaken an analysis of jet card companies for his new business providing a paid analysis of jet card programs.

The first installment compared 18 jet card companies and programs.
The second installment compared private jet cards to charter.
The third installment is a who’s who in private jet card & prepaid charter.
The fourth installment compares jet card programs –  terms, availability and more.

The fifth installment below answers the question when using various jet card companies, “Where does your private jet come from?”


Forbes.com logoSafety first. It’s the mantra of all of the aviation world globally. Like flying commercially, flying privately is safer than taking a bath. In 2015, nearly 5,000 deaths from drowning in one’s bathtub were recorded in the U.S. For general aviation, there were 384 fatalities. Still, when spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for a private jet card or prepaid charter program, you probably want to know where the planes you and your family will be flying are coming from.

Large-cabin Gulfstream, Challenger and Falcon jets on the ramp at Aspen-Pitkin County Airport.

Large-cabin Gulfstream, Challenger and Falcon jets on the ramp at Aspen-Pitkin County Airport in Colorado. The number of flight hours in large-cabin jets operated under Part 135 grew by 10 percent in 2016 according to industry data provider Argus.  (Photo credit: New Flight Charters)

One advantage of jet card programs is the expectation of consistent standards in terms of sourcing the planes you will fly on. In some cases, your jet card provider operates the fleet you will be flying on, although during peak periods providers (including fractional operators) will charter planes from the open market to meet demand. There are about 7,500 planes in the U.S. available for charter under Part 135, either via brokers, jet card providers or directly from the operators, although often they are being used by their owners.

Out of this fleet, executives estimate that there are a couple thousand planes that fit the needs of the charter and jet card market, both in terms of what customers will accept for age (a 40-year-old plane may be safe, but many consumers don’t want to fly on one), cabin condition, interior configuration, complete maintenance records for inspection, and availability. While using a company that owns or operates its fleet may seem like an advantage to one person, it’s not a one size fits all market. Several brokers who sell jet cards I spoke with have significant in-house safety departments to oversee the planes they charter to fulfill your jet card flights.

Read:  Who’s Who In The Private Jet Card Market

This is Part 1 of 2 parts on sourcing planes and also pilots. In Part 2, I will share what questions experts say you should ask providers about how they source airplanes, pilots and other safety related issues to consider.

I found that for sellers of private jet cards and prepaid private jet programs, fleet composition broke down three ways: Some companies fulfill flights via fleets they either directly own or manage and operate. Others, like charter brokers, go out into the market to source planes, while some feature a hybrid model, owning or managing jets, but also sourcing them like a broker. Some programs have age limits on the jets they will offer you, and most use two industry rating services, ARGUS and Wyvern, which rate operators. Some have even further in-house standards and reviews.

Below is an overview of responses when I queried companies about their sourcing standards. In some cases, it is based on information from their websites and other published data. I also refer to a survey by Business Jet Traveler of over 1,000 readers about various providers,  however, it doesn’t cover all companies:

Air Partner

Air Partner says it has access to over 5,000 carriers globally through a preferred network of providers. The Air Partner Group has an internal Quality Management System focused on safety. This system, in addition to national safety expectations from the European and American Civil Aviation Authorities, systematically promotes (when available) companies that suit at least one of the following: Wyvern Wingman or Registered expectations, ARGUS Platinum or Gold Plus rating, IS-BAO certification, IOSA certification.

Airstream Jets

Airstream Jets employs a dual-layer approach to safety, according to the company ASJ only utilizes ARGUS Platinum/Gold rated aircraft and crews. Pilots and aircraft must also undergo additional in-house screening and clearance by ASJ management.

Clay Lacy Aviation

The fleet of Clay Lacy is made up of 90 owned jets and jets it manages for owners that have been audited and received the following ratings from third party safety auditing companies: ARGUS Platinum; Wyvern Wingman; and IS-BAO Stage 3. In addition, Clay Lacy has received the FAA Diamond Award and NATA Five Stars award recognizing excellence in maintenance procedures and training. When sourcing aircraft beyond its charter fleet, it uses the Wyvern and ARGUS systems to verify ratings of third-party charter operators. Clients can specify preferences related to the age of the jets they want to use. The fleet is mainly based in the Western U.S., particularly on the West Coast, and its Executive Traveler Program is targeted for customers in the region.

Delta Private Jets

Delta Private Jets has more than 70 aircraft, a combination of managed and floating fleet. All operators are ARGUS Gold or better, and DPJ last year said it was co-funding with the jet owners enhancements to the cabins of its planes, an unusual move for a management company. In the Business Jet Traveler survey of jet card programs last year, 70% of readers marked the operator Excellent/Very Good for Age of Aircraft, while 80% of readers gave it Excellent/Very Good marks for Cleanliness.

Flexjet

Flexjet operates its own fleet. It offers fractional ownership and leases as well as jet cards, which are available on its Challenger 300 and Phenom 300 planes. In the Business Jet Traveler survey, 77% of readers gave Flexjet Excellent/Very Good marks for Aircraft Age, with 88% scoring it in those two categories for Cleanliness.

