By James D. Butler, Shaircraft Solutions, LLC
In a previous article, “Fly Privately” (May/June 2010), I discussed how the frustration of flying with the commercial airlines is pushing many weary travelers to seek refuge in private air travel where they enjoy greater convenience, time savings, security and many other “quality of life” benefits. But the choice of private air travel leads to a further question: What type of private air travel investment is right for you? Fractional ownership? A jet card program? Or perhaps on demand charter may be your best bet?
Most importantly, how should you go about making this decision?
At Shaircraft Solutions, we begin by having you answer several important questions, among them:
• What is your budget?
• How often do you fly?
• Where and when do you fly?
• How far in advance do you plan your trips?
• How many passengers and how much luggage do you take?
• Do you prefer to fly on a fleet managed by a single operator?
• Do you have specific aircraft preferences?
• What is the best use of your capital?
• Can you take advantage of depreciation tax deductions?
Analyzing your responses to these and other questions, we develop a travel profile that enables us to determine the type of private air travel investment that’s right for you. The general rule of thumb that passes for common wisdom is that if you fly between 50 and 400 hours per year your best option may be fractional ownership, which involves owning a share of an aircraft that is managed by a single operator as part of a fleet. If you fly less than 50 hours per year, you may be better off with a jet card or “pay as you go” charter, and if you fly more than 400 hours annually, you may consider buying a whole aircraft.