Tradewind Aviation, an operator of both private charter and by-the-seat semiprivate charter flights, is launching its first jet card program under the name Goodspeed across its fleet of 23 Pilatus PC-12 aircraft.
Targeting business travelers hopping from one meeting to the next and leisure travelers headed for vacation homes or weekend getaways, and families with children participating in traveling sports leagues, Goodspeed offers fixed-rate, one-way pricing so you don’t pay for repositioning flights.
Tradewind is offering three levels on its new jet card, starting at 10 hours at $4,100 per hour, 25 hours at $3,950 per hour, and 40 hours at $3,800 per hour. Rates include all airport fees for any routing within Tradewind’s service regions in the Northeast U.S. and Caribbean, which is 300 nautical miles from Westchester Airport (HPN) and San Juan International Airport (SJU). Federal Excise Tax and applicable international taxes that apply to Caribbean flights are not included.
Time is calculated by estimated block time plus 12 minutes of taxi time per segment. The minimum charge is 60 minutes, including taxi time, and there is a high-density charge of $250 for trips originating or ending at Class B Airports. There are no peak-day surcharges or blackout dates. There is a 30% discount for qualifying single day roundtrips.
Goodspeed does not provide guaranteed availability, so it is probably best for those of you who can book in advance. There is no penalty if canceled outside of 24 hours and 100% charge if canceled within 24 hours.
The Tradewind jet card offers a full refund with 30 days’ notice and payment is by check or wire, so credit cards. The contract term is one year. Additional charges may include after hours fees, non-preferred FBO, catering, cleaning, de-icing, and ground transportation. Tradewind says it will be keeping all flying on its fleet.
“Simplifying air travel has always been a part of our DNA,” said David Zipkin, co-founder and vice president of Tradewind Aviation. “With the Goodspeed program, we’re able to take a unique approach on private air charter service and offer our loyal clients something different at the most attractive fare.”
Additional cardholder perks include a discount of 10% on all Tradewind scheduled shuttle routes and 5% on Tradewind Citation Jet on-demand charters throughout North America.
Current shuttle routes include Westchester County Airport in White Plains, New York to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket and throughout the Caribbean including St. Barths, Anguilla, San Juan, Antigua, and St. Thomas. The company was founded in 2001.
Both Nicholas Air and OneFlight International offer jet cards using the Pilatus PC-12 while PlaneSense offers the popular turboprop for leases and fractional shares.
The Nicholas Air PC-12 program pricing ranges from $4,490 per hour at a $500,000 deposit on its Rise Jet Card to $4,980 per hour based on 15 hours on the Blue Jet Card, both excluding FET.
Denver-based jet card broker OneFlight pricing, including FET and membership fees, ranges from $3,637 for 100 hours to $4,632 at 25 hours.
With its new program, Tradewind will also be going against the leader in turboprop jet cards Wheels Up with its fleet of over 80 King Air 350i. The Wheels Up program includes $18,000 joining fees in the first year and is priced at $4,695 per hour, excluding FET.
Tradewind Aviation has a good reputation in the industry. In addition to operating one of the very few by-the-seat shared private flight services that have proven successful, in the past, it served as an operator for shuttles for JetSmarter and Surf Air in Texas.
The PC-12 is also a popular aircraft, and good for short flights and short runways. The 60-minute minimum inclusive of the taxi time is the same as the other turboprop programs mentioned and better than others which in some cases have a higher segment and daily minimums.
The 10-hour entry point is a nice place to start as for many fliers it probably represents about five roundtrips and the pricing is attractive.
The 30% same-day roundtrip discount would bring your hourly rate down to $2,660 at its 40-hours tier. We like that a lot!
Of course, the potential drawback is not having guaranteed availability. However, Zipkin sees that as a strength.
“The primary reason (not to have guaranteed availability) is to keep it in the fleet,” he says, noting, “Most fleet cards are going to the outside market and going off-fleet, and then you have varying quality and consistency. We don’t want to put our customers on other planes.”
Zipkin says if you are a late planner who is looking to fly in the Northeast during the summer on Fridays at 6 pm, the program might not be the best choice, but otherwise doesn’t believe availability will be an issue. He says it’s also why they are offering the refund option, so if somebody joins and has availability issues, they can get their money back.
Zipkin says once you book, your departure time is confirmed. Many programs have the ability to shift your timing three hours in either direction during peak days.
Overall, Goodspeed should be a popular option to explore, both for its unique Caribbean service area and certainly for folks who fly short hops in the Northeast.
The generous same-day roundtrip discount should be of strong interest to business travelers, and also those of you who want to visit your university to catch a sporting event, such as a fall football game.
We’ll be adding the Tradewind program to our database shortly. In the meantime, you can compare over a dozen turboprop jet cards and more than 250 programs by subscribing.