Jet Linx

Jet Linx has 90 aircraft under management, and in addition to third party ratings, it has its own in-house compliance team that audits planes to ensure Jet Linx standards are being met. The company has an interesting model selling management and jet cards from 14 base airports and growing. Its jet card sales focus is targeted at customers in those markets. At each of these bases, it operates its own terminal with dedicated staff. Its current locations include Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Ft. Worth, Houston, Indianapolis, Nashville, Omaha, San Antonio, Scottsdale, Tulsa and Washington D.C.

JetSet Group

Operators must have over $50 million insurance, must be ARGUS Platinum or Gold, with perfect safety and maintenance records.

JetSuite

JetSuite’s owned fleet, like the company, is relatively new. Its Phenom 100 and Citation CJ3 were all delivered new between 2009 and 2013. The operator received Excellent/Very Good ratings from 87% of Business Jet Traveler readers for both Aircraft Age and Cleanliness. Using planes that seat four seven passengers, JetSuite’s strength is with customers that want new planes, an owner-operated fleet and are focused on flights around two hours or less.

Magellan Jets

Magellan Jets doesn’t own aircraft but instead sources aircraft and operators that that have been pre-screened and qualified through the proprietary standards of its Magellan Jets Preferred Network. MJPN criteria uses data provided by ARGUS, Wyvern, ISBAO, and the Air Charter Safety Foundation, as well as internal due diligence by the company’s flight support and compliance team. The team is comprised of professional pilots who understand best practices in safety for both aircraft and the crew. Magellan has a 42-point safety checklist for every flight segment, including information such as crew time in type of aircraft. You can customize a program around 10 different jet types and even specify a jet card program that guarantees WiFi.

NetJets

NetJets is the largest fleet operator with some 700 planes. NetJets offers fractional share and lease options. For its Marquis Jet Card program, there are 10 different plane types across the Light, Midsize and Large cabin categories. The company has an impressive operations center in Columbus, Ohio (I’ve personally toured it), and with Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway as its owner, and clients like Bill Gates, Rodger Federer and Tiger Woods, is one of the highest profile companies in the private aviation market.

Nicholas Air

Nicholas Air offers fractional shares and leases as well three different jet card products. It buys its planes (Pilatus PC-12, Phenom 100 and 300, and Citation Latitude) directly from the manufacturer, operates them and all aircraft are five years old or less.

Solairus

Solairus has a managed fleet of over 100 private aircraft nationwide with four programs broken into Very-Light, Light, Mid-Size and Super-Mid categories. Solairus holds the Platinum rating from ARGUS, the Wingman certification from Wyvern, and is one of only 100 operators worldwide to be IS-BAO (International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations) Stage Three certified.

Private Jet Services (PJS) Group

Private Jet Services (PJS) Group offers age differentiation within its programs. Elite aircraft are manufactured in the year 2000 or younger and are an average age of six years old. Priority aircraft may be “slightly older” but are held to the same safety standards. It has its own in-house Director of Safety who oversees its vetting program.

PrivateFly

PrivateFly doesn’t own or operate aircraft so it goes out into the market to source aircraft. It is an ARGUS certified broker. The company says, in addition to working with operators who meet industry safety standards, it conducts its own due diligence, including vetting insurance, airworthiness certificates, and aircraft inspections. Upon request, PrivateFly says it will share documents proving safety standards.

Prive Jets

Prive Jets doesn’t own or operate planes. It says the planes it sources “exceed” FAA requirements and all planes sourced for its jet card programs are manufactured in 2000 or newer.

Sentient Jet

Sentient is also a broker, and goes into what it describes as an “open fleet” to source planes, which are aircraft from the “top 25% of operators.” Sentient does auditing and has an advanced certification process as well as a field auditing team. Only aircraft that meet and exceed these standards are used. To become Sentient Certified, aircraft are reviewed based on their history, including maintenance reliability. They must pass a physical inspection that covers key safety elements in addition to the comfort and condition of the aircraft. In the Business Jet Traveler survey, 80% of readers ranked the company Excellent/Very Good for Age of Aircraft and 86% said Cleanliness was at an Excellent/Very Good standard.

Star Jets International

Star Jets International is a broker. It sources from over 5,000 private aircraft worldwide. Operators providing service for Star Jets clients must meet standards set forth by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for safety, security, and service, according to the company.

VistaJet

Malta-based VistaJet has only had a U.S.-based fleet since 2013. The U.S. fleet is now entirely operated by Jet Aviation, one of the leading management companies in the industry (Its parent General Dynamics owns Gulfstream). Globally, VistaJet owns 72 Bombardier Global and Challenger aircraft. The fleet is ARGUS International Platinum rated and Wyvern Wingman Level. In the survey by Business Jet Traveler, 93% of respondents gave it Excellent/Very Good marks for Age of Aircraft and the same score for Cleanliness.

