When it comes to private aviation, the choice is yours. This elite form of travel gives passengers the ability to choose when they fly, where they fly, with whom they fly, and on the aircraft that best suits their needs. From the moment you step onto your flight, the world revolves around you.
There are many forms of private aviation and through a series of articles on CharterJets.com we will explore those options. To begin with, we’ll look at fractional jet ownership and how it compares and contrasts with private jet charter.
Fractional jet ownership is essentially the same as purchasing a timeshare at a vacation destination. It gives a group of individuals a chance to own a jet that they get to utilize for a guaranteed set of hours each year. Costs vary, but the acquisition cost of each share is determined by the pro-rated market value of the aircraft. The jump-off point in fractional jet ownership is a 1/16 share. This option, while by no means inexpensive, is the most popular selection made by private aviation enthusiasts.
The cost of a share is the pro-rated market value of the aircraft divided by the number of fractional owners. So, assuming a jet is $10 million and owned by 16 individuals, then the acquisition fee would be $625,000.
Frequent fliers might be wondering now what the benefits and risks are of fractional ownership. We’ll start with the benefits.
Almost everyone can relate to what it is like to be stuck on a commercial jet with absolutely no control over anything. Passengers are at the mercy of dozens of others who call the shots. Fractional jet ownership gives passengers the chance to step onto an aircraft that they actually own. When qualified, owners can also fly the jet themselves. Imagine the level of comfort provided by traveling on your own time on your own plane.
While flying on your own plane is desirable, keep in mind that many fractional providers have fleets of varying sizes that fractional owners have access to. This benefits owners by providing them with the best jet available to suit both their personal and travel needs.
Because the contract of fractional jet ownership states that owners are only responsible for the hours they spend in the air, the convenience of flying one-way becomes hassle free. As charter jet passengers know, trips with empty legs are essentially the same as throwing money away because in most cases there is a charge for returning the plane to its home base. Being able to simply walk away from a flight without cringing over the cost of its empty return – especially if that flight was transcontinental – is a good feeling.
But fractional ownership isn’t for everyone. Aside from the acquisition costs, there are monthly fees that hover around the five-figure mark that each owner has to contend with. Granted, these monthly fees cover maintenance, insurance, pilot salaries, and other general upkeep necessary for the jet, so they are not arbitrary. In addition, there are fuel costs and landing fees to consider. If you’re not one for dealing with large monthly fees and prefer to deal with travel costs only as they arise, then fractional jet ownership probably isn’t for you.
On a similar note, owners are required to sign a contract that binds them to the aircraft for two to five years. At the end of those contractually obligated years, owners can sell their share, but remember that by that time, the jet will have most likely decreased in value. On the upside, the selling is generally done through the company through which the jet was purchased, so at least owners don’t have to go at it alone.
After reading through this blog thus far, if you’re still not sure if fractional ownership is for you, then consider private jet charter. This form of flying is almost as good as ownership because it still provides passengers with the freedom to call the shots of who, why, where, when and how. All trips are tailor made to fit the needs of the fliers (within reason, there’s no controlling weather). So let’s look at the pros and cons of private jet charter.
To begin with, the cost difference from ownership to charters can be rather large. All charter passengers pay for is the trip itself, so this includes all legs of the trip and any extras on board like catering. In addition, the total trip cost covers the maintenance, insurance, pilot fees, fuel and landing fees. So depending on how often you fly, even if you travel roughly once a month, it is generally cheaper to fly with a private charter than to handle the acquisition costs and fees associated with fractional ownership.
When it comes to the negative aspects of jet charters, the most common complaint involves paying for unused return legs of trips. These trips are often more expensive than round trip rates because operators need to return the jets to their home base regardless of if you’re onboard or not.
Another complaint arises from customers who used untrustworthy brokers who book flights for customers without really knowing much about the operator or aircraft. It’s always a good rule of thumb to make sure that when you book a charter to ask if the operator or broker has knowledge of the aircraft just to make sure it (and the broker) are of good quality.
No matter what you choose, both private jet charter and fractional jet ownership offer the utmost in premier travel needs. It’s just a matter of selecting which form of travel fits your aviation needs.
If you decide fractional ownership is a good fit for you, then look at FlexJets and NetJets to learn more about becoming a jet owner. If you’d rather deal with your travel needs as they arise, then check out private jet charters here.
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