- 20 Jan 2023
- David Wyndham
- Aircraft Ownership
If you’ve considered the pros and cons of chartering out your jet when it’s not in use and decided to move to the next step, what questions should you ask prospective charter operators when determining the best choice for you? Gerrard Cowan explores...
It is not uncommon for business jet owners to make their aircraft available for charter, enabling them to offset some of their operating costs from the revenue received.
Assuming the pros and cons have been considered, and a decision is made to proceed with the plan, what are the next steps owners should take? What priorities should be discussed with possible charter operators?
Owners who fly for 200 hours or less annually are more likely to place their aircraft with a charter partner to supplement their use with revenue flying, according to Brandon Greene, Senior Vice President of fleet development at flyExclusive.
Providing a range of private jet experiences for clients including charter services, flyExclusive’s aircraft management model pays for all aircraft expenses and enables owners to access the same aircraft type as their own when needed. For example, if an owner provides a Cessna Citation CJ3, they can book a Cessna Citation X at cost.
Owners who charter their aircraft out tend to be those who primarily use it for leisure, or perhaps a mix of personal travel and some business travel, Greene notes. “The income will cover crew salary, training and hangar expense.
“The additional hours flown will not further depreciate the value of the aircraft, which is a common misconception or concern about charter aircraft,” he adds.
Each charter operator will typically have a template agreement when working with business jet owners, but these are often modified to address and accommodate any unique requests or structures. “For the local operator, sometimes they can offer fuel at cost, plus free hangarage, shared pilot salaries or training costs, for example.
“For the larger operators, this can range from shared/free Wi-Fi costs to experiential events and fleet empty leg access.”
Understand the Nature of the Relationship
Jan Kralik is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ABS Jets, which provides a wide range of in-house services in Business Aviation, including aircraft management, air charter, flight planning and more.
He says the company – which has bases in Prague, Czech Republic and Bratislava, Slovakia – saw a rapid increase in demand for chartering business jets in the first half of 2020, the height of the Covid pandemic. There was a similar level of demand in 2021 and an increase again in 2022, though there had been a slight seasonal downturn as of early February 2023.
Generally, owners who use their aircraft relatively little will be most likely to charter it out, Kralik notes, though demand also depends on the size of the jet, with Mid-Size Jets being particularly popular on the charter market.
This is not so much the case with Large Cabin and Ultra-Long-Range Jets, which “are being chartered very rarely and only to limited group of customers,” in Kralik’s experience.
When selecting an ideal charter partner to place your aircraft with, neither party should make any compromises on safety and security, he stresses. And any false promises that are made at the beginning of the relationship will harm the partnership in future, potentially even ending the cooperation – so Kralic suggests owners seek to establish an open, realistic and honest relationship from the outset.
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