WheelsUp

The WheelsUp fleet of King Air 350i (all 2013 or later) and Citation Excel/XLS (2000 or later) are operated by Gama Aviation.  They are ARGUS Platinum, Wyvern Wingman or have had an onsite audit completed by WheelsUp EVP of Safety. The King Air 350i is the defining aircraft in its fleet, more economical than jets, but well suited for missions up to 500 miles where a significant portion of the flight is the climb and descent, thereby minimizing the time difference versus a jet.

Wholesale Jet Club

Operators must be Wyvern Pass, ARGUS Gold or Platinum

XOJET

XOJET owns and operates a fleet that includes 42 Challenger 300 and Citation X aircraft. It also taps into some 1,000 more aircraft ranging from long-range Global Express to Very Light Jets and Turboprops. All planes must meet XOJET Charter Vendor Standards with ARGUS Platinum and Wyvern Wingman rated aircraft and operators. Some 83% of Business Jet Traveler readers marked XOJET Excellent/Very Good for both Age Of Aircraft and Aircraft Cleanliness.

From Forbes.com article by Doug Gollan


The FlightList PRO multi-search platform which includes all 16,631 charter aircraft and 3,419 charter operators worldwide.  FlightList PRO is used by the most successful and experienced brokers and travel professionals in the industry; 80% of those using FlightList PRO have been arranging charters more than 10 years, and a full 1/4 – more than 20 years.  Currently 30-day free trials are available.

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

Jet Cards: Compare Program Terms, Availability, More – Part 4 of Research & Analysis by Forbes.com

Editor’s note:  Forbes.com contributor Doug Gollan has undertaken an analysis of jet card companies for his new business providing a paid analysis of jet card programs.

The first installment compared 18 jet card companies and programs.
The second installment compared private jet cards to charter.
The third installment is a who’s who in private jet card & prepaid charter.

The fourth installment compares private jet card guaranteed availability, charges, peak days and more:


Forbes.com logo

If you’ve been following along in my series of postings about jet cards and prepaid private aviation charter programs, you’ll know that the results of my research cover over 80 programs. If I ever want to get a masters degree, you can guess what subject my dissertation will be about. In the meantime, it’s the source for most of the information I am providing in these articles.

That said, there are no rules and regulations of what delineates a jet card from pre-paid block charter. While a number of providers say guaranteed availability at your contracted price is required to have a “true” jet card, the fact is some companies market jet card-like products (They give you a nice plastic card with your name and their logo on it) without it having the guarantee on price and availability together. There are also sellers of prepaid private jet travel I’ve found (VistaJet, as an example) that don’t call their product a jet card, yet do guarantee availability at a contracted price.

over 80 jet card and charter programs included in jet card comparison pricing research

Over 80 jet card and charter programs are included in Doug Gollan’s jet card comparison and jet charter research for Forbes.com. (Image by FlightList PRO)

It’s an important consideration because one reason to fly privately is the convenience of traveling when you want. During holiday periods or just busy days of the week such as Monday mornings or Friday afternoons, guaranteed availability does just that. It also means that the provider may have to go outside its own fleet if it has one, or pay the operator more than you are paying on an hourly basis to secure a plane for you. In other words, it might lose money on that trip, or in other cases, it has already laid out money with an operator to have access to planes when it thinks you will want to travel.

Of the research I did, Air Partner, Airstream Jets, Delta Private Jets, Flexjet, Jet Linx, JetSet Group, Magellan Jets, NetJets’ Marquis Jet card, Nicholas Air, Prive Jets, Sentient Jet, Star Jets International, VistaJet, Wheels Up, Wholesale Jet Club and XOJET each provide guaranteed availability, although there are exceptions during peak periods, which is discussed a bit further on in this column.

“Those Who Know Use FlightList PRO.”
80% of those using FlightList PRO have arranged charters for more than 10 years, and a full 1/4 – for more than 20 years.  Just $90/month for up to 3 users, 30-day free trials are currently available. 

Of course, that doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with companies that don’t have guaranteed access. They may have other attributes that are important to you, such as lower prices, or in the case of JetSuite, the lowest Daily Minimum I found in terms of flight hours, which they charge for just 48 minutes per day. Other providers have minimums of between 1-2.8 hours of flight time per day. It means if you take a single 45-minute flight on a specific day, with JetSuite you will be charged for 48 minutes of your hourly rate while on another provider it could be 60, 90 or even 168 minutes even though your flight was 45 minutes. If you do a lot of short hops where you don’t have a second flight in the same day, you definitely want to ask about the Daily Minimum.

Making it a bit more complicated, Daily Minimums also vary by size of aircraft, with larger planes typically having higher daily minimums. This means if your short haul flying is with a group of 10 people, you are going to need to look at programs that offer larger jets (for example, JetSuite’s Citation CJ3 only seats 7).

