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Business Air News Bulletin
Business Air News Bulletin
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Strategic jet card pricing designed for operators to stay ahead
For programmes that offer guaranteed pricing, the cost of sourcing flights on short notice, during busy peak periods and recovery flights can often be twice what customers pay, according to PJC chief Doug Gollan.

The cost of flying by private jet card has dropped for the second straight quarter, according to private aviation buyer's guide Private Jet Card Comparisons. Average hourly rates were down 1.3 per cent in Q2 2023 following a 5.2 per cent drop in Q1. The data is based on more than 80 providers and more than 900 jet card and membership options that Private Jet Card Comparisons tracks.

However, the hourly rates for guaranteed availability jet cards and memberships that offer fixed or capped pricing remained 31.2 per cent above their December 2020 low. Jet card hourly rates at the end of June were $11,024 per hour, including fuel surcharges and the 7.5 per cent US Federal Excise Tax.

Across key private jet categories as of June 2023: light jet rates averaged $8,055 per hour, up 0.1 per cent from Q1 2023, down 4.8 per cent from Q4 2022 and up 43.9 per cent from Q4 2020; midsize jet rates averaged $9,360 per hour, down 0.6 per cent from Q1 2023, down 4.5 per cent from Q4 2022 and up 34.5 per cent from Q4 2020; super midsize jet rates averaged $12,036 per hour, down 1.9 per cent from Q1 2023, down 5.0 per cent from Q4 2022 and up 31.0 per cent from Q4 2020; and large cabin jet rates averaged $15,688 per hour, down 1.3 per cent from Q1 2023, down 2.6 per cent from Q4 2022 and up 29.6 per cent from Q4 2020.

In terms of good news for flyers, daily minimums, that is to say the minimum time per day providers charge flyers, have largely returned to pre-Covid levels, overall, just 4.7 per cent above December 2019. In fact, the minimum charges for light jets (71 minutes per day), midsize jets (81 minutes per day) and super-midsize jets (96 minutes per day) remain at or below those Q4 2019 levels.

The average number of peak days with programmes offering fixed/capped hourly rates and guaranteed availability dropped 4.7 per cent to 51.2 days per year.

However, that's 124.6 per cent more than the pre-Covid December 2019 level of 22.8 days.

Non-peak callouts during Q2 stayed steady at 66.9 hours, up 0.8 per cent from Q1 2023. Pre-Covid, in December 2019, the average was just 23.2 hours.

“It's a case of once-bitten, twice-shy,” says Doug Gollan, founder and editor-in-chief of Private Jet Card Comparisons. “For programmes that offer guaranteed pricing, the cost of sourcing flights on short notice, during busy peak periods and recovery flights if there is a mechanical, which many card programmes provide at no additional cost, can often be twice what customers pay. By keeping longer callouts and more peak days, flight providers hope to have fewer loss-making flights.”

Gollan said jet card providers are also becoming more strategic in offering discounts beyond their contracted rates. He pointed to recent announcements from several leading providers.

FlyExclusive's Jet Club 4.0, launched June 20, features a 10 per cent discount for flying on 139 Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. It also offers a five per cent discount if you are willing to let it set your departure time, and it established a coast-to-coast 4.5-hour rate cap.

As part of its slimmed-down primary service area, Wheels Up slashed hourly rates and daily minimums, providing savings as high as 26 per cent. Wheels Up also set dates for July with even lower prices, and its capped rates mean if you are flexible, you may save a bit more.

Directional's FXAir relaunched its fixed-rate, guaranteed availability jet card with four tiers of pricing, based on calendar dates and anticipated demand. For example, on 40 peak days, it uses dynamic pricing.

In May, Magellan Jets cut jet card rates up to 6% and relaunched a light jet category programme in addition to its Phenom 300 jet card, essentially offering a lower lead price.

Vista Global's XO is offering discounted transatlantic prices starting at $75,000 each way for the summer.

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