The past couple of years have not been kind to the private jet industry. A still-not-recovered global market has meant an ongoing lull in the sales force, and several execs are wary of incurring the wrath of investors should they get caught cruising on a corporate jet.
The market is starting to find its ground, however, thanks in part for the innovations of a few understanding companies, that are working with each other to make private aviation quicker, cheaper and much more accessible.
In comparison, the charter company is soaring. PrivateFly is definitely an innovator, while third-party booking sites are becoming standard in the area of commercial aviation, in the private jet industry.
"When I really started looking around online, I cannot believe there wasn't a way to reserve a private jet," says Twidell. He recognized a gap on the marketplace, and his wife and partner, Carol Cork, sold her house to help him begin a new business that would fill the gap. Though Twidell jokes that his "mother-in-law still is perhaps not utterly convinced it was a wise decision," PrivateFly has since become Europe's fastest-growing aviation business.
The edge to customers, he notes, is that they can compare costs of over 2,500 aircraft, either through the web site or on the PrivateFly cellular app. They can still reserve a jet at virtually a minute's notice.
Our record to get somebody airborne from having their request submitted is 40 minutes.
Adam Twidell, creator of PrivateFly
Read more: Frequent-flyer health guidelines
For the 700 operators that list their jets through the website, they are able to ensure their planes are not sitting around, gathering dust and incurring parking fees.
"Essentially, this is a matchmaking exercise," says Twidell.
Making the link between supply and demand less obscure in addition has helped bring down the cost of private jets. For example, if an operator has an "empty leg," that is, they have flown some body one way and face a possibly empty cabin in the return flight, they're able to provide a reduction for that leg of the journey. In this mode, private flight has become more accessible, and much more affordable, than ever before.
PrivateFly is not the only business to take good advantage of the leg. These range from $499 to $1,499 for one leg of a journey on either a Phenom 100 (which seats as much as four) or a CJ3 (which can seat six). That cost is just not per individual; it is per plane.
JumpJet is gathering membership and aims to start flights in May
JumpJet is gathering membership and aims to begin flights in-may
"Some of those trips are daft, like Santa Monica to Van Nuys. But sometimes you can attain a whole plane for $499 that flies from L A to New York, and you also can split the cost between four people," says JetSuite CEO Alex Wilcox.
JetSuite's clients must buy right into a membership (and these start at $50,000), but they get well more bang for his or her buck.
"A vast number of our competitors are still caught up in the 80s, when private jets were all about champagne and caviar. We don't serve food up to speed; we are only a time machine," says Wilcox, who had been also a founding partner of JetBlue.
Apart from cutting food, JetSuite saves money by offering more transparency in booking. Clients, for example, can decide to land in airports with lower cab landing fees -- a savings that is reflected within their total invoice. In addition, it opts for lighter, more affordable planes.
"Not only does the Phelon 100 cost less, but it burns off less gas.
Though their model can come across as rather austere for a luxurious product, Wilcox notes it really is more practical in the present climate.
Lots of our opponents are still caught up in the 1980s, when private jets were all about caviar and champagne.
Alex Wilcox, CEO of JetSuite
"There can be a stigma attached to your company having their very own airplanes at this time," he notes. "So a lot of organizations are looking for alternative solutions. For guys who are scared to utilize aircraft because their investors is not going to like it, they use us."
JumpJet, a private jet service that launched last October, is expecting to bring the price of bookings down even further, in order that they are on par with first- and businessclass commercial flights. The business continues to be in the process of gathering members and strategies to establish its first flights in Might. Like JetSuite, JumpJet is just a membership plan, with plans starting at $2,350 per month (these include 10 U.S. domestic round trip flights all the way to 3.5 hours). Unlike JetSuites, JumpJet does not possess any planes. Rather, they buy charters and allow associates to split the price.
"We are not one jet, one customer, which really is a convention for your industry," notes Will Ashcroft, JumpJet's CEO. Instead, JumpJet will try to pair members that are heading to exactly the same location at precisely the same time on an individual flight.
Read more: What women want: Hotels look to cater for more female business travelers
Particularly whenever you take into account the full time savings, while not all JumpJet flights will probably be equivalent to some firstclass ticket, to get a long haul flight, the prices might be about equivalent.
"Most people give up three to five hours each day flying commercial, and once you fly private you fully grasp this time around back," says Ashcroft, referring towards the hours saved avoiding security lines, bag checks and customs.
"Keeping that in mind, once you break down a coast-to-coast excursion, it really is $6,600 to fly JumpJet, versus $6,000 to fly first class using an airline. I had get a personal jet any day."