Another place you will find extra charges is taxi time, so the more flights you make, the more taxi time you will pay. The standard seems to be six minutes for departures and six minutes for arrival, meaning for each flight you take you will be paying for 12 minutes of taxi time. If your hourly rate is $6,000, you will pay $720 for each flight in taxi time. Yet again, this isn’t standard: Airstream Jets, Clay Lacy, JetSet Group and Wholesale Jet Club each say they don’t charge for taxi time. Several companies I contacted wouldn’t provide data about taxi time charges and Jet Linx only charges six minutes per segment, so if you had an hourly rate of $6,000 with Jet Linx, you would only pay $360 per flight in taxi time.

Lead time in making reservations is another area to consider and again there are considerable variances. For example, Clay Lacy, JetSuite and PrivateFly don’t have a lead time requirement, but then again, none guarantee availability.

Lead time for reservations with other providers varies from six hours with JetSet Group and Wholesale Jet Club (6 hours); Magellan Jets and Prive Jets (8 hours); Delta Private Jets, NetJets’ Marquis Jet Card, Nicholas Air, Private Jet Services (PJS) Group and Sentient (10 hours); and XOJET (12 hours) as the companies I found that offer guaranteed reservations less than 24 hours before you want to fly. During peak periods expect to make your reservations anywhere from 24 hours to 7 days before you want to travel.

What is a peak period or peak day? Well, think holidays, however, for those companies that offer guaranteed availability it ranges from eight to 58 days out of the year. Hourly rates for flying on peak days are subject to increases, from no increase to as high as 40%. So again, if you plan to fly at specific busy times, you will want to study what each provider lists as peak days, which sometimes vary by program within a provider. In other words, it is a really good idea that on a piece of paper you write out the trips you expect to be taking during the next 12 to 24 months.

I was really surprised when I read a survey by Business Jet Traveler that only 3% of jet card buyers use a consultant. One consultant, I talked to says he charges $3,000 to help with jet card purchases and $5,000 to assist with fractional buyers. If I was a serious buyer, to me, it seems like a good investment. Unless you have an in-house counsel, you’re probably going to have your $600 per hour lawyer spend several hours reviewing contracts anyway.

By the way, the typical way people select a jet card is a recommendation of a friend, a previous experience with the company or doing some Google research, which turns up mainly paid ads. I was speaking with one executive of a jet card provider, and his theory is that there is so much to compare and so many differences, it’s overwhelming. The rich person who is plunking down $250,000 more or less assumes or hopes that the company will be accommodating since they want to retain their business with renewals. It’s also a risk, and a provider that works well for a friend or colleague, might not be the best for you.

From Forbes.com article by Doug Gollan


The FlightList PRO multi-search platform which includes all 16,631 charter aircraft and 3,419 charter operators worldwide.  FlightList PRO is used by the most successful and experienced brokers and travel professionals in the industry; 80% of those using FlightList PRO have been arranging charters more than 10 years, and a full 1/4 – more than 20 years.  Currently 30-day free trials are available.

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

Compare Private Jet Card & Prepaid Charter, Part 3 of Research & Analysis by Forbes.com

Editor’s note:  Forbes.com contributor Doug Gollan has undertaken an analysis of jet card companies for his new business providing a paid analysis of jet card programs.

The first installment compared 18 jet card companies and programs.
The second installment compared private jet cards to charter.

The third installment is a Who’s Who in private jet cards, prepaid jet charter and private jet memberships:


Forbes.com logoWhen you are buying a private jet card and with most prepaid programs, you are wiring the money from your bank account to theirs. With transactions often ranging from $100,000 to $500,000, it makes sense to know whom you are dealing with.

From my research, I originally found 18 different companies that offer jet cards or prepaid programs, but since publishing the first article in this series, have identified six more, including Singapore-based Zetta Jet, New York-based JetSet Group and Wholesale JetClub, Boca Raton, Florida-based Airstream Jets, GrandView Aviation from Maryland and Colorado-based StraightLine Private Air, started by a founder of Exclusive Resorts. (Note: After publishing this article, I heard from a seventh company, Silverhawk Aviation which recently introduced a Jet Card for customers living within 175 miles of Lincoln, which includes Omaha, Kansas City, Des Moines, Sioux City, Sioux Falls.). In Part 2, I took a look at whether or not it even makes sense to buy jet cards and prepaid block charter programs versus just buying as you go via on-demand charter with some interesting perspectives.

“Those Who Know Use FlightList PRO.”
80% of those using FlightList PRO have arranged charters for more than 10 years, and a full 1/4 – more than 20 years.  Just $90/month, 30-day free trials are currently available. 

In terms of the companies that you will be doing business with if you buy a jet card or prepaid program, they are about as diverse as you can imagine, and when you included related entities, span from under 10 employees to over 300,000.

