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Comparison company records charter price rises
Count private jet charter prices among the products and services that are contributing to record inflation says buyer's guide Private Jet Card Comparisons.

Analysis by Private Jet Card Comparisons of over 250 jet card programmes offering fixed or capped hourly rates found that Q1 2022 one way prices are 21 per cent higher than Q4 2020, and that includes a five per cent increase since Q4 2021.

“Dozens of fixed/capped rate programmes, which before Covid typically raised rates by $100 per year if at all, have increased prices multiple times since last summer," says founder and editor in chief Doug Gollan. "The average jet card charter price has increased by $1,799 per hour since the end of 2020. Our analysis shows the rates are still lagging behind dynamic pricing options. It's a perfect storm of record demand, supply constraints and rising costs, including pilot salaries, general payroll, fuel, incentives to aircraft owners, maintenance and parts. Since dynamic pricing reflects the current market, it likely means more price hikes are coming unless there is an event that dramatically impacts demand."

The average one-way hourly jet card charter rate across all aircraft categories broke into five figures in Q1 2022, increasing to $10,204 per hour, up from $8,405 at the end of 2020, a 21 per cent hike.

Comparing fixed/capped jet card pricing to one way on demand charter quotes for 12 different scenarios in seven instances, the fixed rate jet cards offered lower prices for a three week span between the end of April and the middle of May. While on demand charter costs, trips priced on a per flight basis using market-based dynamic pricing, ranged on average between $24,894 and $41,654 per flight, the fixed/capped rate jet cards, that give members a contracted price when they sign up, averaged just $25,744.

Since the expiration of the CARES Act tax holiday in December 2020, which saved flyers the 7.5 per cent Federal Excise Tax, fixed/capped hourly jet card membership rates for over 250 programmes tracked by Private Jet Card Comparisons have increased.

Light jets are 35 per cent more expensive, from $5,600 per hour to $7,564 per hour. Midsize jets are 24 per cent more expensive, from $6,961 per hour to $8,662 per hour. Super midsize jets are 22 per cent more expensive, from $9,190 per hour to $11,171 per hour. Large cabin jets are up 17 per cent more expensive, from $12,109 per hour to $14,173. And ultra-long-haul jets are up 16 per cent, from $15,136 per hour to 17,767.

Turboprops top them all with an increase of 47 per cent, up from $4,454 per hour to $6,564.

While fixed/capped rate jet card pricing may still be a relative bargain compared to booking flights on demand, trip by trip, the jet card programmes are becoming more restrictive compared to before the Covid-19 pandemic.

In its analysis of fixed/rate capped programmes, the reservations deadline to book flights at contracted rates increased from an average of 23.2 hours in Q4 2019 to 62.2 hours at the end of Q1 2022. At the same time, the average number of annual peak days, where the lead time for booking is longer, and programmes often have surcharges, increased from 22.8 to 49.1 days.

“Peak days used to be mainly around major holidays and the Super Bowl. Now they are more extensive. The number of programmes with over 70 peak days increased by 350 per enet since the end of last year,” says Gollan.

Private aviation flying dropped by more than 80 per cent at the start of the pandemic but quickly rebounded. 2021 was a record year, and demand continues to increase.

“There were many new flyers at the beginning of Covid, before the vaccine, who chose to fly privately to avoid crowds and reduce contact with other people," he continues. "Then there was a second wave of new private flyers who started because reduced airline schedules didn't fit their needs. Now, those flyers are saying they will continue to fly privately. In the US, private flights can access over 5,000 airports compared to under 500 with scheduled airline service. You also avoid security and check in lines, and you never have lost baggage. Despite the increased pricing, there are no signs demand is letting up.”

A survey of Private Jet Card Comparisons subscribers in February found that 92 per cent will fly the same or more this year than last year, with just over half saying their private flights will increase in 2022.

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