Travelling by private jet is no longer the preserve of the rich and famous. Patrick Margetson Rushmore explains how it can be a viable business expense for your time-strapped executive. Making the impossible possible is the unwritten rule of being a successful PA. However, organising a marathon of international meetings for your boss and an entourage of very important guests, with stop-offs in several different countries, all in the space of 48 hours, is nothing short of a miracle.
With business globalising and management spread ever thinner, PAs are increasingly making it happen by hiring a private aircraft as a flexible, cost-effective and time-saving alternative to traditional flights. Although arranging a private jet for the first time may seem like a daunting experience, it shouldn’t be, and this straightforward guide will ease you through the process.
Pick a plane
Chartering an executive business aircraft is not for the average holiday maker, so it is essential first of all to weigh up whether flying privately best suits your itinerary and budget. Different models of aircraft cater to different requirements and the one you choose will come down to journey length, passenger numbers and, of course, budget.
The cost of hiring a jet varies depending on its size. At one end of the scale, a Beechcraft King Air 200 executive turboprop, suitable for short journeys and up to eight passengers, costs around £1,000 an hour plus airport fees, while an Embraer Legacy 650, which can seat up to 13 people and travel for 3,200 miles, costs £3,900 an hour. The price quoted is for flying time only, so you don’t pay for time spent in on-board meetings held on the ground. Business aircraft fly at the same speed as a scheduled aeroplane, so compared with the cost of buying return business-class tickets for your executives, it can represent good value for money.
So much to do, so little time
Chartering a jet lets you cover more destinations in a day because the timetable works around you, not the other way around. A breakfast meeting in Brussels, followed by lunch in Frankfurt and an evening function in Milan? Not a problem. There’s less time wasted hanging around – you fly between convenient airports, are whisked through check-in and security and are less at risk of delays. Passengers are frequently airborne within 15 minutes and on average save three hours over the equivalent scheduled flight. What’s more, passengers can use their time more productively during the flight, as they are free to discuss sensitive issues in a private environment.
Tailoring the experience
Flying privately has many advantages, not least the ability to create a unique itinerary and specify the finer details. To plan the journey and minimise time spent at the airport, you’ll need to provide your operator with a range of information, starting with the point of origin. Charter planes can utilise many potential airports, which helps reduce the hassle factor from the outset.
For a seamless experience from beginning to end, you should also provide precise addresses of meeting venues to ensure that the landing point is in as close proximity as possible. You will be asked for passport details in advance to pre-clear the passengers and reduce check-in to a mere formality. Have your charter operator or broker take care of transfers to and from the airport with their tried-and-trusted suppliers.
And, for that personal touch, arrange the in-flight menu. For breakfast, would your executives like croissants and coffee or something more substantial? If there’s cause to celebrate, which is the right champagne for the toast?
Customer service will be the key to any successful private aircraft operator. Choose well and they will spend as much time with you as is needed to ensure every taste and whim is catered for.
Last, but by no means least, chartering a private jet affords passengers the priceless luxury of getting home in time to kiss their children goodnight. Find out when and where your guests need to return to and give them a stress-free end to a busy few days.
Patrick Margetson Rushmore is chief executive of London Executive Aviation. Visit flylea.com for details of the services it can provide