Learn about the benefits and limitations of full ownership, fractional ownership, jet cards, and on-demand charter

Private Aircraft Solutions Compared

Which one is right for you?

If you’re interested in private aviation, you have a lot of options. The prices involved can feel exorbitantly expensive and the differences between options can be hard to define.

We’ve compiled our thoughts on the pros and cons of the four common private aircraft solutions: 

  • Full Aircraft Ownership
  • Fractional Ownership
  • Jet Card Membership
  • On-Demand Charter

If you’re exploring private aviation for the first time and are interested in the cost associated with these options, use our Mission Calculator to determine your annual cost.

If you’re already using a private aviation user, use our Aircraft Cost Calculator to see if your current solution is the most cost effective for your travels.

Full Aircraft Ownership

An investment in flexibility and control

Benefits

  • 100% travel flexibility – go where you want, when you want
  • Truly private aviation – you will always know who is on your plane
  • Depreciate the full purchase price of the aircraft in the first year of ownership
  • Can be the best form of transportation for less travelled destinations

Limitations

  • The owner is responsible for maintaining the aircraft and organizing crews, though these tasks can be managed professionally
  • Aircraft purchases are complex transactions that require specialized knowledge
  • Requires large initial capital investment

Fractional Ownership

Frictionless ownership, at a premium

Benefits

  • Relatively small capital investment to buy a share, when compared to full ownership
  • Only pay for the hours you will be using
  • The aircraft is managed, reducing concerns about maintenance or crew availability
  • Depreciate your capital investment

Limitations

  • The aircraft is shared among several owners which can create complexity
  • Monthly management fees are expensive, in many cases due to fractional operators’ large margins
  • Depending on the model, you might buy your shares at full retail but only sell them for wholesale

Jet Card Membership

A fractional solution without the ownership

Benefits

  • Allows you to lock-in a fixed price for your hours, reducing pricing variability
  • No financial exposure to the value of the airplane being used
  • Potential for faster response times, as short as 10 hours

Limitations

  • Service providers can cease operation with little notice, leaving you as a creditor in their bankruptcy
  • Hourly costs can be more expensive than both charter and fractional
  • Potential for peak day surcharges on holidays and effective blackout days if no aircraft are available
  • You will likely use different aircraft on every trip

On-demand Charter

Cost-effective infrequent private travel

Benefits

  • Can be a very cost effective solution for private air travel, particularly when utilizing empty-leg flights
  • No financial exposure to the value of the airplane being used

Limitations

  • Less travel flexibility – lead times may be more than 24 hours
  • Pricing can vary drastically based on destination and time of year – expect to pay more for holidays
  • No guarantee of aircraft availability

Additional Resources