With the well documented issues in commercial flying more and more people have found reasons to turn to private aircraft.
There are a variety of options to consider. The starting point is how often you want to fly privately.
Once you reach about 50 hours of flying a year then fractional aircraft ownership can start to make sense and above 400 or so hours per year whole ownership is worth looking into.
All of the major providers have expanded over the last few years. Many now offer a wide range of products and solutions to meet the needs of various clients. If you're looking at the different options then download our Guide to Private Aviation, which compares the products and providers.
The latest news and research on private jets and aircraft is included below.
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has recently released their 2013 General Aviation Statistical Databook & 2014 Industry Outlook. The report included data on sales of new business jets in 2013, which showed a small 0.9% increase in the number of planes sold, from 672 in 2012 to 678 in 2013.
JETNET, a provider of corporate aviation data and information, recently released 2013 year-end results for the pre-owned business jet, business turboprop, helicopter and commercial airliner markets. The data continues to show a buyer's market, but with a continued drop in for-sale inventories across all pre-owned market sectors with the exception of turbine helicopters.
Private jet company, Nicholas Air, was founded in 1997 by Nicholas Correnti as an aircraft management company. Over the years, they've added an array of private jet programs, including a jet card, a fractional jet share, and an aircraft lease program. Nicholas Air operates in and out of 9,000+ airports in the US, and has had 17-years of accident-free operations. Their fleet of Pilatus PC-12s, Phenom 100s, and Phenom 300s are 5 years or newer and allow customers to choose the most economical aircraft for their mission.
In December 2013, American Airlines and USAirways finalized their merger, which made them the nation's largest commercial air carrier. Following the recent mergers of United and Continental, and Delta and Northwest, the United States now has three major air carriers, offering 70% of seats in the US. These changes, along with the January 2014 implementation of FAA Rule 117 (Flightcrew Member Duty and Rest Requirements) have combined to make private aviation even more appealing to consumers concerned with convenience.
While commercial airlines continue to cut back on food and beverage options available to passengers, private aircraft travelers have numerous options for meals and snacks aboard their flight. SherpaReport had the opportunity to talk with Manda Redfern, Flight Options Catering Services Manager, and Marialena Barnard, Sentient’s Senior Manager of Client Operations, about the options their companies offer owners and clients.
Every year, tens of thousands of companies use private aviation services, including private jets, turboprops and helicopters. While many may think that the typical passenger is a senior manager from a Fortune 500 company, the truth is, those travelers are actually in the minority of private aviation customers.
In announcing results for last year, Sentient Jet saw key metrics rise to levels not seen since 2008. The company sold over 32,000 hours in 2013, which is the equivalent of more than 1,300 25-Hour Jet Cards, and grew revenue to more than $150 million.
With the economy rebounding the large private aviation companies have been placing orders for a variety of new aircraft over the last few years. The total value of these orders is over $32bn since 2010.
While private jets provide much more flexibility for travelers than flying commercial, sometimes that still isn't flexible enough. Travelers flying in the Boston to Washington DC corridor, who need the flexibility of landing on a heliport or private landing spot may consider a helicopter charter, fractional ownership, or flight card from Associated Aircraft Group (AAG). AAG, which has been in business for over 20 years, started offering fractional helicopters in 1999. They have nine Sikorsky S-76 six- and seven-passenger cabin helicopters, that can be booked 24/7, 365 days per year.
For those looking to give the gift of time and convenience, several private jet companies are offering exclusive holiday deals on their jet cards, which are available for a limited time. Here are some of the available offers.
Are you looking for a luxury travel gift for the person who has everything? Flexjet has teamed up with luxury travel experts Abercrombie & Kent to offer Passport to the World. Inspired by Jules Verne's 1873 adventure novel Around the World in 80 Days, the Passport to the World is a fourteen-day, around-the-world trip for up to eight people on board a Challenger 605. According to the companies, this is the first and only completely private jet experience available for trips circumnavigating the globe.
The holiday season is the busiest travel time for all of the private aviation companies, with peak days being the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the day before Christmas Eve, and the two days after Christmas. The winter months are also busiest at the mountain airports because of ski season. That, combined with the somewhat treacherous conditions, can result in more delays than usual.
AirSprint, a North American fractional aircraft operator with offices in both the US and Canada, has announced newly restructured fractional jet ownership programs. Recognizing that some owners would like to avoid capital costs, and others would prefer a guaranteed rate of depreciation on fractional ownership, AirSprint has created options that are appropriate for all owners. The new programs, which are available for both the Citation CJ2+ and Citation XL/S, are offered at two levels - called the Club and the Infiniti Access Programs.
VistaJet, a global business aviation company, is expanding into the United States market, and has announced partnerships with two US-based companies. Jet Aviation will handle US operations while Wheels Up will handle US sales.
In a continuing sign of the growth of private aviation, Sentient reported sales have reached levels not seen since before the peak of the financial crisis in 2008. With this increase in travel and client demand, Sentient has expanded its jet card offering by adding a 25-hour Super-Mid jet card and a 25-hour Heavy jet card.
Whether it's the customer service, privacy, time-saving, flexibility, public image, or the convenience of private aviation, those who choose to charter a private plane need to consider some factors before booking. Here are the steps to follow if you are considering chartering a private aircraft.
Directional Aviation Capital has announced it is purchasing Flexjet from Bombardier, Inc. The new owners are also placing the largest new-aircraft order in Flexjet's history, valued at approximately $5.2 billion for up to 245 Bombardier business jets.
Portsmouth, NH-based PlaneSense, an aircraft fractional ownership program, has recently celebrated some major business milestones. The privately-held company has not only surpassed 200,000 flights, on August 7th, 2013, they took delivery of their 49th Pilatus PC-12 from Switzerland-based Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. Delivery was made in a ceremony hosted by CEO George Antoniadis. The fleet of PC-12s owned by PlaneSense represents the largest fleet of civilian owned PC-12s in the world, and PlaneSense is the largest civilian operator of their type. Pilatus has now built 1,200 of the aircraft.
Flexjet, a major fractional jet ownership services provider, has just reported 96 percent growth of new fractional and jet card sales in the first half of 2013, compared to the first half of 2012. This annoucement follows the Q1 2013 announcement of new business growth of 83 percent compared to Q1 2012.
A federal judge has signed an order for the Chapter 7 bankruptcy of troubled fractional operator Avantair. Meanwhile its fleet of Piaggio P180s has been grounded since June. Here's a summary of the background.
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