Budgeting for BizAv

Working with an Advisor is Key to Determining Which Jet Programs You Can Afford

Bethesda, Maryland • September 2017

While the rise of jet card and private charter programs has lowered the entry point for private aviation, flying privately is still significantly more expensive than commercial air travel - particularly for those who want to fly privately with some regularity.

Private aviation advisor, James Butler, recently told Business Jet Traveler, “I get calls fairly frequently from people who have had bad experiences flying commercially, or flown on a friend’s private jet, and say, ‘I want to do that.’"

Mislead by advertisements for “last minute jet deals” and headlines such as “How to Fly on a Private Jet for Under $150 Per Person,” many travelers are dismayed when they find out the actual cost of flying privately. “When you get a sense of their budget, it tends to be a short conversation,” Butler explained.  Travelers may have a monthly or annual budget in mind, however, those numbers may or may not be in line with the type of jet program that best suits their needs.

The general rule of thumb is that if you fly fewer than 50 hours per year, jet cards or charter may be better options; and if you fly more than 400 hours per year, purchasing a whole aircraft may be the way to go. If you’re in between, fractional may be the way to go, but the number of hours you fly is only one part of the budgeting equation.

Using a comprehensive methodology, Shaircraft factors in other important considerations, including:

  • How often do you fly?
  • Where and when do you fly?
  • How far in advance do you plan your trips?
  • How many passengers and how much luggage do you take?
  • Do you prefer to fly on a fleet managed by a single operator?
  • Is there a good charter operator in your area?
  • Do you have specific aircraft preferences?
  • What is the best use of your capital?
  • Can you take advantage of depreciation tax deductions?

The bottom line is that the analysis that goes into making the right private air travel decision goes far beyond shiny brochures and carefully crafted sales pitches. Having an expert sitting on your side of the table is the best way to ensure that you’re getting maximum flight time on appropriate aircraft at the best possible price.  

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