As private jet travel attracts price-sensitive newcomers, illegal charters with unqualified pilots and aircraft are creating new dangers
“We’ve just got done with a case..The PIC (Pilot-in-Charge) was not typed in the aircraft and the SIC (Second Officer-in-Charge) was a student pilot with less than 50 hours. That’s one of the most unsafe things I’ve seen. This stuff goes on. It happens.”
– FAA Inspector
Back in 2016, I was visiting the headquarters of Jet Linx Aviation in Omaha, Nebraska. Walking with its CEO Jamie Walker between a series of meetings, he suggested I write about illegal charters. He said it was a subject he didn’t think was getting enough attention.
The recent JetLux indictment alleging over $2 million in credit card fraud may have been enabled by bargain hunting customers
Private jet charter brokers are often harangued for not having to disclose their mark-ups. The assertion is they are charging whatever the market will support, and savvy customers can negotiate better deals.
Several websites have launched in recent years connecting consumers directly with jet operators, ostensibly cutting out the middleman or at least the commissions. They claim to offer wholesale pricing making money via membership fees.
Of course, if you use them, you need to be experienced enough to know what questions you should be asking the operators to ferret out the flowers from the weeds.