(Updated Nov. 9, 2019) If you are looking for program access to a branded fleet of large-cabin aircraft and are based in the U.S., the options are somewhat limited, although they include the three of the most prominent fleet operators out there with NetJets, Flexjet and VistaJet.
Also of note is Dumont Group, which expects to have a fleet of around 27 Dassault Falcon 2000 aircraft by early next year. In this report, we give you an overview of the current options from each provider.
You might say there are lots of ways to access large-cabin private jets with fixed rates and guaranteed availability. You would be right. There are more than two dozen programs in the Private Jet Card Comparisons database that provide the option.
So why focus on these providers? All four are unique in that they offer a branded fleet, either via direct ownership of the aircraft or a fractional fleet. What this means is the configuration of each aircraft type is pretty much the same.
Since jet cards that sell by cabin size typically only guarantee a minimum number of seats, typically 10 for large-cabin aircraft, if you are traveling with a larger group, you may find yourself running up against the need to get custom quotes.
When you buy into a program with NetJets, Flexjet, VistaJet and Dumont Group, you will know the number of seats in the aircraft type you are buying, which can range up to 18 in the new Global 7500.
Another advantage of branded fleets is standard amenities, for example, Wifi across the aircraft type, so if that’s important you will know you are going to have it.
With NetJets, Flexjet and VistaJet, each offers fixed one-way rates outside of the North America service area, so if you have intercontinental travel needs, for the most part, other programs will require custom quotes.
In fact, VistaJet claims one-way rates, sans ferry fees, for 95% of the globe while with a 25-hour jet card from NetJets on its Gulfstream G450 fleet you can fly on a fixed one-way rate to Europe, again avoiding deadheads.
Another advantage you might find, although it varies, is the daily minimums, in some cases as low as 60 minutes, including taxi time, which is good if you have a lot of short legs such as Los Angeles to Las Vegas or New York to Washington D.C. It’s not uncommon to find two-hour minimums in the large cabin category.
Other reasons to choose a branded company include consistent service standards since you will have a flight attendant. Also, the configurations (NetJets has two layouts for its Challenger 650 fleet) are the same, so if you have your favorite seating area, or want to have your own private stateroom, you know you will get it.
Keep in mind, not all of these companies offer all of their aircraft in jet cards, however, for each type, we’ve highlighted the product categories each provider makes them available.
For more than two decades NetJets has been synonymous with fractional ownership. When Uber was raising money, it used the subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway as an example of the sharing economy’s potential.
In addition to a broad selection of options, NetJets offers leases and jet cards in addition to fractional ownership. It only entered the card membership segment in 2010 when it acquired Marquis Jet Partners, and currently, it only offers large-cabin jet cards on its Falcon 2000 and Gulfstream G450 fleets.
NetJets recently stopped selling the Falcon 2000 in jet cards as it exits its fleet.
NetJets says, “Within a traditional large cabin feel, this private jet offers the flexibility of conference and club seating, making it ideal for work or conversation. The Falcon is perfectly suited for transcontinental and international flights, and boasts an extremely quiet cabin and luxurious comfort for up to to 10 passengers. Plus, catered meals are served by a NetJets flight attendant on every flight.”
Maximum Range: 6:30 hours
NetJets says, “The Challenger 650 is a world-class large-cabin private jet featuring a cabin that is the same width as our flagship Global aircraft—thereby providing maximum comfort and mobility. The Challenger 650 comfortably seats up to 11 passengers and boasts impressive performance and range. A conference table is ideal for holding meetings and getting work done. Or simply relax and enjoy the advanced HD and wireless entertainment. An extended lavatory provides additional luxury and convenience.”
Passengers: 11 (some configurations include clubs seats instead of a divan)
Maximum Range: 8:45 hours
NetJets says, “With a range of almost 5,000 statute miles, the Gulfstream G450 is specifically designed for traveling long distances in comfort and safety. Up to 14 passengers fly in a spacious, state-of-the-art cabin with a full-service galley and ample baggage capacity, allowing everyone to bring what they need for an extended trip. A NetJets flight attendant is on board every flight to guarantee your comfort.”
Maximum Range: 9:45 hours
NetJets says, “Powerful and luxurious, the Global 5000 handles transatlantic trips with time-saving ease. And with superior short-field performance, it completes flights that others in its category cannot. Signature features include a full-service forward galley and a private stateroom for optimal privacy. With an extremely large “living room” cabin, forward and aft lavatories, tons of natural light, and an extra-wide aisle, Owners enjoy noticeably generous room and comfort. The Global 5000, along with the Global 6000, is also known for having the lowest cabin altitude in the fleet, which means you land feeling more relaxed and refreshed.”
Maximum Range: 11:45 hours
NetJets says, “The Global 6000 is a best-in-class jet with exceptional transpacific capabilities. It perfectly balances comfort, speed, and range to accommodate the needs of the most demanding traveler. The onboard flight attendant serves you from a full-service galley and separate crew area, creating a private environment. The extremely quiet cabin also features a private stateroom, conducive to both work sessions and relaxation, and the largest baggage compartment in the fleet that’s accessible inflight. Because of the extraordinary nature of this aircraft, it has become a fast favorite among corporations and individuals with travel needs that span the globe.”
Maximum Range: 13:30 hours
NetJets says, “The Global 7500 is Bombardier’s newest and largest ultra-long-range aircraft. It provides a more expansive range than any other aircraft in the NetJets fleet. The 7,500-nautical-mile range brings most of the globe within reach, with non-stop capability from New York to Johannesburg. And, with a high-speed cruise of Mach 0.90, the Global 7500 can connect continents with speed.”
