How Purchasing a Private Jet Card Benefits Clients
by Anthony Newcombe
Most of us in the aviation industry are well aware of the benefits derived from offering pre-purchased jet cards as sellers. We know it strengthens our banking relationships while preventing us from having to track down extremely busy executives and other high-net worth clients each and every time he or she is ready to take-off at a moment’s notice.
While private jet cards benefit those of us in the aviation industry, this article focuses on the benefits of purchasing a card from the retail client’s perspective. We won’t cover everything in this article, but it will shed some light on some of the primary ways in which this “form” of private jet travel can become a more convenient and time-efficient process for all parties involved.
I. Ease of Payments Equals More Opportunities
As busy as most clients are who use private aircraft, one of the concerns is the aborted bookings of prospective aircraft at the right price due to the time lost between collecting the funds from the client and securing aircraft with the selected charter operators on which brokers rely for aircraft access. Because brokers are constantly searching for available aircraft, this loss of time – whether it be several hours or a day or two to arrange a rushed bank wire – results in the broker having to start from scratch in the aircraft search as charter operators’ schedules shift constantly.
II. Establishing Jet Card Purchase Amount
Ideally, the private jet card purchase should be for an amount that is expected to be exhausted within a 3-6 month period or so. Whenever a client is approached to purchase a year-round jet card, he or she should be able to provide a ballpark range of flight time they plan to utilize during the year for either business and/or pleasure. Once the charter broker is aware of this information, it is easier to provide suggestions for the initial purchase amount. It is probably not advisable to “over-purchase” because from the client’s standpoint, the additional funds could almost certainly be put to better use elsewhere in their investment portfolio. More importantly, it is never a good business idea to have a client who is on edge due to regretting the size of the card amount invested. As long as both the client and the broker are honest with each other, there should little trouble establishing a comfortable purchase amount.
III. Best Pricing Per Itinerary/Taking Advantage of Empty Legs
The broker should be seasoned enough to have amassed hundreds (if not a few thousand) relationships in the global charter industry. These relationships greatly benefit clients, as it enables them to pick and choose from numerous aircraft options. One of the industry’s best opportunities lies in the area of empty legs/deadheads, where an aircraft either needs to return to base or leave base to pick up and/or drop off a different client or it is empty for various other reasons. At times, some of these empty leg opportunities can discount an aircraft’s hourly rate from $5,000-plus per hour down to $1,000-$2,000 per hour. Savings are all based on the needs of the aircraft operator and the itinerary of the jet card client. Piggybacking on someone else’s itinerary can be one of the most effective ways for retail clients to get the most bang for their buck, as they also may be able to “upgrade” to a model they otherwise would not have chosen if they were left to pay the standard hourly rate. This will also preserve the card’s balance for additional trips that would otherwise not happen!