The subsidiary of General Dynamics and sister to Gulfstream is involved in many aspects of business aviation
When you think about jet cards, you’re forgiven if you didn’t have Jet Aviation on your list. In fact, you would be hard pressed to even find a mention of jet cards on the Jet Aviation website. To make it easy, here is the link, but I suggest you read on because there is only limited information on its site. Perhaps it’s fair then to call its Privileged Travel Jet Card a well-kept secret.
Why doesn’t Jet Aviation promote its jet cards on its own website a bit more aggressively?
It could be because, in the scheme of things, jet cards are a small sliver of the company which traces its history to 1967 and since 2008 has been a sister company to Gulfstream, both wholly owned subsidiaries of General Dynamics, which has annual sales of over $30 billion. Jet Aviation’s tentacles in business aviation span across FBOs, Maintenance, Completions, Staffing, Aircraft Management (it has 161 private jets in the U.S.), Aircraft Sales, and Charter, which is the umbrella for jet cards.
As a subsidiary of a publicly traded company, Jet Aviation doesn’t provide a lot of numbers, although we do know General Dynamics posted a combined operating profit of over $12 billion from 2014 through 2016. We also know that combined Gulfstream and Jet Aviation last year posted $8.3 billion in sales, and Jet Aviation worldwide has 4,500 employees. We mention the above in light of the recent Zetta Jet bankruptcy, we’ve heard from a few readers asking about financial stability. So, although Jet Aviation doesn’t provide an escrow account option (about 50% of the programs we’ve analyzed do), one of the few shortcomings of its jet card, you are dealing with global, blue chip company.
In terms of its jet cards, there are three programs – Light Jets, Midsize Jets and Large Jets, which can each be bought in increments of 10, 25, 50 or 100 hours, so a total of 12 options. Light Jet hourly rates vary from $4,890 (100 hours) to $5,100 (10 hours) plus 7.5% FET. Midsize Jets are priced from $6,580 to $6,950 per hour plus FET. Large Jet hourly pricing ranges from $10,680 to $11,250 plus FET. There is no CPI escalator. Fuel Surcharge is $400 per hour (Light), $550 (Mid) and $750 (Large). Taxi time is a standard 12 minutes per segment and there are no one-way surcharges.
Two highlights of the Jet Aviation jet card program is the 40% roundtrip discount and the 1.2-hour segment minimum on Heavy Jets (some programs have segment minimums as high as 2-3 hours). Round trip bonus applies when the aircraft leaves and arrives into the same destination and time meets or exceeds two hours of daily minimums essentially meaning same day and next day returns.
There is no Peak Day surcharge, something we really like (We’ve seen them as high as 40%), and 25 peak days, pretty much middle of the pack (some programs have as many as 58). Peak lead-time for reservations at seven days is on the long side, but again no surcharge, so a fair tradeoff if you can plan in advance. The regular call-out is 10 hours, which ensures Jet Aviation can be assured the crew sourced have the FAA mandated minimum 10 hours of rest. De-icing is extra.
Privileged Travel jet cards have guaranteed availability, hours never expire and your deposit is fully refundable (again, a good trade-off since there is no escrow). Don Haloburdo, a Jet Aviation Vice President and General Manager, tells Private Jet Card Comparisons, the ability to request unused funds back at any time for any reason underscores the company’s commitment as a high-quality provider that is willing to put its money where its mouth is on every flight. “We don’t want to hold a customer hostage (with a non-refundable deposit),” says Haloburdo. Aircraft for its programs are sourced from its managed fleet, which is all IS-BAO, and a select group of operators, that are all ARG/US Platinum and Wyvern Wingman.
WiFi isn’t guaranteed, but Haloburdo says Jet Aviation takes customer preferences seriously, so will work to source aircraft with WiFi if that’s important to you. In terms of pets, Haloburdo says small pets are acceptable. At the end of the day, the owner of a charter aircraft has final say on who charters it and any restrictions in terms of pets. He says Jet Aviation focuses on top end aircraft “and if we came to the owner and said there were three Great Danes that were going to be running through the cabin, the owner would say no.” With proper paperwork and a flight attendant as necessary, there are no minimum age requirements for unaccompanied minors.
One area of the program Haloburdo says he is reviewing would be to allow multiple same time aircraft use, something we think is a helpful feature for companies and families. We would like to see Jet Aviation promote its programs a bit more aggressively, at least on its own website, as it has a number of very attractive features from what is considered a very well run company. Since Haloburdo says it has nearly a 100% renewal rate with jet card customers, there seems to be plenty of upside.