If you’re a celebrity, businessperson, sports team, or event organiser who wants regular access to a private jet, then you may consider aircraft leasing as an option. But is it really the best choice? In this article we look at the upsides and downsides of aircraft leasing, and why private jet chartering may be a better alternative.
The Pros of Leasing an Aircraft
Less responsibility than ownership
If you regularly use private jets, then owning one for yourself or your business can seem more appealing than leasing aircraft. But private jet leasing frees you from the maintenance and insurance responsibilities that come with aircraft ownership.
Freedom of use
With business aircraft leasing or private jet leasing, it’s yours to do as you will within the term of the lease. Within legal and insurance limits, and any lease conditions, it’s up to you where the aircraft flies, when it flies, and how often. The only restrictions are weather conditions, air traffic rules, scheduled maintenance and the availability of your pilots and crew.
Private jet leasing gives you access to a wider range of airports than commercial flights through airlines. This can allow you to land closer to your final destination, reducing the time spent and hassle caused by booking and travelling via transfer transport.
Less hassle at the airport
Leasing aircraft frees you from the interminable red tape and waiting times involved when taking commercial flights.
The Cons of Leasing Aircraft
Wet or dry lease?
With a standard ‘dry’ lease, the aircraft is all you get. This type of aircraft leasing contract means it’s up to you to recruit and employ the pilot, crew and support staff, with all the administrative and employment burdens that entails. You’ll also have to pay the fuel bills and insurance costs.
‘Wet’ leases are different from ‘dry’ leases because it includes at least one crew member; some will include a full crew and fuel. This may sound ideal, but these contracts tend to be more restrictive, with the lessor retaining far more control over how you deploy the aircraft and its personnel. Wet leases are much more costly and can bleed money unless you’re using the aircraft very regularly. Nobody wants to effectively pay for a full aircraft crew to sit around doing nothing!
One aircraft has to fit all situations
Having chosen one aircraft to lease, that’s the one you’re compelled to use for the lease term, no matter how unsuitable it is. The internal configuration of your plane may be limited too.
Leasing larger aircraft could restrict the airports available to you and the plane may spend much of its time half-empty. Leasing a smaller plane may mean you regularly need to charter a bigger aircraft for larger groups.
The Flexible Option: Private Jet Chartering
If you’re a very regular flyer, with in-flight and journey needs that are always similar, business aircraft leasing or private jet leasing may be the right choice. But if not, private jet charters are likely to be a better option.
A choice of aircraft and configurations
Chartering a private jet gives you the freedom to select the aircraft that’s perfect for your purposes, passengers and intended destination. If your business only occasionally needs to transport big groups, but often requires flights for a few executives or potential investors, leasing a larger aircraft can be pointless.
Business charter flights give you the flexibility to choose the right size of aircraft for the trip. Often, you can also choose the internal configuration, so that your aircraft suits the business, leisure and accommodation needs of its passengers.
A range of destinations
When you charter a private jet, you can fly to any available airport that can accommodate your chosen plane. This can get you closer to your final destination, reducing overall travel time and lengthy transfers.
Private terminals and premium service
Many charter companies have their own private terminals at some airports, or their own private section within a terminal. For you, this means quick and painless check-ins and security clearance. There’s no waiting for your luggage to appear on the carousel either; your luggage will be handled for you by charter company staff.
These services save you time and stress, giving you the chance to relax or work in a luxurious lounge while you wait for your flight or transfer. Alongside catering facilities, some private terminals offer conference rooms, showers, gyms, spas, bedrooms, and tax-free shops. Transfers, including helicopter flights, can usually be arranged by the charter company and may be a complimentary part of the package.
Bespoke journeys and services
Chartering a private jet isn’t just about a more convenient, less stressful journey and less time wasted. It’s also about a premium experience, and bespoke flights and services. You can have everything tailored to your needs, including cabin configuration, in-flight entertainment, on-board services, luxury accommodation and premium catering. Transporting domestic pets, valuable objects and excess luggage can all be arranged.
If you want the ability to make these choices and have them all actioned for you, a private jet charter is the answer.
Leasing or Chartering?
The operational costs of keeping and maintaining an aircraft have risen steeply in recent years. Leasing can seem like a good alternative for very frequent flyers. However, you’ll have the worries of recruiting and employing a crew to maintain and fly your aeroplane, plus insurance costs—or the expense of a wet lease. You’ll probably need to be flying more than once a week to make this viable and, even there, private jet charter has a great alternative for frequent flyers in the form of a jet card.
If you have a variety of air travel needs, chartering is the better choice. Aeroplane fuel and insurance? Included. Experienced, qualified, insured pilots and personnel? Included. And a host of other services, both on board and pre- or post-flight, can be provided by your charter company.
Private travel is so much simpler when you charter a private jet. You only pay for what you want or need, when you want it. That’s where your costs and responsibilities end!