While NetJets hasn’t released the cabin configuration, it hints seating for up to 18 and the promise of a private stateroom.
Maximum Range: 16:00 hours and 7,500 nautical miles
Flexjet is part of Directional Aviation. Other companies in the group include jet card broker Sentient Jet, online charter broker PrivateFly which recently absorbed Skyjet and continues with its pay-as-you-go jet card, and Nextant Aerospace, which re-manufacturers aircraft.
The company has been moving into larger, long-range aircraft with a billion-dollar order from Gulfstream covering the G650 and G500. Its Red Label fleet, which includes all large-cabin aircraft, includes flight crews dedicated to a specific tail and a series of stylized interiors that are designed to provide an experience closer to full ownership.
Flexjet offers its large-cabin fleet via fractional ownership, leases and corporate solutions, customized programs that bridge the gap with jet cards with contracts as short as 24 months. While Flexjet does sell jet cards on its Challenger 350 and Phenom 300 fleet, it doesn’t offer card memberships on its large-cabin aircraft.
Most recently, Flexjet launched a share program on its G650s using a days-based formula, giving you 75 days for a quarter share. You can read our full analysis here.
Flexjet says, “Combining an impressive maximum range with a custom, Flexjet-designed interior, this jet provides an unparalleled travel experience. Advanced sound suppression in the G450 improves cabin sound levels by 18 percent over its predecessor and signature oval windows provide a stunning view of the surrounding landscape.”
Maximum Range: 9:45 hours
Flexjet says, “With space to work, relax or recharge, the all-new wide-cabin G500 is designed to be as accommodating and functional as your home or office. Utilize state-of-the-art communications systems, enjoy high-definition video and audio technology and lose yourself in berthable seats and wide divans. Large panoramic windows welcome light into the cabin while acoustical advancements produce a quiet, soothing experience.”
Passengers: 13 passengers
Maximum Range: 5,000 statute miles
Flexjet says, “Within the Gulfstream G650, there are a host of features and amenities that are certain to satisfy even the most discerning of travelers. However, there is one notable absence — noise. Advanced sound suppression techniques improve the cabin experience by keeping engine noise where it belongs―outside the aircraft. The cabin lets in maximum natural light and is pressurized to a very low altitude so you and your guests arrive refreshed and alert.”
Passengers: 15 passengers
Maximum Range: 8,056 statute miles
Flexjet says, “As the most accomplished and luxurious business jet ever brought to market, the Global Express masterfully combines space, luxury and technology to provide a truly unique experience. Cameras mounted throughout the exterior give you breathtaking views while in flight. On longer, international flights, turn the main couch into a full bed and rest easier knowing a Flight Engineer is on board should a situation arise. With unparalleled performance of 12-hour-plus flight capabilities, your destinations are limitless. Whether you are flying to an exotic getaway to relax or a business meeting in Dubai, the world becomes a bit smaller when you have the power of infinite possibilities.”
Passengers: 12 passengers
Maximum Range: 6,885 statute miles
VistaJet has been in the news quite a bit in the past six months, first buying U.S. private jet operator and charter broker XOJET and more recently announcing an agreement to acquire JetSmarter, which in addition to its troubled seat-sharing endeavors, has developed leading-edge technology and app for on-demand charter.
The VistaJet pitch continues to be asset-light access to a high-quality fleet of large cabin and ultra-long-haul jets, and it has said it will be adding the Global 7500.
You can access the fleet on-demand, and also via its Program, which generally requires a minimum of 50 hours per year and a three-year commitment, although you can split up payments.
What VistaJet says, “An impressive intercontinental business jet with outstanding mission flexibility, the Challenger 605 provides corporate and government leaders with the widest cabin in its category, enhancing personal productivity and performance.”
Passenger Capacity: 12
Maximum Range: 8:00 hours or 3,995 nautical miles
VistaJet says, “With one of the largest, most productive and comfortable corporate cabins available, it is identical in size to the Global 6000 cabin, with the range and hourly rate of a much smaller jet.”
Maximum Range: 6:30 hours or 2,807 nautical miles
VistaJet says, “Jet Aviation Flight Services operate and manage the U.S. based fleet of Global 5000 aircraft, available to customers who would like to arrange premium point-to-point travel from and within the United States.”
Passengers: 13 passengers
Maximum Range: 11:00 hours or 5,200 nautical miles
VistaJet says, “The Global 6000 is considered the most advanced and accomplished long-range premium aircraft. The unique combination of light and space provides the ultimate en route productivity environment.”
Maximum Range: 13:00 hours or 5,997 nautical miles
VistaJet announced the first of six Global 7500s to enter its fleet in 2020 will arrive in January and is now available for bookings.
The company says, “Vista Lease will hold several options for Global 7500 aircraft, as well as having the capitalization to act as principal buyer in the pre-owned segment and then offer its inventory for lease directly to its customers, who seek a dedicated aircraft solution.”
Passengers: 14; Sleeps 8
Maximum Range: 7,700 nautical miles
Delaware-based Dumont Group is a new player, having moved from the parts side of the business now into aircraft management, charter, and jet cards. It is buying up Falcon 2000s as they exit the NetJets fleet, then refurbishing the interiors to give them a real luxury feel. The goal is to have 27 by early next year.
First-time customers can buy in starting with just 15 hours at $9,000 per hour, excluding the 7.5% Federal Excise Tax giving Dumont one of the best large cabin values in the market. If you buy 50 or more hours, surcharge to the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, and Hawaii is reduced to 5% from 15%. The company also has options if you want to buy for tax purposes, and then earn back via charter revenues while having access to the fleet.
Maximum Range: 3,120 nautical miles