From full and fractional ownership to jet cards and charter, how do private aviation options compare?

Changes in the private aviation market have blurred the lines between various solutions.

By Doug Gollan, April 8, 2018

Changes in the private aviation market have blurred the lines between various solutions


Figuring out the best solution for private aviation isn’t necessarily easy or straightforward. It’s estimated up to 50% of users have multiple solutions, which makes sense. Think about owning a jet and using it for business, but you need to get your family to join you for the weekend at your vacation home when coming from a different direction. The likely solution is going to be on-demand charter or jet cards. Making it more complicated, the breadth of various solutions has been changing. 


The rule of thumb used to be up to 25 hours per year and you should charter, even if it is generally time-consuming on a trip-by-trip basis. From 25 to 50 hours, buy a jet card, and from 50 to 400 flight hours, fractional ownership made the most sense and above that, own your own aircraft. Then came the 2008 Great Recession. With the price of used jets falling and the overall trend towards a rental economy – from Airbnb to Rent the Runway – it changed the way users of private aviation thought about the market. While the number of manufacturers, new deliveries of jets and fractional share providers have all decreased, the number of jet card sellers has more than doubled and charter activity (Part 135) showed the strongest recovery. In other words, as the market bounced back, the trend was towards renting instead of buying. Today, there are over 250 jet card programs from more than 35 providers for you to consider, and you can find off-the-rack jet card solutions starting at 10 hours and going up to 100 hours. In fact, some jet cards have a membership fee, then there are pay as you go programs, meaning the joining expense is under $20,000.


What’s the best private aviation solution?


The below chart from Deloitte provides a top line overview, comparing full ownership, fractional ownership, join ownership, chartering and jet cards.


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To compare private jet cards, Private Jet Card Comparisons has done the work for you, comparing over 250 programs by over 65 variables, all in easy-to-use spreadsheets available for paid subscribers here.

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