Block Time vs. Private Jet Charter
When is on-demand private jet charter better than buying a block of hours?
Private jet charter can be a lot cheaper than buying a block of hours for a one-way flight, as you can access floating fleets or an empty leg to reduce the cost. With a block of hours, the price covers a round trip. If you only fly one-way, you are effectively paying double.
How does the block hour model affect aircraft choice in comparison to on-demand charter?
Booking block hours is more restrictive than on-demand charter. If you want to switch to a new aircraft, you need to buy a new block of hours, or else pay a penalty. Plus, you’ll only have limited aircraft to choose from to begin with.
For example, some companies only utilize two aircraft models. Each booking requires owner approval, which means you are not guaranteed to be able to use your hours when you wish.
Here’s how much aircraft cost for block hours as compared to chartering:
|Aircraft Model||Block Hour Price (Per Hour)||Charter Price (Per Hour)|
|King Air 350 GTI||$3,900||$2,100|
For any other model, you would need to charter a flight. Plus, block hours often require annual membership.
What types of block hour models are there?
There are two different types of block hours. The first is when you buy a block of hours with a larger fleet at a fixed rate. An example of this is the 25-hour fixed-rate jet card. The second is when you buy a block of hours from an individual operator on a specific aircraft.
You can also buy block hours on a monthly or yearly basis. If you’ll be flying multiple legs over a month, for example, you can block out the aircraft for that period. You’ll need to meet some minimum requirements, and you will pay for those hours even if you don’t use them. They will also expire if unused.
Here’s how much time you’ll need to book:
- Small Aircraft: 60 hours
- Large Aircraft: 80-100 hours
What are the advantages and disadvantages of different types of private jet block hours?
If you block out an aircraft for an entire month, you have flexibility to fly when you want to. You’ll know the hourly rate and crew costs in advance, and money will be in escrow for landing fees.
Even when you book the whole month, the crew will still need a two-hour call out and you still must adhere to maximum crew duty times and flight times. But within those parameters, the aircraft is yours to use when you want to use it for that entire month.
Usage over the agreed hours – for example, anything over 60 hours – is billed at an additional fixed rate. You’ll enjoy similar privileges to owning the plane for that month.
Even if you don’t use all of your hours, you’ll still have to pay for them. And if you have a mechanical issue, you’ll need a new contract for a backup plane. This is because your block of hours is only with one specific aircraft. Make sure you choose an operator with a large fleet or a backup may not even be available.
When you buy a large block of hours you can negotiate for the best hourly rate; beyond that, however, you can no longer save money. For example, if an empty leg opens up, the savings will go to the operator. When chartering, the broker could pass these savings on to you.
When I call, will the plane be ready immediately?
No, you’ll need to provide at least 12 hours’ notice. When chartering, you only need four hours. And as a PBJ Jet Card member, it’s just three hours.