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 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.
Semi-private and shared air travel has been making headlines this year, as this idea has expanded across operators. A prime example is XO, a large private aviation company, which has announced an expansion of its most in-demand route between New York and South Florida, providing greater access to their shared flight options.
VistaJet has launched a new membership solution offering a three-year subscription for travelers flying 25 to 49 hours per year, as opposed to VistaJet’s 50+ hour per year commitment in its Program membership. Parent company Vista Global Holding announced sales in the US jumped 185% in the first nine months of 2022 over the same period in 2021.
Textron Aviation, manufacturer of Cessna business jets, announced it has entered into a purchase agreement with Exclusive Jets, LLC, operating as flyExclusive, for up to 14 additional Cessna Citation aircraft. This new order will grow the flyExclusive fractional jet program, and follows on the news that flyExclusive will be going public via a SPAC.
Another large private aviation company, flyExclusive has just announced plans to become a public company. The rapidly growing charter operator is planning to merge with EG Acquisition Corp. (NYSE:EGGF) and be listed on the NYSE.
The new SherpaReport Aircraft Buying Guide is geared towards people looking to buy larger turboprop and jet aircraft, as well as those exploring the idea of acquiring their first piston plane. The detailed book provides comprehensive guidance on all aspects of purchasing a private aircraft.
One of the world’s largest private aviation companies is becoming publicly traded in a SPAC deal. Fractional jet provider Flexjet, together with its fellow brands Sentient Jet, FX Air and Private Fly will be merging with the special purpose acquisition company Horizon Acquisition Corp II (ticker: HZON). The transaction implies a pro forma enterprise value for Flexjet of approximately $3.1 billion. (Editorial update: As of 11th April 2023, Flexjet and Horizon have called off their deal and Flexjet is no longer planning to go public.)
One would assume the world of private aircraft defines a kind of stability – but to those who look at the creation and evolution of the jet card, the fractional jet, and leasing, the blue-sky world is ever-evolving, sensitive to the changes in the world below.
NetJets, for example, has recently announced that it is once again welcoming new clients with a new NetJets 25-Hour Lease option, built for travelers who fly 25 hours or more per year. This has been available since earlier this year, to existing NetJets owners and those forbearing people who were on the NetJets wait list. But recently the NetJets 25-Hour Lease has been opened up for those outside the wait list.
Private aviation solution provider XO has reduced the number of membership tiers that it offers and no longer offers a fixed hourly rate, jet card type product. Flights booked under the new, single-level XO Membership are all dynamically priced ie are market based.
The lifeline of any high-end luxury business is how well guest services are both offered and conducted. Service for any affluent population is about quiet, unobtrusive, anticipatory service - the norm in any high-end private home or estate.
But on a private jet, exceptional customer service takes on a distinctive face as it has temporal boundaries: limited time, space restraints, and possible weather issues. This makes customer wellbeing in the private jet industry more complex yet more needful than in other hospitality sectors.
As private jet executives consider the post-pandemic journey as a whole, their thoughts are to make the customer feel the greatest degree of comfort, that include feeling safe, cared for, attended to, so that both want and need of the traveler are realized and valued. This is accomplished in a variety of ways.
When SherpaReport checked in with Clay Lacy Aviation last year, the company was experiencing some exciting post-pandemic growth. They were also in the midst of an environmental audit to measure the effectiveness of a wide range of new sustainability initiatives. One year later, we follow up to see how things are progressing as Clay Lacy continues to expand with a new FBO and sustainability awards.
Vista Global Holding (Vista), one of the world’s leading private aviation companies, reported record sales across Vista’s core subscription offerings. Vista says client demand continues to grow for both VistaJet and XO memberships.
Recent data from ARGUS TRAQPak shows a record setting pace for business aviation in North American and European markets for the first six months of 2022. In North America flight activity was up 15.8% from 2021, while European activity rose 58.3% from 2021 for the first half of the year. There are signs that the pace of growth is cooling.
Priester Aviation, one of the most experienced private aviation companies, specializing in aircraft management, jet charter and aviation consulting, has just relaunched its 25 hour Centerline Jet Card program. SherpaReport spoke to Andy Priester, Chairman and CEO of Priester Aviation, about the relaunch of their card program, and what it means for the company and their clients.
Private jet operator Jet Linx has restarted sales of both its Enterprise Jet Card Membership, designed to serve its corporate clients, and restarted a Tier II Executive Jet Card Membership for leisure travelers who fly less frequently than its Tier I Executive Membership offering.
Flexjet, one of the largest fractional jet providers, has launched a private helicopter division by integrating Associated Aircraft Group (AAG), into the Flexjet family. Flexjet will now extend complimentary helicopter transfers to its Gulfstream G650 fractional owners, and will sell add-on fractional, lease and charter access in Flexjet-branded Sikorsky S-76 helicopters.
Since SherpaReport first took a look at fractional jet provider Jet It in 2020, the company has gone from strength to strength. Last year, the company announced plans to expand into Canada, Europe, and Southeast Asia. Jet It was the recipient of the Aviation International News 2021 Top Flight Award for Charter, Fractional, and Jet Card Innovation. Meanwhile, Ernst & Young named company co-founders Glenn Gonzales and Vishal Hiremath the 2021 Southeast Entrepreneurs of the Year. Read on for the latest news about Jet It’s continued growth and some new additions to the fleet.
Surf Air has been in existence since 2011, and has been successful in flying private aircraft to and from many regional airports throughout the country. But recently, Surf Air has mobilized its parent company, Surf Air Mobility (SAM), in creating a new regional air travel ecosystem, putting the often elusive vision of green, eco-sensitive flying into clear focus. The SAM goal is the development of proprietary powertrain technology in order to electrify existing fleets, thus reducing operating costs and emissions.
Prices for private aviation flights continue to rise. Several factors are adding to the increasing prices including record demand, increasing aviation fuel charges and a shortage of both planes and crews. This is driving prices across the board and is most obvious in jet cards, where card providers have been increasing their hourly rates.