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Skytrail Blog

Insights from the aviation and charter industry

If you’re considering a private jet charter, costs of course need to be factored in. But how much does a private jet charter cost – what specifics are you paying for?

While most good brokers offer all-inclusive pricing, it is not an uncommon comment that private fliers hold concerns over being invoiced for unexpected extras. So, to address this and ensure transparency, we review the main costs that are used to calculate a private charter price.

Understanding Private Charter Costings

Regardless of destination or other journey specifics, there are a few costs that are included in almost all private charters.  These are as follows:

Hourly Rate – This is the cost incurred simply by flying the aircraft, (including fuel burn but excluding things like maintenance etc).

Passenger Taxes – This one is quite self-explanatory and covers all taxes and charges imposed by airports and or local governments for the movement of passengers. For example, in the UK there is a tax for every passenger departure known as Air Passenger Duty (APD).

Landing, handling and parking (L/H/P) – These are the fees charged by the airports for the handling of your aircraft. Often the charge changes according to the size of the aircraft you have chosen, or the number of passengers you have flying. Different airports have different fees with some being renowned for being particularly expensive or particularly cheap.

Permits – These are required to fly into or over anywhere in the world and often come at a small fee.

Catering – This is charged depending on the length of flight, time of departure, and number of passengers. Most orders would be covered by this charge but certain expensive items like sushi or specific alcohols are excluded and may well be charged on.

General Overheads – This will just be a small addition to the total bill and will be put towards any other costs involved in the day to day chartering of an aircraft and running of the airline including crew and staff salaries and expenses, aircraft maintenance and certifications, training, etc.

Of course, some costs will be linked to your specific trip. For example:

Daily Minimums – This is an extension of hourly rate. For some particularly short flights, some airlines will implement a daily minimum. This means even if the flight is only say 45mins, the airline will charge the hourly rate for 1 whole hour, sometimes even 2 hours. This is to ensure that the trip makes enough money to cover maintenance costs as maintenance is scheduled by the number of hours flown by the aircraft.

Out of Hours (OOHs) – Should you decide to arrive to or depart from an airport during the night, some airports impose extra fees. These are often a percentage of their standard L/H/P fees. In some cases, your desired departure/arrival time, may be outside the standard operating hours of the airport, in which case, it may be possible to pay an extra fee to open the airport early, or keep it open in the evenings. This is usually a standard fee charged for each hour you need to keep the airport open for.

Positioning fees – Sometimes, the aircraft you choose may have to fly to your desired departure point in order to pick you up. This flight is called a positioning sector and is included in the costs.

Lastly, there are often some costs that must be excluded from all-inclusive pricings as they cannot be foreseen or calculated in advance. These include:

De-icing – this is quite literally the cost to de-frost an aircraft if ice has formed on it. Much like defrosting your car on a particularly cold morning, it is very difficult to pre-empt this cost as it is charged by the amount of de-icing treatment needed. Alternatively, some airlines may suggest you pay to keep the aircraft in a hangar over night (avoiding the ice altogether) or offer a ‘de-icing insurance’ a small one-off fee that will cancel out the de-icing fee should it be required.

WiFi/Satellite phone – as WiFi and use of Satellite phone are usually charged according to usage (per mb or per minute) it is very difficult to anticipate these costs and is therefore excluded from the operating price. Your broker will be able to let you know the cost per mb in advance of your flight.

Exceptional catering – this covers everything that isn’t included in the standard catering charge, like fine wines or items that are hard to find in certain locations.

De-positioning – This cost is rare, but it does happen. Should you require your aircraft to park and wait for you at a particularly busy airport during a particularly busy time (e.g. summer in Ibiza) it is possible that parking will not be available. As a result, the aircraft must move to a nearby airport until you are ready to depart again. This incurs extra flying and L/H/P costs.

Of course, to some degree (and with the right planning) several of these more unexpected costs can be anticipated ahead of time, and explained by your broker.

Planning Your Flight

When planning a private jet charter, your broker will be able to advise on the best cost options for you based on budget. With the right forethought and planning, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your flight without any lingering any cost-related concerns.

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