These companies launched jet cards and private jet memberships during 2020
Recently, Sentient Jet CEO Andrew Collins told Bloomberg that private jet cards and membership were having a “moment.” Judging by the number of new entrants, the trend is not going unnoticed.
Established providers like Sentient, NetJets, Wheels Up, XO, VistaJet, and others reported record growth in new members. And while airlines saw record losses – estimated at over $35 billion – and some even closed, a slew of new and existing private aviation providers launched jet card and membership offerings last year.
Why? Consumers are searching for ways to reduce exposure to COVID-19 and navigate travel around reduced airline schedules. Flying privately reduces the number of potential coronavirus touchpoints to under 20 from over 700.
Jet Cards launched in 2020
Here’s a roundup of the new entrants in jet cards and private jet memberships we tracked for 2020.
Veteran Justin Sullivan expands his PRIVATE Flite charter brokerage by adding 12 leased Falcon 50s and Falcon 900Bs operated by Chicago Air GVroup under the Ajax Jets banner. The program offers membership tiers with either as available or guaranteed availability. The one-way fixed-rate service area includes Hawaii. It also offers transcontinental rates capped at $27,500 on the Falcon 50 and $37,500 on the Falcon 900B. You can fly anywhere nonstop in the U.S. for $29,500 and $45,000, respectively.
When Kolin Jones graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the novice pilot knew he wanted to stay on the ground. Along with the backing of family office investors and his CFO Calvin Yoon, Amalfi Jets was born as a jet card and on-demand charter broker. Starting at just five hours of flight time, its Amalfi Guarantee Program offers all clients met at the aircraft before every domestic departure.
Elite Jets Charters
Elite Jets Charters has added a guaranteed availability jet card offering on its Embraer Phenom 300 with additional access to its Legacy 500, and Hawker 850XP fleet. The jet card targets fliers who live in Naples, Florida. First-year membership is $15,000 and refundable deposits start at $100,000. Roundtrip discounts range up to 50%.
One of the 10 largest Part 135 charter operators, FlyExclusive was already a major player. However, it was mainly offering third-party flights for brokers and other operators when they went off-fleet. Its Jet Club jet card offers low hourly rates on an owned and leased fleet targeting flyers who can plan a couple of days out. Its two-tiered program has non-peak call-outs of 72 or 96 hours. By doing so, the company says it can keep its flying on-fleet, passing on that efficiency to its members. Deicing is included, and WiFi is guaranteed. Founded in 2014, it’s the second dance for owner Jim Segrave who sold Segrave Aviation to Delta Air Lines in 2010 as the foundation for expanding Delta Private Jets.
When Directional Aviation launched FXAIR in the middle of a pandemic, the owner of Flexjet, Sentient Jet, and PrivateFly raised a few eyebrows. Having booked over 4,000 flights in its first six months, fast-tracking the brokerages launch apparently paid off. Focused on “premium charters,” in addition to vetted third-party operators, it is selling time on Challenger 300 and Global Express private jets flown by Flexjet but retired from its fractional fleet. Its Aviator membership provides late cancelation guarantees and fixed trans-continental rates in addition to dynamic pricing. There’s also an escrow account option.
Another Part 135 operator launching its own jet card program is Dallas-based Leviate Air Group. Its FlyNext membership comes in 10, 25, and 50-hour increments. It offers fixed one-way rates across all four major cabin categories – light, midsize, super-midsize, and large. We expect to have full data integrated into our jet card comparison database in the next week, so more to come.
Directional Aviation launched its first fixed-rate jet card in Europe via its PrivateFly unit. Like FXAIR, it offers both flights on company aircraft and vetted third-party brokers. It offers light, midsize, and large cabin options starting at 25 hours. Members can fly in the U.S. using the published rates of sister Sentient Jet.
A longtime key player in large-cabin private jet charters, the unit of Qatar Airways, Qatar Executive jumped into jet cards in 2020. Starting at 50 hours, The Diamond Agreement offers aircraft specific options include the Gulfstream G650 and G500, plus Bombardier’s Global XRS and Global 5000.
Silver Air may be best known for its management of Tony Robbins’ Boeing Business Jet. The California-based private jet management company late last year soft-launched a three-tiered jet card program. Besides offering customized programs and dynamic pricing, its Flight Club Secure offering provides fixed-one-way rates and includes Hawaii in the primary service area. From what we’ve been told, some elements seem quite innovative. Of course, the devil is in the details, so we’ll report on this as we learn more.
2021 Jet Cards and Memberships
Since the Great Recession, the number of jet card providers has more than doubled. In some cases, it is existing brokers and operators adding jet cards or memberships. A bridge between on-demand charter and fractional and full ownership, we expect to see another half dozen jet card launches in 2021 – at least. Of course, it’s not about the glossy brochures and slick websites. Where the rubber hits the road is what’s in the contract. Details about service areas, daily minimums, peak days, and other policies are what counts. It’s easy to make mistakes. Doing the proper research before buying will save you agita afterward.