Business Jet Charter: The Market and Your Options

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You have a multimillion-dollar contract waiting to be signed. Your counterpart’s schedule is full, and they won’t be available to meet until six months into the future. Luckily, there’s a cancellation on their calendar, so they can squeeze you in two days from today at exactly 1:30-2:00 p.m. (GMT+8).

There’s just one problem. It is 2020, the peak of the pandemic-induced flight cancellations and border closures; you’re in Chicago; the meeting is in Singapore; and the only commercial trip available is a two-stop, 31-hour-long flight.

Will you get on that flight or choose a business jet charter instead? In this situation, and given your options, you will probably opt for private aviation.

The Pandemic-Driven Private Aviation Boom

At the height of the pandemic, business travellers were in this very situation, and they chose to charter private airplane.

According to McKinsey, before the pandemic, only 10% of those who could afford private air travel did so. Pre-pandemic, people didn’t fly private just because they had the means to do so. Thus, people usually associate private jets with heads of state, top business executives, and celebrities.

However, when the pandemic hit, those who must travel despite flight restrictions and flight cancellations and had the means to charter an airplane flew private. Thus, even if private aviation did see a drop in utilization in the first half of 2020 due to border closures and flight restrictions, it proved much more robust and resilient than commercial aviation.

There was a worldwide surge in private charters in 2020. Private aviation remains on an upward trend, moreover, as first-time private fliers began to realize how convenient and efficient flying private is compared to flying commercial.

Chartering a private jet is no longer simply a means to avoid crowds, evade long queues, and meet crucial schedules that the pandemic-incapacitated commercial airline industry couldn’t. It has become a viable alternative to premium seats (first class and business class) on commercial flights.

Even after the return of regular commercial flights and the easing of worldwide travel restrictions, private air travel has left an indelible mark in the consciousness of wealthy travellers. Thus, those who can afford to travel privately may be more likely to choose private aviation post-pandemic than they were wont to do pre-pandemic.

There has also been a rise in the number of operators providing a subscription-based business model that makes private jet charters accessible to more people. Members of private jet clubs pay a membership fee. In exchange, they gain access to a fleet of private jets, and they can buy private flight hours as needed at favourable rates.

The general outlook for the private segment of the aviation industry reflects these trends. Statista estimates that the global business jet market will continue to grow through the years and be worth $36.94 billion by 2028 from its market size of $24.21 billion in 2020.

In the United States, business jet take-offs and landings are up at 40% year over year. Business jets also now account for 25% of U.S. flights, approximately twice private aviation’s share before the pandemic.

Commercial airlines know which way the wind is blowing. Even Delta Air Lines, one of the largest airline companies by fleet size in the United States, owns shares in a private jet club.

It’s true that those who fly private can and still do fly commercial. However, the fact that chartering an airplane has become part of the mainstream consciousness of business-class travellers must mean private aviation is eating away at commercial aviation’s market share.

Your Private Jet Options

Are you contemplating flying private much more frequently than you do commercial? Here are your business jet options.

1. Compact Light Jets

These are light, short-haul aircraft with a flight time of up to three hours. A compact light jet, also known as a very light jet, is a plane to charter for short hops for four passengers and some luggage. Prepare for self-service, however, because they don’t usually come with flight attendants. They may also not have a toilet.

2. Light Jets

Light jets have a more extended range than compact light jets. They also have a slightly bigger passenger capacity (around five to seven passengers).

3. Super Light Jets

This is the plane you want if you value the fuel efficiency of lighter planes but prefer having a greater range and more comfort than are available in very light and light aircraft. Superlight jets typically have six, seven, or even eight seats.

4. Mid-Size Jets

Mid-size jets can usually cover a distance of 4,700 kilometres and travel non-stop for four to five hours. They can typically carry six to eight passengers.

5. Super Mid-Size Jets

Super mid-size jets have a greater range, are faster, and have a bigger luggage capacity than mid-size jets. They can usually accommodate from eight to ten passengers.

6. Heavy Jets

Travelling from Florida, United States to British Columbia, Canada? That’s a flight time of more than six hours. Consider chartering a heavy jet if you must fly for up to eight hours with at least nine passengers.

Heavy jets have a passenger capacity of around 10-12 and can cover distances beyond 6,000 kilometres. They’re a good choice for transcontinental flights.

7. Ultra-Long-Range Jets

If you need to travel internationally, this private jet is for you. The ultra-long-range aircraft is perfect for long-haul flights. It can seat from eight to 16 passengers (depending on configuration and onboard amenities). They are fast and can fly for 14 hours straight without needing to stop for refuelling.

Going with the family on a theme park tour of Yas Island Abu Dhabi? An ultra-long-range jet can take you from New York to Abu Dhabi in a single, non-stop flight.

8. Executive Jets

Executive jets can cover medium, transcontinental, or intercontinental distances. Their finishing, amenities, and comfort level set them apart from the other jets with a similar range. The number of passengers they can carry also depends on their configuration. Executive jets can have separate bedrooms, private offices, bathrooms, meeting rooms, a dining room, and a general seating area.

This is the aircraft to choose if you want the best experience onboard a private flight.

Private Jet Travel

The pandemic brought private jet travel to the forefront of moneyed travellers’ options. Post-pandemic converts to private aviation are apparently not giving up the convenience, comfort, and efficiency inherent in private air travel, not even for premium seats on commercial airliners.

If you enjoy travelling via private air travel, you have many business jet options. They range from very light, light, super light, mid-size, super mid-size, heavy, ultra-long-range, and executive jets.

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