The answer is sometimes, and yes you can save money, but you need to be flexible
By various estimates, 30% to 50% of the private jet charter fleet flies empty. Why? Unlike airlines which schedule aircraft and then sell seats knowing at all times where planes are supposed to be and how many people are booked to be flying, in private aviation, the jets are waiting to go and pick up passengers willing to pay as much as $15,000 per hour to fly in them. In terms of structure, it’s as different as chalk and cheese.
The move comes as Wheels Up, VistaJet, JetSmarter, JetSuite and Victor have all announced new funding to power expansion
U.S.-based Bird Dog Jet has been acquired by U.K. PrivateFly, according to an email from the latter. “I wanted to share some exciting news with you about our continued expansion. 2017 has been a record-breaking year for us, showing another plus 50% growth rate. We’ve been busy arranging more flights, for more customers, than ever before. And I’m now delighted to be able to announce PrivateFly’s takeover of Bird Dog Jet, a US charter broker. They will join our existing US team based in Fort Lauderdale, to enable us to fly more clients within North America, the Caribbean and further afield,” wrote Adam Twidell, CEO of PrivateFly in an email to customers.
Skyjet Explorer will compete in the private jet Membership segment, including Wheels Up, JetSmarter and XOJET
Choices, choices, choices. In the private jet card and membership sector, the diversity of offers continues to grow. Directional Aviation yesterday announced it is expanding its coverage of the private aviation travel market by introducing its first pay-as-you-fly membership program. The company, which owns Flexjet, Sentient Jet and Skyjet is using the latter to introduce the new product, billed as Skyjet Explorer. Flexjet sells fractional ownership shares and leases, plus jet cards; Sentient focuses exclusively on jet cards and until now Skyjet had been an on-demand charter provider.
The “all you can fly” private jet membership airline is trying to appeal to business travelers
Surf Air in Europe took flight at the beginning of the summer with leisure routes from Luton Airport outside London to Ibiza and Cannes. Then last month it launched Zurich, albeit two roundtrips per week. Now, the carrier says beginning November 13 it will increase its Luton-Zurich roundtrips to daily on the weekdays. The new schedule better supports Surf Air’s appeal to business travelers.
JetClass, JetSmarter, Surf Air and soon, possibly Wheels Up, are trying to bridge the gap between commercial airlines and full private jet charter in Europe
Another private jet like shuttle service says it is making inroads in European’s aviation market. JetClass, which is a “non-subscription” service has been offering travelers the opportunities to buy single seats on shared private jets for as little as EUR 290 since the beginning of the summer. JetClass comes from Wagas Ali and Vladislav Zenov who founded online private jet broker CharterScanner.
The “all you can fly” private aviation operator is offering a combined U.S. – Europe membership.
Surf Air’s European operation, which launched earlier this summer with flights from London’s Luton Airport to Ibiza, Cannes and now Zurich, is offering free flights to top-tier frequent fliers in the programs of other European airlines.
Wheels Up Joins VistaJet, JetSuite, Victor and Jet Smarter in raising money to fund ambitious expansion plans
Ka-ching. Jet card membership seller Wheels Up said earlier today it had completed an equity capital raise of $117.5 million. The money comes less than four months after the company said it had received a $90 million aircraft financing facility from KKR. Wheels Up said AccorFidelity Management & Research Company and funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. led this current round and were joined by existing investor, NEA as well as new institutional investors. The company initially set out to raise $100 million but agreed to upsize the offering based on significant investor demand, according to a press release. Wheels Up is now valued at close to $700 million, with an enterprise value north of $1 billion, again according to the company.