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Business Air News Bulletin
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Jet card programmes become more numerous and diverse
There is a trend to providing fixed/capped hourly rates but without guaranteed availability or guaranteed availability but without fixed/capped hourly rates, says buyer's guide Private Jet Card Comparisons.

As demand for private jet travel ebbs from record levels, the number of companies offering jet cards and private jet memberships is flowing. There are now at least 75 active jet card or private jet membership programmes, an increase of 29% since before the pandemic, and the the types of programmes being offered are more varied.

“During the period starting in June 2021 and going through the summer of 2022, demand for private jets was so strong, along with supply constraints, that 30 providers who offered fixed-rate jet cards with guaranteed availability either stopped their programmes entirely, halted taking new members or withdrew specific categories from their programmes,” says Doug Gollan, founder and editor-in-chief of Private Jet Card Comparisons. “The winds have now changed, and with lower demand and more supply, providers are jumping in, restarting programmes and launching new products and memberships.”

Currently, there are only seven companies that offered fixed-rate, guaranteed availability jet cards prior to July 2021 that still have those programmes on hiatus.

However, an analysis of providers and programme types from February 2020 (before the pandemic) to February 2023 reveals significant changes: The number of total providers with active programmes accepting renewals and/or new customers grew from 58 to 75; the number of programmes offering fixed/capped hourly rates increased from 52 to 57; but the number of programmes offering fixed/capped hourly rates with guaranteed availability fell from 44 to 42.

There was also a big increase in the number of programmes offered by operators or where the provider also owns a charter/fractional jet operator compared to purely broker programmes. Active operator/hybrid jet card/membership programmes increased from 28 to 44, a 57% jump.

“As charter and fractional fleet operators have seen demand slacken, they are looking for new customers. Membership programmes provide a way to attract more direct consumers,” Gollan says.

However, the type of offerings is changing. The number of providers offering fixed/capped hourly rates and guaranteed availability dropped from 44 to 42. The number of programmes with fixed/capped hourly rates on an as-available basis increased from eight to 15. At the same time, the number of providers offering only dynamic pricing, quoting each trip based on market pricing for that specific flight, increased from six to 18.

“There is a trend to providing fixed/capped hourly rates but without guaranteed availability or guaranteed availability but without fixed/capped hourly rates. For programmes that guarantee both a rate and availability, it means that they often lose money on a percentage of flights, hoping that from a customer's overall flying and the flying of all their customers in aggregate, they make money,” Gollan notes. “By only guaranteeing availability but not price or price but not availability, it's more advantageous to providers. However, customers need to be flexible, and dynamic pricing only works in certain situations.”

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