Skies Feature: Business Jet Alternative

June 03, 2024

Chartright offers fractional alternative with Jet Lease Program

By Lisa Gordon

Live  Article: Here


Last fall, Chartright Air Group unveiled a new program designed to get more people into private jets. The hook? A one-year commitment, high flexibility and predictable pricing.


Since then, the Chartright Jet Lease Program has taken off, netting over $3 million in revenue and logging hundreds of flight hours in its first seven months. Originally supported by Chartright’s light jet fleet, the Jet Lease Program has since expanded to include mid-size and super mid-size aircraft as well.


“The main selling point is that it’s simple,” said David Shaver, VP Sales and Marketing. “The pricing is easy to understand. Customers only pay for the hours they’re on board, and it’s a relatively short term commitment at one year; plus, aircraft availability is guaranteed. There are two primary costs – the cost of the lease and the hourly rate – and both are easy to decipher.”


Shaver enjoys tracking business aviation trends and statistics. He, and others at Chartright, took note of the increasing popularity of jet card and fractional ownership programs. They wanted to broaden Chartright’s existing service offering with a competitive program that filled the gap.


Shaver collaborated with Chartright President Adam Keller, Director of Sales Graham Nierop, Program Administrator Nicole Charles, and the sales team to define a new offering outside the company’s usual scope. The resulting Jet Lease Program falls somewhere in between whole aircraft ownership and ad hoc charter.


“The concept is centred around occupied access, meaning clients get occupied hourly access to the fleet of light, mid-size and super mid-size jets with no positioning fees,” he explained.


Chartright’s Jet Lease Program has a two-part cost structure. Shaver broke down an example.


“If we’re looking at the light jet category, a client would have the choice to pay the lease fee up front or monthly, which earns them access to a preferred hourly rate when they fly. That lease fee is US$119,900 to buy in, and then clients pay CDN$2,500 per occupied hour, for packages of 25 hours. There is a discount for 50 hours or more.”


Shaver said those two fees cover most associated expenses for flights within continental North America, including crew, insurance, landing fees, parking, navigation fees and hangar storage. Additional costs may apply for ground transportation, catering that is above and beyond standard, and de-icing fees when a client is on board the aircraft.


As for fuel, Chartright’s Jet Lease Program calculates fuel costs based on a set price per litre. While a customer fuel surcharge is possible, Shaver said it typically wouldn’t apply until the price of jet fuel climbs 10 cents above the per litre threshold.


“So far, we haven’t had to apply a fuel surcharge,” he said. “But the fuel surcharge, if applicable, is set month by month on the first day of that month, so it gives some level of predictability.”


Currently, there is a large selection of aircraft available through the Chartright Jet Lease Program. Light jet options include the Cessna Citation Ultra and Encore; mid-size aircraft are the Cessna Citation Excel and XLS+; and super-midsize options include the Bombardier Challenger 300/350 and Gulfstream G200.


Typical destinations for program aircraft include Florida, Tennessee, New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary and the Caribbean. Shaver said the super mid-size jets can travel up to 3,000 nautical miles. Trips outside continental North America incur an additional flat fee to cover international charges, such as customs and handling services.

Most Jet Lease trips (70 per cent) are business-related, while the remainder is attributed to individual travel.

“We are dealing with people who have maybe owned in the past and have sold; there are some who are trying out the program before buying their own aircraft; and then there are charter customers moving to more predicable pricing and availability,” said Shaver. “We guarantee access to an aircraft, so they can call and we’re available as required.”


For customers who typically travel on a light jet but who need to size up for a longer flight, or vice versa, Chartright allows them to switch aircraft based on set swap ratios. For example, 1.4 hours on a light jet can be traded for one hour on a mid-size aircraft. In the same manner, 36 minutes (0.6 of an hour) on a super mid-size jet equals one hour on a light jet.


Chartright’s director of sales, Graham Nierop, reiterated the benefits of the one-year lease term.


“That’s far less commitment than just about anyone out there,” he said. “The one-year contract acts a trial period, with the ability to renew, shift to full ownership, or adhoc charter at the end of your term. With the recent expansion of guaranteed access to mid-size and supermid size category of aircraft, Chartright’s Lease program is in a class of its own.”


Nierop said another Jet Lease Program differentiator is the quick return discount. This applies to any round-trip scenario, which averages two or more flight hours per day. Providing an itinerary meets these criteria, you qualify for a discount.


“We essentially reward them for bringing the aircraft back,” said Nierop. “Round-trip scenarios can be somewhat punitive with traditional jet card or fractional programs, so we developed the quick return discount to lessen the cost in these situations.”


Shaver added that Chartright also offers referral incentives and is planning to release a self-service mobile app for Jet Lease customers later this year.


Chartright is headquartered in Toronto with additional Canadian locations in Kitchener-Waterloo, Barrie Lake Simcoe, Calgary, Ottawa, Vancouver, Regina, Edmonton and Montreal.

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