Air Partner, a U.K.-based company with its U.S. headquarters in Ft. Lauderdale is the oldest, with its roots in aviation dating back to 1961. The famous pilot and aviation entrepreneur Clay Lacy (he flew a DC-8 with “The Human Fly” standing on its roof) started his namesake group in 1968. Among the most recent entrants are Marquis Jet Partners founder Kenny Dichter, who after selling it to NetJets then launched WheelsUp in 2013, Singapore-based Zetta Jet which started flying in August 2015 and Blue Star Jets (famous for taking its name from the movie Wall Street) co-founder Ricky Sitomer, who started Star Jets International last year.

Some companies are publicly owned, or divisions of publicly traded companies, including Air Partner which is directly traded in the UK, Delta Private Jets (a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines), and NetJets (which owns and sells the Marquis Jet card and is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway). Directional Aviation, which traces its history to 1981, owns two jet card players, Flexjet and Sentient. Its chairman Kenn Ricci started a small aircraft management company and has turned Directional into a multibillion-dollar enterprise which made news in 2015 when it placed an order for what potentially could be the next supersonic passenger jet. Earlier this year he won the Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award. Previous winners included the founders of FedEx (Fred Smith), Southwest Airlines (Herb Kelleher) and Virgin Atlantic Airways (Sir Richard Branson).

Other bosses of note include Thomas Flohr, the founder of VistaJet who had the foresight to see the market from a global point of view, and Private Jets Services (PJS) Group founder and CEO Greg Raiff, who started the company with a focus on charters for sports team, live entertainment and political campaign charters before getting into the jet card segment. In addition to Lacy, David Sneed (Delta Private Jets) is a current commercial airline pilot for Delta. In his case, he was furloughed leading him to find a place in management although he now active again. PrivateFly founder and CEO Adam Twidell is a former Royal Air Force pilot and still flies private jets. He is married to his CMO, an ex Conde Nast executive, making them the only husband-and-wife team I came across. Nicholas Air founder Nicholas Correnti accumulated over 1,000 flight hours by the time he turned 16. JetSuite founder and CEO Alex Wilcox was a career commercial aviation executive working under two legends of that segment, Branson at Virgin Atlantic Airways and David Neeleman, who founded JetBlue and is an investor and on the board of JetSuite.

The size of the companies varies dramatically. Delta Air Lines employs 80,000 people, with Delta Private Jets making up 450. NetJets has about 6,000 employees (parent Berkshire Hathaway has 367,000), Flexjet 1,300 and VistaJet 800. At least a half dozen of the companies surveyed employ under 100 people, however, part of the variance in size is that some companies operate the planes you fly on while others use a charter broker model and go into the market to source planes for your flight. In other words, they don’t need the infrastructure to operate planes.

One of the main drivers in choosing the right company and card for you is where you want to fly. Clay Lacy, Delta Private Jets, Flexjet, JetSet Group, JetSuite, Nicholas Air, PriveJets, Sentient Jet, Solairus, Wheels Up, Wholesale Jet Club and XOJET will fly you to over 5,000 airports, but you will be mainly restricted to the continental U.S. and Canada, in some cases including the Caribbean and Mexico as part of their service footprints. Air Partner and NetJets also offer you service in Europe. Jet Linx, Magellan Jets, PJS Private Jet Service Group, Star Jets and VistaJet have global programs. Of course, some programs can arrange charter pricing for you when you go outside their service area, although you will end up paying different rates and may be subject to one-way surcharges and other extra fees.

In total, I found over 60 different variances in private jet card and prepaid private jet programs from they ways you get charged for taxi time to WiFi access, policies on flying your pets or unaccompanied children and perks such as luxury partnerships and access to big sporting events such as the Super Bowl or Kentucky Derby.

I’ll be detailing the differences in subsequent articles, however, if you want to jump ahead you can find all the information from over 80 programs in spreadsheet format at PrivateJetCardComparisons.com.

From Forbes.com article by Doug Gollan


The FlightList PRO multi-search platform which includes all 16,631 charter aircraft and 3,419 charter operators worldwide.  FlightList PRO is used by the most successful and experienced brokers and travel professionals in the industry; 80% of those using FlightList PRO have been arranging charters more than 10 years, and a full 1/4 – more than 20 years.  Currently 30-day free trials are available.

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

Private Jet Cards vs. Charter, Part 2 of Jet Charter Research & Analysis by Forbes.com

Editor’s note:  Forbes.com contributor Doug Gollan has undertaken an analysis of jet card companies for his new business providing a paid analysis of jet card programs.

The first installment  was a comparison of 18 jet card companies and programs.

The second installment takes a look at private jet cards, vs. charter, and includes comments and feedback sent in from charter and card jet card company executives: 


Forbes.com logoThere are quite a few aspects of buying private jet travel that makes it a very personal decision. In terms of buying private jet cards, there are variances in pricing, fees, daily minimums, the amount of insurance provided, how much you have to pay upfront, policies on taking your pets or sending your kids unaccompanied. There are differences in what type of catering is provided without charge, how many hours in advance you have to make your reservation as well as cancel and much more. Some programs guarantee WiFi. Others don’t. Some require the bulk of your money in advance. Others have an initiation fee and you pay as you go.

