HOW TO HIRE A PRIVATE JET
What size aircraft do you need?
There’s a rising scale in the size of private jets. “Very light jets, such as the Embraer Phenom 100 or the Cessna Citation Mustang, seat up to four and have a flying range of two hours or so,” Heron says. “Then there are mid-size jets, such as the Citation XLS or Hawker 800, which seat up to nine. Next there are heavy jets, such as the Dassault Falcon 900, which seats 15. Finally, there are ultra-long-range jets, such as the Bombardier Global Express, which can cross the Atlantic.”
Choose the most convenient airport.
Many private jets use smaller airports. Serving London, for example, there is RAF Northolt, London Biggin Hill, Farnborough and London City. In Stockholm, you can fly to Bromma instead of Arlanda.
“One of the benefits of flying privately is you can dictate the exact time you want to travel,” Heron says. “Plus you only need to get to the airport 20 minutes before your flight, since we issue all passport details in advance. This means you can visit multiple cities in one day, for example.”
Which on-board services do you need?
Meeting table? Facing seats? Sofa seats? Catering requirements? Private jets allow you to be much fussier than you could ever be in normal business class. “On larger aircraft you can even make up a double bed with duvet and pillows,” Heron suggests. Although wifi is normally offered on American private jets, it’s less widely available in European air space.
How to save on costs.
To give you an idea of cost, an entry-level private jet on an overnight return trip from Farnborough to Paris-Le Bourget would set you back around £7,500 for four passengers. Heron advises using broker services since they have the power to negotiate. “Also, you should avoid flying at the busiest times of year – school holidays, especially the start and end of half-term during the ski season.”
The other way to reduce charter prices is to be flexible on departure dates, or to buy tickets for empty legs. The latter are available when a private jet based in London, say, has to pick up passengers in Nice. If the initial leg of the journey is empty, it is offered at a reduced rate.
When it comes to problems, you don’t get more first-world than the dilemma over which private jet to hire. Georgina Heron works at Air Charter Service, which has more than 6,000 aircraft on its books.