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What does it mean when a private jet flight broker says the aircraft needs ‘owner approval’?

When you charter an aircraft, it is technically owned by somebody else. This person will have to give their approval before your booking can be confirmed; If not, you’ll need to consider other options.

Under Part 135, most aircraft are individually owned by a single owner whose average personal usage is approximately 480 hours a year. However, some owners may only fly their aircraft for 200 hours a year, so they may ask a plane management company or operator to charter it for them. The owner maintains the right to approve each trip, or decline a charter flight if they’ll be using the aircraft themselves, so the operator will need their approval for every trip they book.

The broker will ask clients to select one or two preferred aircraft. They’ll then check on their availability with the owners. Typically, operators will already have a schedule in advance. This means they can make an educated guess on when it’ll be available – but they still need the owner to sign off.

A charter broker will typically ask clients to select one or two preferred aircraft. They’ll then check on their availability with the owners. Typically, operators will already have a schedule in advance, so they can make an educated guess on whether that aircraft will be available – but they still need the owner to sign off.

Owners may sometimes turn flights down for reasons other than availability. For example, if they own a large jet, they may reject any requests for flights less than three hours, as those flights put too many cycles on the engines and burn too much fuel.

Sometimes, the operator will own the aircraft outright so no separate owner approval is needed. The flight can be booked as soon as the broker signs the flight booking documents with the operator.

How often is owner approval needed for private jet charter?

Aircraft approval is needed for nearly 90% of aircraft available for charter. Most of the time, it will be approved. Sometimes, the owner will even charter a different plane so that his/her aircraft can go out on charter.

Operators only take serious offers to owners, often requiring a signature first. The operator will check the schedule and create a quote subject to owner approval. Once a client selects the aircraft, the operator will approach the owner for approval.

Why would a private jet owner reject a private jet charter trip in their aircraft?

Here are some of the typical reasons a private jet may not approve a flight:

  • They require the plane themselves
  • They don’t want it used for short flight legs
  • They don’t want it used in a high-risk environment or country
  • They require a minimum payment for the trip

Operators may be able to negotiate a lower price with the owner. This is especially true if the owner has an empty leg journey to their current destination.

All trips must meet the owner’s pricing. Regular flights often have a required hourly rate, and any fees lower than this amount will need to be negotiated between the operator and broker, then approved by the owner.

An owner may also place restrictions on use of their aircraft such as no pets, or only a certain number of passengers being allowed onboard. Certain foods and beverages, such as chocolate and wine, may also be banned to help preserve the interior fabrics. Lastly, the owner may also ask for the names of all passengers to ensure the client is reputable, and that the aircraft will be treated well.

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