I know many of you are time poor and want to get things like choosing a private aviation provider done with so you can move on to more pressing matters. In fact, it is so complicated as I was gathering information for this series, there was so much I put it all together in a website PrivateJetCardComparisons.com which I created and own.

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry. More information here-  FlightList PRO and About Us.

A few days ago, I published Part 1 of the series on buying prepaid private jet travel titled, “Before You Buy A Private Jet Card Read This.” This series is based on my research, and the fact that there are so many variances between programs (I found over 60 in the 75 programs I analyzed), it got so unwieldy I put them into spreadsheets and eventually the above-mentioned website, because truth be told, even covering the various differences in this series of articles isn’t as easy as looking at spreadsheets.

After Part 1, I got a letter from a Forbes.com reader, which is below in its entirety.

“One thing I do not see addressed (although possibly you had planned on doing so in future installments) is the fact that most Jet Card programs have an hourly cost far, far higher than the hourly rates a local charter operator would charge for the same class of aircraft.”

“In addition, I would never tie up $100,000 to $150,000 or more in ‘prepaid’ travel; there’s an opportunity cost involved. I could be making more money actively investing those funds, rather than letting the Jet Card company make money off my prepaid funds. In my humble opinion, Jet Cards are a ripoff for the uninformed.”

Having done considerable research on the subject and also having written about the on-demand market, I see them as chalk and cheese. On-demand is probably the right solution for the person who charters planes infrequently, maybe a couple times a year, and does same day trips starting and ending in the same place (where you don’t have to pay for repositioning flights).  It also works better if you have a broker you trust to source the type of planes you are comfortable flying on. You can get a better rate chartering a 30-year old plane than a three-year-old aircraft for sure.  There are a number of other issues too, so I thought I would go back to several executives at companies that sell jet cards and in some cases also offer on-demand charter and put the above question to them. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Michael Farley, the CMO at Private Jet Services Group (PJS) wrote back to me with his answer below:

“Local operators can present savings from time to time. However, the reader better have efficient flying, meaning not one-way travel (or he will have to pay for the return flight to the base), not for a prolonged period of time (there are overnight fees or the customer pays to position the aircraft twice if trips are longer than a day or two), and of course, this is all based on the local operator having availability.  They might have one or two aircraft (but) everyone wants to fly on President’s Weekend. Actually, everyone likes to fly on most weekends! 

“If the client has flexibility in their schedule and can wait for availability, perhaps the limited fleet will not be an issue.  Ninety-nine percent of my clients do not have that type of flexibility.  I should also touch on mechanicals. A local operator is much more likely to leave you out of luck when experiencing mechanicals.  PJS provides equal or better with guaranteed recovery. Our national average (for recovery) is 1.5 hours. 

“I always recommend my clients blend their aviation solutions. I provide cost analysis often for our clients.  After analyzing much of their flying, they often realize the cost comes out equal. They just haven’t been flying with any guarantees of a national program.”

Another executive from a jet card provider who didn’t want to be named responded this way:

“Our jet card comes with $100 million in liability insurance, a certified network that is pre-screened with serious data sharing, a series of guarantees with the product, positioning costs baked in, 100% transparent rates, 24/7 Command Center, Chief Safety Officer, Peak Day availability, guaranteed interchange between sizes, customized client treatment programs, and then a series of ancillary benefits. And that’s just off the top of my head.”

Jamie Walker, CEO of Jet Linx, which only sells jet cards as a consumer product to access its fleet responded this way:

“Your reader is correct with his perspective of the cost for roundtrip flights, but not one-way flights. A local charter operator can provide a lower hourly rate, in most cases, for a roundtrip, but not for one-way flights. That said, the local charter operator is not guaranteeing the consumer availability of an aircraft at those lower hourly rates. The local charter operator is also not guaranteeing a standard of safety by an outside third party. So if the consumer does not require one-way rates or guaranteed availability and safety, the local charter operator may be a good option for them. As for the deposit, we agree, we’d rather them keep their money and invest it elsewhere too, which is why we don’t collect a deposit upfront, our clients pay as they go for the guaranteed jet card services we provide.”

JetSuite founder and CEO Alex Wilcox also responded to my email with the reader’s comments:

“Comparing quoted hourly rates with jet card rates is often apples and oranges. A local operator with a charter plane may have a low rate of say $3,000 per hour, but not disclosed is the three-hour minimum, the requirement to get the plane back to the base, and the cost plus a mark-up for services like deicing.  So the Orange County to Mammoth flight, the local operator rate is $3,000 per hour but with a three-hour minimum, so really $9,000.  The comparable jet card might charge $5,000 per hour, but that’s it. If you have to de-ice, the local FBO adds that on to your bill, maybe another $800, plus their markup. Now you used local but paid twice as much, despite the $3,000 rate.

