Not since the short-lived existence of Zetta Jet has there been a player that looked like it might be able to challenge NetJets and VistaJet on the world stage, at least when it comes to offering an ultra-long-haul, fixed-rate, guaranteed availability program.
While NetJets features the Gulfstream G450, which has a range of around 4,000 nautical miles in its U.S. Marquis Jet membership program, its Bombardier Global 5000s and 6000s are only offered via fractional share purchase or lease. That means a commitment of three to five years.
|Private Jet Type||NetJets||VistaJet||Qatar Executive||Range (nm)|
|Bombardier Global XRS||0||0||1||6,055|
|Bombardier Global 5000||14||7||3||5,200|
|Bombardier Global 6000||24||29||0||6,000|
|Bombardier Global 7500||0||1||0||7,700|
|Ultra-Long Haul Fleet*||38||37||16|
VistaJets competes with its version of a jet card, branded as the Program. Members get fixed rates, guaranteed availability, and a global service area without repositioning fees. It can be customized to fit your needs. The Program typically requires a three-year engagement with at least 50 hours per year, although even this point is flexible.
Like VistaJet’s offering, The Diamond Agreement is based on customization, making it a bit difficult to compare. However, the biggest difference is the ability to access ultra-long-range aircraft like its Gulfstream G650ER, which can fly 15 hours nonstop, with just a 50-hour commitment. What’s more, your unused balance is refundable. That includes if your travel needs change, or you just change your mind.
Mark Hardman, acting executive vice president of Qatar Executive, says the idea is to combine the flexibility of ad hoc charter where you only commit on a trip-by-trip basis with that warm, cozy feeling of knowing how much you will spend per flight hour, not worrying about ferry fees, deicing, or service recovery.
Hardman says his new program isn’t directly competing with NetJets and VistaJet. “In terms of true competitors, I don’t think there are any, because it’s unique,” he tells Private Jet Card Comparisons.
The 34-year business aviation veteran says leads are coming from current customers, their referrals, and inquiries from first-time private aviation users, perhaps a benefit of Qatar Airways’ high brand awareness outside the rarified world of private jets.
Still, if you are a global traveler who wants one-way, fixed-pricing, and guaranteed availability on aircraft capable of 12+ hour nonstop flights, you will likely be talking to all three.
While declining to quote numbers, Hardman said Qatar Executive is offering “industry-leading pricing.” Neither NetJets nor VistaJet publishes rates, either.
That said, The Diamond Agreement would likely be a second program for most U.S. and even European based fliers.
|Minimum Billing||U.S. Domestic Flights||Minimum Call-Out|
|Qatar Executive||240 |
|NetJets||0 to 60 |
|Yes||4 to 24 hours|
|VistaJet||60 to 180 |
|Yes||24 to 48 hours|
Since there is no U.S. registered aircraft, Qatar Executive can only offer international flights. Hardman does say you can use your funds for off-fleet charters it will arrange.
It’s also notable VistaJet offers super-midsize (the Challenger 350) and large cabin aircraft (Challenger 605 and 850) while NetJets has a full line-up, starting with the Embraer Phenom 300.
Conversely, Qatar’s Diamond Agreement offer is purely for those of you who need to go the distance. The Global Express XRS and G500 are the entry point with a listed range of 5,200 nautical miles.
In addition to global gateways like Paris and Geneva, and exotic locales like the Maldives, Hardman says the distinctive gray liveries are frequent visitors to Los Angeles, New York, Miami, San Francisco, and Honolulu
There is a four-hour minimum, although Hardman, says there is some flexibility. “It’s simplified private jet travel. It’s bespoke.” Pets and smoking are allowed. WiFi is included as is taxi time, so the approach is not to nickel and dime customers.
After an initial conversation, Qatar Executive gives you a proposal. If you are doing roundtrips that can utilize the same aircraft and crew, your pricing will reflect that efficiency. If you don’t need to fly to expensive airports, again, that is taken into account.
There is no joining fee and no peak days or blackouts. Call-out is 72 hours, something Hardman says is necessary to secure permissions, particularly these days,
At the end of each 12-month period, members can decide whether or not they want to roll unused monies into a new contract or get refunded.
Using the G650ER, you can fly nonstop westbound from Moscow or Doha to Los Angeles or even Honolulu, according to Gulfstream’s range map. From North America, you can reach anywhere in deep South America, as well as South Africa and Southeast Asia.
Prior to its bankruptcy, plans had been in the works for JetSuite to operates some of Qatar Executive’s G500s, registered with N-tail numbers, so it could offer domestic U.S. flights. Before buying a minority interest in XOJET Aviation, Malta-based VistaJet had outsourced its U.S. tails to Jet Aviation.
Hardman declined to discuss future aspirations for the operator, except to point to Qatar Airways’ global outlook. The airline holds stakes in IAG, parent of British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, and had invested in JetSuite, and its still flying sister JSX.
The private jet division benefits from Qatar Airways’ massive worldwide infrastructure to support its floating fleet, Hardman said. According to its 2019 Annual Report, there were 116 passenger jets ranging from the Airbus A320 to the A380, and its cargo division ranked second largest in the world.
In terms of ultra-long-range fleet, those aircraft with a range of over 5,000 nautical miles, both NetJets (with 38 private jets) and VistaJet (with 37), still are much larger than Qatar Executive, which currently has 16 ultra-long-range jets (see chart above).
Last year during NBAA-BACE, Qatar Executive was announced as the launch customer for the Gulfstream G700. In July 2019, Qatar placed a billion-dollar order for 14 G650ERs and four G500s. At that point, it already had six G650ERs and four G500s in its fleet.