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.
The private aviation provider Wheels Up announced that in the fourth quarter of 2021 it saw continued growth in members & flight legs and had record sales of its prepaid block programs. Total revenue in Q4 increased 64% year-over-year to $345 million and reached $1.2bn for the whole of 2021.
The idea of moderation in all things has been with us since time immemorial: Aristotle discussed it as the Golden Mean, defining it as the middle ground between two extremes, Buddha expressed the same idea as the Middle Way and even in a moderately contemporary fairy tale, Goldilocks chose the porridge that was not too hot, not too cold but just right. Aristotelian Goldilocks!
In a similar manner, however, a jet concept has emerged that seems, arguably, to be like her porridge: in the middle of the jet travel realm - not completely commercial, not completely private. Called semi-private or shared-private air travel, it is gaining in popularity.
With the large increase in demand for private aviation in 2021, the sales of new aircraft bounced back from the COVID induced drop in 2020. The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) reported global sales of 710 new business jets in 2021, up 10% from the 644 new jets sold in 2020. Sales of piston and turboprop airplanes also increased, as did sales of new helicopters.
The part 135, private aircraft charter companies saw overall flight hours bounce back significantly in 2021, after a COVID induced drop in 2020. Amongst the top 25 companies the average growth was over 50%, and several companies grew well over 60%.
Jet Edge is a large full-service global private aviation company, and serves aircraft owners and charter flyers with its operational platform. It has seen significant expansion over the last year, fueled by additional funding.
We were pleased to have a conversation with Jonah Adler, the Chief Commercial Officer of Jet Edge International, to discover the hows and whys of such impressive growth.
The fractional aircraft companies in North America flew over 760,000 hours in 2021. This was an increase of more than 50% compared to 2020, and up over 20% compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019. The largest fractional operators are ranked and discussed below.
The Gulfstream G650 made its maiden flight in November 2009. After receiving its FAA type certificate in 2012, the first one was delivered to a customer in the U.S. later that same year. At the time of its introduction, it was Gulfstream’s largest, fastest, and most expensive aircraft on the market. (The G700 has since surpassed it). In 2014, the G650 won the National Aeronautic Association’s Collier Trophy for its technological advancements and contributions to business aviation. Here is a breakdown of the costs you should expect to incur if you buy and operate a Gulfstream G650.
Private aviation company Wheels Up is continuing its acquisition spree with the purchase of Alante Air Charter, a Part 135 operator established in 2014 and based in Scottsdale, Arizona. This follows on last week’s announcement of an agreement to acquire Air Partner PLC.
Wheels Up (NYSE: UP) announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire Air Partner PLC (LSE: AIR). The acquisition increases Wheels Up’s international expansion and provides connections to international aircraft supply for the Wheels Up marketplace. It also expands the aviation services and business offerings from the company.
Anthony Tivnan has over twenty years’ experience in private aviation and co-founded Magellan Jets in 2008. Through his leadership, Magellan Jets has seen significant growth and more recently has navigated the challenges of covid in the private aviation world. SherpaReport talked to Anthony about his commitment to all market segments in the face of Covid, and he also explains the importance in maintaining a flexible mindset during this unprecedented time.
Fractional and jet card provider NetJets recently shared a review of 2021 and predictions for 2022, commenting on the “unprecedented flight demand” which “fueled extreme growth and innovation” but also “caused a ripple of new challenges across the industry.” The company is currently operating at 30% more flight volume than prior to the pandemic. One key aspect that NetJets noted is that “we hope to return to selling our full product lineup by spring.”
Private jet company Jet Linx had temporarily suspended jet card sales in October, to ensure its promise of providing guaranteed services to its members during the peak travel season. It has just restarted sales of new jet cards on a limited basis and subject to a waitlist at each Jet Linx private terminal location. The number of new cards are based upon the capacity of Jet Linx's exclusive closed fleet of private jet aircraft and the status of Membership Tier priority.
The HondaJet has proven to be a popular light jet, since the first one was delivered to a customer in 2015. The updated HondaJet Elite was launched in 2018, offering a new Garmin G3000 flight deck, improved performance and an upgraded interior. In May 2021, the company announced new upgrades to the design with the HondaJet Elite S which increased the aircraft’s maximum takeoff weight. Here is a look at the costs to own and operate this sought after light jet.
Jet Edge Reserve members will now be able to fly coast-to-coast on a Challenger starting at $39,900. In addition, Jet Edge is announcing a new transcontinental program to include non-coastal hubs like Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Bozeman, Aspen, Nashville and Scottsdale among others for flights of four hours or more, also starting at $39,900.
Over the last few months, Wheels Up executives have been presenting and discussing plans for their vision to create a “Marketplace” for private aviation. SherpaReport sat in on the presentations and talked to company executives. It’s a bold vision, and to some extent the latest results from the company show progress towards the goal.
Private aviation is going through an enormous imbalance of supply and demand. Lots of people want to fly privately, but there just aren’t enough aircraft. Adding to this are various supply chain problems, service issues, staffing shortages and the net result is prices are going up and some service levels are impacted.