“If it’s a same-day trip or overnight round trip, then the local charter operator may be cheaper. It would be $9,000 with the charter operator versus $10,000 with the card. Then the hygienic questions come into play: Who owns the plane? How much is the insurance coverage? Do the pilots really abide by duty time rules? Who maintains the plane? Who trained and employs the pilots?

“Jet cards come with a level of diligence and hygiene absent in many mom and pops. It’s not like Uber where we all can recognize an unsafe car or driver and get out. When you take off in a 1979 Lear 25 with an 80-year old captain and a First Officer not type rated in the jet, ‘You pays your money and you takes your chances.’”

A former boss of mine was an owner with NetJets, and certainly, if you want to compare prices, NetJets is not the cheapest. On the other hand, if you visit their Columbus operations center it’s very impressive. I always remember the salesperson telling my chairman, “You’re flying on the same planes that Warren Buffett flies on.” The comment was not about potentially sitting in the same seat as the Oracle of Omaha, but that when you flew with NetJets you could be assured they took safety seriously.

My guess is this is an emotional topic, so I certainly welcome responses. Forbes.com makes it very easy for your to comment at the end of the article, and I will definitely respond!

Author’s Note – After I posted this story, Ronald Silverman, president of VistaJet USA sent me his response, which I am adding below:

“While VistaJet is not considered a jet card (they do sell prepaid block hour programs), in our business model, the higher hourly cost versus charter is associated with the fact that VistaJet provides guaranteed availability of a consistent product.  Further, VistaJet owns the asset and thus the end user does not risk having their scheduled aircraft pulled from them at the last minute because the aircraft owner (typically an aircraft owned by a private UHNW or a corporation) requires the use of the aircraft for themselves, a scenario which I have personally been involved with on numerous occasions.”

Author’s Note – David Sneed, COO of Delta Private Jets also followed up with his take on the question. He also noted that his card members get perks from Delta Air Likes, like Diamond Medallion status, complimentary SkyClub access and discounts when flying on certain fares from its parent airline:

“Analyzing ad hoc charter pricing versus jet card pricing results in an apples to oranges comparison. This is because guaranteed availability and other benefits provided by a jet card are not available in the charter market. Delta Private Jets offers a jet card with guaranteed availability with as little as 10 hours notice and simple, all-in pricing locked in for up to two years, including landing fees, crew overnight expenses, fuel surcharges, deicing costs, and other fees common in the charter market.”

From Forbes.com article by Doug Gollan


The FlightList PRO multi-search platform which includes all 16,631 charter aircraft and 3,419 charter operators worldwide.  FlightList PRO is used by the most successful and experienced brokers and travel professionals in the industry; 80% of those using FlightList PRO have been arranging charters more than 10 years.

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

Comparison of 18 Jet Card Companies, Programs – Part of Major Jet Charter Research & Analysis

Editor’s note:  Forbes.com contributor Doug Gollan has undertaken an analysis of jet card companies for his new business providing a paid analysis of jet card programs.

The first installment takes a look at private jet cards, their companies and programs: 


Forbes.com logo

There are many ways to fly privately. Two years ago I took an in-depth look at the on-demand charter market, which at the time was being pelted by new entrants making claims that hiring a private jet would be similar to ordering an Uber. My goal was to clarify how the process actually works and hopefully leave readers feeling a bit more educated about what is a pretty complex process. It was frustrating to read so many stories where the writer was basically just going off the press release enamored by tech jargon and missing what actually goes on, the considerable human element of business aviation professionals that makes the process actually work.

If you don’t fly enough to own your own plane (typically at least 400 hours or more per year), and don’t even need to fly regularly by private aviation, the on-demand charter market generally makes sense. However, if you fly privately more than 25 hours per year, but still not enough to own your own jet or you don’t want to, the other two options are fractional ownership and private jet cards, which I will group together with prepaid private air charter programs, sometimes also called block charter.

Fractional ownership is perhaps synonymous with NetJets, which is synonymous with Warren Buffett. With fractional ownership, you are actually buying a share of a plane and typically make a three to five-year commitment. Jet cards are more flexible, a bit like filling a debit card for future private air travel. Typically you are choosing either a dollar amount or a fixed number of hours, for example, $150,000 or 25 hours.

According to Business Jet Traveler, a trade publication for jet owners and their pilots, jet cards are popular even with private jet owners who need additional lift or perhaps a plane that can fit a different mission, maybe a longer range jet, a bigger jet with more capacity or even a smaller plane that can get into out of the way airports or is more cost-effective for flights under two hours. Maybe you are using your jet during the week for business, but need to fly your spouse into your weekend house. Buy him or her a jet card. For all of the above reasons, jet cards and prepaid private air programs have become extremely popular, with estimated annual sales of about $2 billion in the U.S.

