Private Jet

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.

If you only fly a few hours a year then on demand aircraft charter is probably the best way to go. As your number of hours of private flying increases look at charter cards and fractional cards.

Once you reach about 50 hours of flying a year then fractional aircraft ownership can start to make sense and above 300 or so hours per year whole ownership is worth looking into. Here is some core information to help you understand the options.

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 and would like a good general overview then download our free Guide to Private Aviation, which includes details on charter, jet cards and fractional ownership. For detailed side by side comparisons of the leading jet card and fractional providers, a directory of charter operators, and our Aircraft Buying Guide then sign up for membership

The latest news and research on private jets and aircraft is included below.

Wheels Up has announced George N. Mattson as its new Chief Executive Officer. Mattson brings 25 years of aviation experience to the role, as a strategic advisor, financier, business owner/operator and director.

The interest in electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft continues to climb. There are numerous aircraft that are in development and testing, with billions of dollars being invested in their evolution - they will potentially have a huge impact on both commercial and private aviation. This article looks at the overall market and some of the leading contenders. 

Looking at the hours flown by the largest part 135 charter operators, most providers have been holding steady or seen drops in the number of hours during the first half of 2023. There are a few exceptions where companies have increased their hours.

This fits with the trend of lower hours overall after the covid induced peaks in private aviation.

Delta Air Lines joins travel and tourism investment firm Certares Management and deep value and turnaround investment firm Knighthead Capital Management in a non-binding agreement to co-lead a $500 million facility.

The lenders will receive newly issued Wheels Up common stock resulting in them owning approximately 95% of the equity of the company on a fully diluted basis. This new funding is expected to provide the company the stability to execute on its strategic vision over the long term. (Update: This funding deal closed on 20th September.)

The large private aviation operator Wheels Up has just received additional funding from Delta Air Lines - one of its largest shareholders.

Airshare has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to purchase Wheels Up's aircraft management business. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2023, subject to customary approvals and closing conditions.

One of the largest private aviation companies, Flexjet, has added Flying Colours Corp., a large aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) company, to the Flexjet family of companies. This deal expands the maintenance and product support network, with facilities in the United States, Canada and Europe supporting Flexjet’s rapidly growing fleet.

Private aviation company Volato has just announced plans to go public by combining with PROOF Acquisition Corp I (NYSE: PACI). Volato operates a floating fleet of private jets across the United States with programs including fractional ownership, jet card and deposit programs, aircraft management services, and on-demand charter.

Private aviation company Priester Aviation is expanding its footprint and service area by combining with Atlanta based Hill Private Aviation. The two companies offer aircraft management, charter and jet cards.

Fractional and jet card provider Airshare has just ordered up to 20 Challenger 3500 super-midsize jets. These aircraft will double the operators Challenger fleet.

Private aviation company Jet Linx is bringing in Brent Wouters, the former President & CEO of Cirrus Aircraft, to be the new CEO. Jamie Walker, who has been President and CEO since 2007, will become Chairman of the Board.

International Aircraft Dealers Association (IADA) members expect an ongoing shift toward a more balanced market throughout 2023. Members also reported an uptick in private aircraft resale expectations for the next six months. Both results were reported in the IADA quarterly market report.

XO, a private jet digital marketplace, and part of Vista Global, is offering a summer promotion with exclusive pricing for chartered flights to Europe from $75,000. They also have summer offers on flights to key domestic destinations including Miami, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.

The latest data on private flight numbers in 2023 show the sector is below the peak seen in 2022, but still well above the pre-covid 2019 numbers.

In a recent survey of SherpaReport site members we asked who they fly with, when they are flying privately. The results are below, together with a discussion of who uses private aviation.

Flexjet has been growing its European operations since the initial launch in 2019. It bought a helicopter operator in 2021, then added long range Gulfstream G650’s in 2022. This year sees the company offering access to a selection of prestigious cultural and lifestyle events to provide a true flavor of Europe.

Flexjet is adding 22 more mid- and super midsized private jets to its global fractional fleet by the end of the year. Together with large-cabin aircraft on order, this will bring the fleet to 270 jets by year-end 2023. The increasing capacity is also allowing Flexjet to restart jet card sales.

One of the largest private aviation providers, flyExclusive, has expanded the features in both its Jet Club and fractional program. These will allow members to benefit from increased savings and flexibility. The changes include reduced peak days, reduced prices, discounted short-notice premiums and a $100,000 flight credit for new fractional members. The offers are available now through Labor Day, September 4, 2023, to all new and current members.

Fractional HondaJet operator Jet It has grounded all its aircraft and has laid off all staff. Jet It pointed the finger at maintenance issues with their aircraft, but questions abound about the financial position of the company.

Vista Global Holdings, parent of VistaJet and XO, grew revenue to about $2.5bn in 2022 and says expansion has continued with “high double-digit revenue growth” producing a record first quarter in 2023. However the Financial Times (FT) recently reported on the billions of dollars of debt and four years of losses at the private jet operator. Vista CEO Thomas Flohr stresses the company has a very positive EBITDA (Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) and its focus is cash flow.

The first iteration of the PC-12 single engine turboprop was approved in 1994. Manufacturer Pilatus just had a handover ceremony for the 2,000th PC-12 which was sold to fractional operator PlaneSense, its longstanding US customer and the operator of the world’s largest civilian fleet of Pilatus PC-12s and PC-24 jets.

The cost to charter a private jet in the United States has been dropping, across all cabin classes, since the peak levels in mid-2022. SherpaReport looked at data from charter marketplace provider Avinode, to assess the impacts on various cabin sizes.