Gil Wolin, vice president of corporate communications for TAG Aviation USA, posed this question at a recent seminar in New York. Most aircraft offered for charter are managed by the operators and owned by other parties.
Charter and Fractional
News and issues concerning the aviation charter and fractional-ownership industries and markets, including company announcements, regulations, new developments and labor issues.
CharterAuction, the Quincy, Mass.-based online charter broker that claims to have “the industry’s largest empty-leg database,” will now assist Phoenix-based Swift Air in finding aircraft to manage as well as match charter customers with the operator’s 15-strong fleet of business jets.
Continuing a trend, several Part 135 operators recently announced partnership agreements with others in the travel industry. Bombardier Skyjet and Abercrombie & Kent Destination Clubs signed an agreement under which Skyjet will provide air transportation to the travel company’s club member customers via A&K Jets. Marquis Jet, which provides jet cards for NetJets aircraft, is partnering with The Sea Island Co. of Georgia.
Delta AirElite, the business aircraft charter division of Delta Air Lines, this summer introduced a revenue guarantee for aircraft owners who are accepted for enrollment in the company’s aircraft-management program. The company offers new management clients flight-hour guarantees ranging from 200 to 500 hours annually for select aircraft.
NBAA last month announced the release of “The Aircraft Charter Consumer Guide,” a free eight-page publication available in printed form and downloadable as a PDF from the association’s Web site (www.nbaa.org/charter).
Executive aircraft charter activity in Europe has definitely increased this year. On average, operators surveyed by AIN reported that during the first six months of this year, the number of charter flight hours logged was around 17 percent higher than during the same period last year.
Options, awareness, acceptance, security, time, the economy and the hassles of airline travel are contributing to a buoyant U.S. charter market, with activity up an average of 30 to 40 percent over last year. The increased demand is putting pressure on operators to add aircraft to their fleets as they edge up their base rates.
PlaneSense, the Pilatus PC-12 fractional ownership division of Manchester, N.H.-based Alpha Flying, has expanded its operational area to 11 airports of entry in the Bahamas where positioning fees have been eliminated. The designated airports are: Freeport, Treasure Bay, Marsh Harbour, Sandy Point, North Eleuthera, Governors Harbour, Rock Sound, Nassau International, San Andros, Andros Town and South Bimini.
With a firm order for 10 Eclipse 500s and an option for 10 more, London, Ontario-based OurPlane became the first fractional customer for the very light jet, scheduled to enter service early next year. Prices for a one-quarter share of the Eclipse 500 start at $349,900, with a monthly fixed cost of $3,500 and hourly operating costs of $369, without a pilot.
Fractional operator Flight Options expanded its 75/25 program to include the Citation X and Embraer Legacy, in addition to the Hawker 400XP and 800XP. With the purchase of a single share, owners get 75 percent of occupied hours in one aircraft and the remaining 25 percent in another aircraft of their choice.