The whole of the private aviation industry is facing record demand for flights. This demand is driving up prices and several large jet card providers are even pausing new card sales.
Paused Jet Card Programs
Some of the largest jet card companies, including NetJets, Flexjet and Sentient Jet have temporarily suspended new card sales.
NetJets paused all card sales this summer and says “we put all jet card requests on a waitlist months ago, and requests now number over 1,500.” They have also “paused share and lease sales for immediate access,” so you may have to wait several months even to buy a fractional share. At the same time, they commented they are doing all this to “protect the service of our existing Owners.” By the end of 2022 thy expect to invest approximately $2.5 billion in 125+ new aircraft, which should help ease the supply side.
Flexjet have also paused their jet card sales, which were previously available on the Phenom 300 light jet and Challenger 300 super-mid. Sister company Sentient have also put a hold on new card sales. Flexjet has plans to add dozens of new aircraft in 2022, in addition to the ones added in 2021.
At Wheels Up, new members have a moratorium for 90 days but can still access shared flights and empty leg “Hot Flights”.
Hourly Rates Up
All the leading jet card providers have been raising their hourly rates, including Air Partner, Nicholas Air, Sentient Jet, Magellan Jets and Solairus Aviation. Wheels Up is increasing its capped rates from December 1st 2021.
These increasing rates simply reflect the charter market. The most notable increases have been for light and mid-size jets, which is where the most demand had been. But it’s not just demand, there have also been many supply chain issues – as there have been supply chain issue throughout the economy. For private aviation, there have been some parts shortages, so that when aircraft need repair or maintenance, they have been taking longer to get fixed. All this just reduces the number of available planes.
Call Out Times Longer
In addition to hourly rates increasing, another notable card feature, the notice period or call out time is also getting longer. By increasing their notice periods the card companies have more time to find a suitable aircraft, at a rate that matches the guaranteed rates in the jet card agreement.
Simply put, at the moment there are not enough available aircraft to meet the demand.