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Route-Based Cards Blaze New Paths For Charter Lift

Service providers are adding discounts for travelers between heavily trafficked destinations.

Business aircraft are renowned for their ability to reach remote locations, but access providers today are offering discounted jet cards and other enticements to customers headed to the most popular destinations. Among drivers cited by the providers: keeping aircraft moving between in-demand airport pairs to cut repositioning costs, which have soared in lockstep with requests that often require operators to reposition for the waiting next charter rather than take advantage of demand for a return from their drop-off point; post-COVID changes wrought by new business aviation customers and shifting travel preferences; and growing competition in the charter space fueled by investment capital and consolidation of access providers. 

The net result: whether you’re a veteran charter customer or new to the market, if you’re taking the road more traveled, you have greater choice in aircraft and savings options. Some examples follow.

Grandview Aviation Cuts One-way Route Prices

Grandview Aviation, the owner/operator of an Embraer Phenom 300 charter fleet, has introduced discounted one-way rates on the 70 most popular routes flown from its eight bases across the U.S. for members of its Altitude Plus jet card program. Those routes include Los Angeles to Las Vegas or Scottsdale, Arizona; Denver to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, or Telluride, Colorado; and Baltimore to Boston or Chicago ($11,500); Chicago to New York Metro ($15,500); Scottsdale to Los Cabos, Mexico ($17,000); Boston to South Florida ($20,500); and Los Angeles to New York ($27,000).

The Altitude Plus card offers a 10 percent discount on all other flights (hourly Phenom rates start at $3,150) and requires a $150,000 deposit. Customers pay repositioning fees for pickups outside Grandview bases. The Phenoms feature up-to-date interiors, complimentary Wi-Fi, and satellite phones.

Jet Edge Adds Flat Rates

California-based Jet Edge, which launched its AdvantEdge charter management program and Reserve membership access program, and supporting fleet last year, has added flat rates to the Reserve plan. The transcontinental rate for members aboard its 300- and 600-series Bombardier Challengers is $39,900; on its Gulfstream GIV-SP and G450 large-cabin jets (outfitted with new interiors, avionics, branded livery, and in-cabin amenities), the rate is $42,950. (Neither figure includes Federal Excise Tax.) Access is as available, with a minimum notice of five days on non-peak dates. Also new to the membership: a capped California–Hawaii rate of $54,900 on a Gulfstream.

In addition, Jet Edge has put in-demand non-coastal hubs on the flat-rate plan and will offer members flat rates for flights over four hours. The hubs include Las Vegas; Salt Lake City; Bozeman, Montana; Aspen, Colorado; Nashville; and Scottsdale.

The three-tiered Reserve membership (Red, Black, and Silver) provides “priority access” to the AdvantEdge fleet along with ancillary benefits for deposits of $100,000, $250,000, and $500,000, respectively.

Customer demand appears to be keeping pace with the addition thus far of some 25 of the 35 jets that Jet Edge is adding to its charter certificate in the expansion. (Private equity firm KKR has invested some $265 million in Jet Edge since last June.) New member acquisitions have grown 1,800 percent year-over-year, and more than $180 million in membership deposits has been added to the ledgers in the last year, the company reports.

Private Fly Debuts Fixed Rates 

Having launched in 2020 its first jet card, for access to light, midsize, or heavy jets in 25-hour increments, charter broker PrivateFly, Eurocentric ad hoc lift arm of Directional Aviation (parent of the Flexjet fractional-ownership program), found customers enjoyed the “elevated service” that came with membership, the company reports. But these members also wanted access to “a variety of different-sized aircraft or more varied routes.” 

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In response, PrivateFly’s new Aviator membership card, with Extended Range fixed pricing, offers, in addition to other benefits, flat hourly rates on a selection of popular long-distance international route pairs linking the U.K. and the U.S., the Caribbean, and Dubai. Lift within the U.S. will be accessed via sister company Sentient Jet, the Massachusetts-based charter broker/jet card provider.

Aviator members fly on ultra-long-range jets, including the Gulfstream G650, Bombardier Global 5000/6000, and Dassault Falcon 7X/8X, between the U.K. and the U.S., the Caribbean, or the Middle East, for about $15,207 per hour. For flights between the U.K. and the Middle East on heavy jets including the Bombardier Challenger 600, Embraer Legacy 600/650, or Falcon 900, the hourly rate is $13,381.

An Aviator membership requires funds held on account and an annual membership fee of $11,434.

Instajet Club Introduces Pricing Deals

Jet card provider Instajet Club, founded last year, has introduced the Route Card, which claims to offer industry-best pricing on city pairs for frequent travelers on the top 25 routes between 15 business aviation airports in Europe, the Middle East, and Russia. Moreover, the company has announced plans to introduce a U.S. version of the card early this year.

Instajet’s subscription-based Route Card offers guaranteed pricing and availability, no blackout periods, no large fund deposits, and no limits on the number of flights you can take at the card’s prices (though simultaneous aircraft use is not covered). The company cites acquiring lift capacity in bulk from operators and flying only “high-density routes” as is its recipe for success.

Prices are quoted in euros (as are PrivateFly’s) but at current exchange rates, the charge for a London-to-Paris flight ranges from about $5,517 for a light jet to about $16,005 for a large-cabin model. Other popular destinations in the Route Card plan include Barcelona, Spain; Cannes, France; Geneva, Madrid, Rome, and Zurich, with rates topping out at a little under $23,000. The card also links Moscow with London, Zurich, and Dubai; and London and New York ($68,634). 

A Route Card Club subscription for Europe costs about $11,434 annually or $1,143 by the month. The London-based company says the price of the U.S. Route Card subscription will be slightly higher and that it intends to begin service linking the New York Metro area with South Florida and Los Angeles.