Flying High | Take to the Air with Private Jet Travel
Photo Courtesy of Pinnacle Aviation
Time is money. The journey is more important than the destination. Life is to be enjoyed, not endured.
It’s no wonder those time-honored words prove to be sage advice in our busy, multi-tasking, on-the-go lifestyles of today. As commercial air travel has become more tedious and unpleasant over the years, flying private has evolved into a non-negotiable must for many. While it’s undoubtedly more expensive, the benefits that private air travel offers often outweigh the cost. After all, living well comes down to a life filled with enjoyable experiences.
Privacy and convenience rank high. When you can drive right to the aircraft, board without security checks and tiresome TSA restrictions, and hand-pick your travel companions; for many, there is no other option. Not only do you avoid crowded airports and cramped airplanes, you enjoy the ultimate in flexibility for scheduling travel around your needs and desires. Think cushy seats, plenty of legroom, an attentive flight crew – and perhaps best of all – your four-legged family member is always welcome!
Today, there are many choices for private jet travel that differ greatly based on your needs and budget. Everyone’s travel requirements vary, so it’s really just a matter of determining what fits with your flying frequency and desired commitment level.
While certainly the most expensive option, the purchase and maintenance of your own aircraft is the preferred choice by many. The aircraft itself can range from under $1 million for a light jet up to $70 million for a heavy workhorse Boeing 757. A typical mid-size jet seating seven to nine passengers may require a $3 million investment. Not only will there be the initial cost of the aircraft, but an owner will incur additional costs such as aircraft maintenance, flight crew, hangar fees, fuel charges and airport fees.
Pinnacle Aviation, headquartered right here in Scottsdale, is celebrating their 30th year as the premier solution provider for aircraft owners. Clients count on Pinnacle Aviation’s fastidious reputation of excellence for every aspect of ownership. From acquisition to full aircraft management, Pinnacle Aviation provides white glove service with crew staffing, scheduled maintenance, charter management – even full accounting and insurance solutions.
“Our clients find that owning an aircraft is like owning a time machine,” says Founder and President Curt Pavlicek. “It drastically changes people’s capability of what they can do and what they can see. It has the power to make the world small.”
For a company or individual planning to fly over 120 hours a year, full ownership is often the best option for some. “Not only is the advantage of owning a depreciating asset a value from a time and convenience perspective, the recent tax law change allows for a 100% depreciation deduction in the first year,” explains Orin Anderson, Pinnacle Aviation’s Director of Business Development. “And, many owners elect to offset a portion of the costs through chartering their aircraft when not in use.”
Photo Courtesy of Pinnacle Aviation
“Many times, we’ve had owners tell us that owning a jet is the nicest thing they’ve ever done for themselves,” smiles Pavlicek. “It’s a luxury, but it’s also an invaluable business tool. They’d never turn back after owning their own aircraft.”
Sometimes compared to a resort timeshare, fractional jet ownership may be a good option for those that fly frequently but can’t justify full ownership. Sold as a percentage of the value of the aircraft (such as a quarter, an eighth or sixteenth), your share will allow you a particular amount of flying time. A sixteenth share, for instance, typically gives you about 50 hours a year. The upfront investment is substantial and there will be management fees and flight costs on top of that. Some find that the complex contracts and restrictions such as peak period limitations and extra charges for different aircraft types associated with fractional ownership can be off-putting. However, if you fly 50 to 100 hours a year, fractional ownership can be a viable solution.
Similar to fractional ownership, but with much less upfront capital outlay, the jet card option has risen in popularity in the last decade or so. With an initial ownership fee, a jet card gives access to flights at guaranteed rates. For those flying 25 to 50 hours a year, the flexibility and cost savings make the jet card concept very attractive. The concierge-level service and attractive amenities that come with membership are both key features of private jet company, Jet Linx.
Josh Allen is the President for Jet Linx’s Scottsdale base. “Our jet card membership offers both affordable luxury and convenience for our clients,” says Allen. “Many who have outgrown the charter concept choose our service. Membership offers guaranteed jet availability, guaranteed hourly rates and the guaranteed highest standard of safety.”
At Jet Linx, memberships range from $12,500 to $17,000 as a one-time investment. Similar to a debit card, you’ll purchase your hours up front and the cost of your flight will be deducted from your account. Flights themselves are priced based upon the type of aircraft you require and the flight schedule. Flight hours typically range from $3,500 to $5,000+ an hour. “It can be quite affordable if you fill the aircraft,” says Allen. “A round-trip to Vegas, for instance, may cost $9,000. For seven people, that’s comparable to a first-class trip on a commercial airline – but with all the convenience and comforts that private travel affords to our clients.”
Private jet charter is the most common method of non-commercial air travel. With no upfront capital investment required, travelers simply book a specific aircraft for a specific journey. For those flying 1 to 25 hours a year, charter is a highly efficient means offering both freedom and flexibility.
Pinnacle Aviation not only manages aircraft for owners, they’ve built a thriving charter division with a fleet of impeccably maintained aircraft. With flight hours priced at under $2,500 up to $8,500, charter clients are able to book flights for business or leisure. “Charter really is an on-demand service,” says Pavlicek. “With as little as two hours’ notice, we can have an aircraft on the ramp and ready to go.”
When an aircraft is scheduled to fly to a destination without any passengers, filling the flight inexpensively is a win-win for the aircraft owner as well as the travelers. Of course, your options on type of aircraft, destination and flight schedules are limited, but if you’re able to be flexible with your travel plans, this is an inexpensive way to fly private.
A new monthly-membership model is available here in Scottsdale. The Departure Club offers access to empty-leg flights to and from Arizona. With a nominal $200 monthly fee, members can reserve a flight for as little as $700 per flight hour (that’s for the entire plane, not per passenger). Similar to a country club membership, The Departure Club also offers travel events and social get-togethers for its members.
Resources to get you off to a flying start!
Photo Courtesy of Pinnacle Aviation