Approachable Access: Private Jet Charter vs. Private Jet Lease
September 1, 2022
The myriad of access methods for private jet travel may seem vast, but they all boil down to a few fundamental traits. Some programs offer a “pay as you go” solution, while others require a long-term commitment and upfront costs. Any program that offers “fly and forget” convenience comes with a price, as does whole or fractional ownership—control over the aircraft, including guaranteed access and scheduling priority, increases as ownership stakes or levels ascend.
In a charter-based model, your travel needs are subject to the supply and demand dynamics of an ever-changing market, which often includes your aircraft and crew. Additionally, it must be noted that due to high demand and limited fleet sizes, aspects such as safety, reliability, and availability – to say nothing of flexibility – can vary with chartered flights. Jet cards or jet memberships would also fall into this category.
On the other hand, private jet leasing minimizes your exposure to market demands. It increases your safety, reliability, and availability thresholds while offering a less capital-intensive solution to outright private aircraft ownership.
In a head-to-head comparison, which program truly offers the convenience and flexibility that so many require within private travel?
What is a Private Jet Charter?
Many industries and businesses benefit from an on-demand charter model as a supplement to commercial or other private modes of travel because of its flexibility and efficiency. For example, real-estate developers and other acquisition-minded businesses take advantage of the jet charter model by visiting multiple destinations in just one day.
Charter service through an on-demand jet broker is a terrific option for unscheduled, one-off, or specific destination purposes. Many on-demand charter companies will help prospective buyers schedule trips, privately source jets from brokers, and even handle servicing or crew logistics. This option may also take the form of a jet card program. Selecting your private plane, specific travel dates, times, and airports are all client-made decisions.
What is a Private Jet Lease?
Leasing a private jet works much of the same way fractional ownership does; however, with one key exception – personal jet leases do not require an initial capital outlay. However, as stated above, Owners are still responsible for a standard deposit.
Those who want to lease a private jet still pay a monthly management fee and occupied hourly rate, in addition to a deposit and monthly lease payment. Some find this option to be more approachable when identifying the commitment level that best suits them.
However, with a private jet lease, schedule flexibility, call-out time, and aircraft selection may be limited in spots. If you are looking for a personal jet program, a jet lease may be ideal for Owners who:
- Anticipate flying 50 or more hours per year
- Require a greater degree of flexibility in their travel plans
- Wish to avoid a large capital deployment
Leasing a jet provides access to many different aircraft types and sizes – and your experience will be one step closer to whole aircraft ownership than your jet charter experience. Some additional benefits:
- No upfront cost of owning an asset
- No exposure to depreciation risks
While you can classify your private aviation leases as a “travel expense” for tax purposes, you cannot designate it as an “asset” like whole and fractional aircraft Owners can. Your tax advisor can provide more advice.
Private jet leasing is also a great way to test out aircraft ownership before making the total investment. Because lessors do not own the jet, they do not have to deal with depreciation or reselling a plane if they decide to upgrade to a new model.
How much to lease a private jet?
The pricing components of a private jet lease are nearly identical to that of fractional ownership, but with one key difference. There is no initial capital outlay required, which makes the annual cost of leasing a jet much more approachable for some travelers. Private jet lease models also require a monthly lease payment. This premium rate can result in a higher all-in annual cost of operation per hour.
Your selected private jet provider is also a significant decision in your private travel journey and is not to be understated. At Flexjet, we rely on our decades of experience, our global fleet of world-class aircraft, and our passion for genuinely elite travel to guide the creation of each program and its offerings.