Chartering Jets & Aircraft; Information Resource Guides
There is no better way to fly than aboard a private aircraft with room and comfort, from your convenient local airport to the local airport nearest your destination, driving right up to your aircraft or using a private FBO (executive terminal). No crowds, lines, hikes, baggage limits or security. Friendly, personal and professional crews welcome you, take your bags and fly “your” aircraft. Watch your crew work up front, from your well-appointed executive cabin, with a galley, lavatory and audio/video entertainment.
With over 14,000 charter aircraft in the U.S. of all sizes and categories – from large luxury jets to small single engine props – operated by more than 4,000 charter companies, chartering an aircraft for a particular flight, for someone unfamiliar with charter, can be a challenge.
About Charter Aircraft and Operators
Charter operators are registered by the U.S. Department of Transportation and awarded an air carrier operating certificate from the FAA permitting them to operate charters which carry paying passengers. Part-135 of the Federal Aviation Regulations governs charters, charter operators, charter aircraft, maintenance, crews and more. Part-135 which governs these On-Demand, or ‘unscheduled’, flights is nearly as demanding as Part-121 which governs ‘scheduled’ flights and air carrier airlines.
Becoming an FAA certificated Air Carrier, or charter operator in this case, is a detailed and lengthy (some say grueling) process, often taking more than a year with extensive documentation, information, testing, as well as live flight testing of aircraft and crew with a designated FAA examiner. Every awarded Part-135 Charter Certificate has Operations Specifications which govern approved aircraft types and models, where charters may operate i.e. over water, international countries, etc., and other maintenance, crew, and operating standards that are approved under the certificate.
Charter operators receive continual oversight and guidance from the FAA through 82 distinct local FAA Flight Standards District Offices (FSDO), and other field and regional offices nationwide. Pilots must undergo and pass extensive recurrent training in their designated aircraft or an approved simulator, typically every 6 months.
The extensive requirements, training and oversight of charter aviation in U.S. has resulted in the safest charter operating environment in the world, with an accident rate comparable to the scheduled airlines. Part-135 On-Demand operations in the U.S. achieved a fatal accident rate of 1 per every 1,428,571 flight hours.
Source: 2009 FAA Aviation Accident Statistics http://www.ntsb.gov/aviation/table1.htm.
A factual summary of Charter Safety Ratings Info, including FAA charter certification and the popular third-party safety ratings programs such as ARG/US Aviation Research Group/US, Wyvern Ltd, and IS-BAO, is part of this website as a free resource.
About The Charter Aircraft
Private aircraft become available for charter typically in two different ways:
- Managed Aircraft. An aircraft owner puts their airplane under management by an aviation company. This company then manages the aircraft- provides maintenance, professional crews and operational support. The company adds it to their FAA Charter Certificate and charters it out when the owner is not using it. Portions of the charter revenue then help to offset the owners’ costs, and pay for the aviation company functions in managing the aircraft.
- Owned Aircraft. An aviation company who is an FAA Part-135 (charter) Certificated Operator (certified Air Carrier) may own their own aircraft that they charter out as their business. They may also sell time on the aircraft, usually in a numbers of flying hours, and they also may use the aircraft for their own business or personal purposes. In essence they are managing their own aircraft for profit. Charter operators may own and charter any number of aircraft. Some own, manage and charter only one aircraft, while others own, manage and charter their own fleet.
About Aircraft Positioning and Costs
Charter quotes generally include all flying time costs required for a charter, including moving, or “positioning”, the aircraft to the departure point or returning it to base after. So for example a charter flight of 2 hours may have 3 or 4 hours flying cost in the quote, to include whatever aircraft positioning it takes for that aircraft and crew to fly the desired trip and return to base. For example, a quote for a flight from Van Nuys, CA to Aspen, CO may include the cost of the aircraft returning to its base at Van Nuys, since those expenses are incurred to fly the requested charter.
In an attempt to minimize these positioning costs, floating fleet operators are relatively new to the charter industry within the past 10 years. They attempt to keep their planes “on the road” and link together point-to-point charters, sometimes called “one-ways”, and which don’t need as much positioning for the one-way flight as a based aircraft. They hope to cover a particular one-way charter with less positioning and thus less cost, being more competitive in the market for that flight.
Air Charter Rates & Pricing
Several factors go into pricing and quoting a charter:
- Base Hourly Rate. All aircraft have a basic hourly rate which applies to all flying time associated with a charter. This is usually the published base rate. Many people, by comparing just those rates, falsely determine which aircraft will be less expensive than others for a charter. In fact, many factors go into quoting a charter and every aircraft operator, and their quoting program, quotes differently. In many cases, an aircraft with a higher hourly rate will have a lower total quote for a charter.
- Fuel Surcharge. Often times the second largest part of a charter quote, this is a differential number that adjusts for fuel price fluctuations. An aircraft’s base hourly rate will remain constant, and the fuel surcharge will fluctuate up or down to accommodate for changes in market fuel prices.
- Airport Fees or Ramp Fees. Most FBO’s charge a fee for using their facility, services, personnel and ramp space. This fee may range from $25 for a small single engine airplane up to several hundred for a large jet. Often FBO’s will give a break or waive the fee if the aircraft purchases a certain amount of fuel from the FBO. In quoting charters, these fees are either included in a total charter cost or separately itemized. Typically the airport itself receives a portion of the receipts from the FBO’s ramp fees and fuel sales, as one of several income sources to pay for airport operation costs.
- Overnight Fees. Often called an RON, for Remain Over Night, this covers the cost of housing the crew and aircraft overnight. The aircraft is charged an overnight fee for its ramp or hangar space, and the crew members need hotel and meals in the overnight location. This fee typically ranges from $300 for a single-pilot small airplane, to $650 for a jet and crew. Larger jets with 3 crew members can be more, up to $1200 per night. International RON’s are usually higher, in the $1,200 – $1,800 range.
- Taxes & Fees. To help pay for the Aviation system services in the U.S., the government imposes an excise tax and segment fees on charters in aircraft weighing more than 6,000 gross weight. This includes most aircraft starting at turboprops and up. The applicable excise tax is 7.5% of the charter amount. Segment Fees are $3.70 for each passenger on each flight leg.
Charter companies quote in different ways. Some quote on an itemized form breaking out each cost item. Others quote one total number that is all-inclusive, or specify what may be additional. Most important is to know what is included in the total quote, and what is not included. Some companies do not include taxes or ramp fees in their quotes in order to present a more enticing number, and then bill those items after the charter.
Comparing only the published hourly charter rates, as in item #1 above, can be misleading. Computer quoting programs are many and varied, and are tuned differently for flight times, airspeeds, taxi times, etc. Some programs add some padding, or extra flight minutes, to cover unexpected extra engine time or headwinds. Published hourly rates are not an apples-to-apples comparison.
Heavy Charter Jets by Location
Midsize Charter Jets by Location
Light Charter Jets by Location
Very Light Charter Jets (VLJ) by Location
Turboprop Charters by Location
|King Air 350i
King Air 300
King Air B200
King Air 200
King Air 100
King Air C90B
King Air 90
Cessna Grand Caravan
Piper Cheyenne 400LS
Piper Cheyenne III
De Havilland -6
Large Capacity Charters
|BBJ Boeing Business Jet
Boeing 737 VIP
Boeing 747 VIP
Boeing 777 VIP
Bombarier CRJ-200 VIP
Dornier 328 Jet
Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia
DHC-6 Twin Otter