Air Partner is the latest jet card seller to restructure its program, extending the booking lead time to 72 hours, raising some rates, and imposing a holiday blackout for fixed-rate pricing
U.K.-based Air Partner is advising U.S. clients that the non-peak booking window for both its American and European fixed-rate jet cards is moving from 24 hours to 72 hours, effective on Nov. 6, 2021.
At the same time, it will raise domestic light jet rates to $6,400 per hour, including FET. Midsize jets go to $7,700 per hour. It’s its second rate hike in recent months.
Air Partner’s contract allows it to change fixed-rate pricing with 30 days’ notice. Caribbean and Mexico light and midsize jet rates are now $7,300 and $9,100, respectively.
In an email to customers, the company wrote, “As you may know, the private aviation industry is experiencing unprecedented aircraft availability challenges for private jet flyers. These challenges are the result of both heightened demand and supply chain challenges relating to parts, fuel, and available crew.”
The biggest change, however, is a blackout on using jet card rates. The period spans over 30 days across the Thanksgiving and Festive holiday seasons.
“The note continued, “Until further notice, during the periods from 15-30 November and 16 December to 4 January…standard JetCard bookings will be unavailable. This is an extension of the peak days as noted in the agreement. However, per the JetCard agreement, members may use their funds on account for aircraft charter during Holiday Peak Periods. Availability will not be guaranteed during these Holiday Peak Periods.”
The company, however, said the changes are temporary. “This is exceptional and intended only to last during the Covid related supply shortage,” according to the email.
Air Partner U.S. president David McCown tells Private Jet Card Comparisons, “The reason we’re doing it is not a profitability issue. We don’t want our customers to count on having guaranteed availability. Right now, we are not sure we can find them an aircraft of any size. The choice we wanted to make is to give them a heads up now.”
The Air Partner program is refundable, so JetCard clients could conceivably withdraw funds. However, they can also use them to book on-demand flights under those terms.
McCown said Air Partner, with the fixed-rate blackouts in place, is still taking new customers. He says he is confident they can fulfill flights outside of those high-demand windows.
As we reported in early August, extra flying is moving up maintenance schedules. Parts and labor shortages mean repairs are taking longer. FBOs struggling with the surge in flights are having trouble keeping up. Over the past four weeks, flights to and from Florida are 41% ahead of 2019 levels.