There are some very good reasons to buy a jet card or a prepaid program over just chartering. Firstly, you lock in a specific hourly price instead of having to negotiate a deal each time. Secondly, like fractional programs or owning your own plane, most (but not all) programs guarantee you access with varying parameters for advance reservations and peak periods, typically ranging from four to 24 hours. Some of the programs have put together value-added benefits for their customers ranging from VIP access at sporting events to free nights at luxury hotels and even significant credits at high-end jewelers and fashion houses.

I began to research what I thought would be a straightforward, thorough overview for Forbes.com on jet cards about nine months ago, similar to the piece I wrote about how on-demand private jet charter works. As I got started, I realized there were a lot more vagaries than I thought. As I discussed the story with various providers, it became clear for the similarities there were an array of differences.

First of all, I found 18 companies that offer either the traditional jet card or some type of pre-paid private jet charter program, including Air Partner, Inc.; Clay Lacy Aviation; Delta Private Jets, Inc.; Flexjet; Jet Linx Aviation; JetSuite; Magellan Jets; NetJets; Nicholas Air; Private Jet Services Group (PJS Group); PrivateFly; Prive Jets; Sentient Jet; Solairus Aviation; Star Jets International LLC; VistaJet; Wheels Up; and XOJET. All together, they offered 75 core programs with even more opportunities for customization.

Then as I spoke to executives at the companies and kept adding to a list of variances in the programs, any one of which could be important to you, I all of a sudden had a spreadsheet with over 60 different columns, including who owns the company, how large they are, when they were founded, the service area where you can fly, policies for flying your pets, pricing, surcharges, how much time you are charged for taxing, what type of catering is included, how they source their pilots, what type of experience the pilots need to have, what are their policies for service recovery, will you have WiFi, what type of toilet is onboard, what’s the minimum age for children traveling alone and so on.

Needless to say, it is too much to cover in one column, but to make it a bit easier to digest, I will be covering the various aspects of buying a jet card in a series of articles. If you want to jump ahead, you can visit the site I put together PrivateJetCardComparisons.com where there are nifty spreadsheets so you can quickly compare any of the 62 points of differentiation across the 18 companies and their 75 different programs.

Next I will cover who the players are and some basic background. Since the typical purchase price for a jet card starts at $100,000 (although you can get jet cards for $25,000 or less), customers like you often spend into the hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars on prepaid private jet programs, so I hope this and the subsequent installments will be helpful.

From Forbes.com article by Doug Gollan


The FlightList PRO multi-search platform which includes all 16,631 charter aircraft and 3,419 charter operators worldwide.  FlightList PRO is used by the most successful and experienced brokers and travel professionals in the industry; 80% of users have arranged charters more than 10 years, 25% more than 20 years.

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

Membership Service Wheels Up, Charter Operator Talon Air Combine for NY-FL Shuttle

Source:  AIN Online

Charter membership firm Wheels Up is partnering with Talon Air to launch scheduled per-seat shuttle service in Talon’s super-midsize Hawker 4000s from Westchester County Airport (HPN) in White Plains, New York, to Florida’s Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE). The service, which is exclusively for Wheels Up members, begins tomorrow and costs $2,100 per seat one-way, including taxes, according to company founding partner Justin Firestone.

Membership costs:
Wheels Up membership for individuals is $17,500 annually and corporations $29,500 annually according to Corporate Jet Investor.  Annual dues (starting second year) are then $8,500 for individuals and $14,500 for corporations.  Membership then allows private flights with a fleet of King Air 350i and Citation Excel/XLS aircraft, at fixed hourly rates – the cost per hour of getting on the King Air is $3,950 per hour and the Citation Excel/XLS is $6,950 per hour according to a report from the private aviation industry resource.  Wheels Up memberships are also available from Costco; Wheels Up membership cost

Flights will leave HPN at 4 p.m. on Fridays and return at 6 p.m. on Sundays, with the exception of this holiday weekend, when the flight will return on Monday at 6 p.m. Firestone said that the shuttle service will run through March 5, but could be extended past this date depending on usage.

“This is currently the only shuttle we are running with Talon Air,” he told AIN. However, it already runs several shuttle flights in the Northeast and central California using its fleet of Beechcraft King Air 350is and Cessna Citation Excel/XLSs that are operated by Gama Aviation. In fact, Firestone said, it will be adding King Air shuttles from New York and Boston to Nantucket and Hyannis this summer, as well as other to-be-announced destinations.

A Hawker 4000 operated by Talon Air for Wheels Up shuttle service between New York and Florida.

A Hawker 4000 operated by Talon Air for Wheels Up shuttle service between New York and Florida. Photo: Talon Air

Prior Charter Alerts for Wheels Up
Wheels Up Gets $115 Million Investment From T.Rowe Price, Others
Citation Emergency, Door Opens in Flight – Live ATC recording
Wheels Up Takes Delivery of “Pink Plane In Time for October

AIN Article here; Wheels Up Partners with Talon Air on NY-Florida Shuttle