The cost to charter a jet depends on many factors, beginning with basic trip details. Here are the first things to know when looking at one-way jet charter prices:
- All aircraft have a home base – when they fly to other destinations, planes must return to base at some point.
- When a plane returns to base after a one-way flight, the charterer often pays for that ‘empty’ flight time also.
- Aircraft owners sell this ‘empty’ flight time to other clients at point-to-point value.
- Charter flights sold in this manner are referred to as ‘empty legs’ or ‘dead head’ flights.
- Creating consistent value for clients on one-way flights should be a goal of any charter provider.
With these basic points in mind, we can discuss how one-way flights work and how to lower the cost to charter a jet for a one-way trip.
Paying for Empty Flight Time
If you don’t use a private jet broker or have a jet card/fractional share, you may be flying with a local fixed-fleet operator in your area.
When you book a one-way charter with a fixed-fleet operator, one of two things usually happens:
- A plane based in Point A to flies you to Point B, then returns to base in Point A.
- A plane based in Point B to picks you up in Point A, then brings you back to Point B.
In both scenarios above, you pay for the plane to fly ’empty’ for some distance in order to get you from A to B. Your plane needs to get back to its home base, remember?
As such, many one-way flights are priced at round-trip rates, in terms of the billable flight hours the charterer pays for.
If you don’t pay for the empty air time created by your one-way flight, it would be lost revenue to the owner of the plane. Empty air time charges can greatly increase the cost to charter a jet.
Avoiding Empty Air Time Charges
Eliminating empty air time in one-way flights should be a goal of any air charter service.
Many evoJets clients engage us solely to book one-way flights at or near point-to-point value.
A good private jet broker can leverage relationships with a vast network of providers – instead of just one local operator – to match empty legs and other one-way opportunities to a client’s charter needs.
Here are some of the ways a broker can provide one-way value:
- Floating fleets
- In-network flight pairing
- Empty leg matching
Utilizing these major resources will result in consistent one-way value, so it’s important to understand what they mean and how they work.
Utilizing floating fleets operators can vastly improve one-way charter flight prices.
Instead of operating aircraft from a fixed home base, floating fleet operators allow their aircraft to roam and rest in various territories.
- Floating fleets keep their planes moving, selling charters from city to city at or near one-way value.
- Unlike a fixed fleet, floaters do not send planes back to home base after every trip, and thus can limit empty air charges to clients.
There are floating fleets operating in different markets all over the world, many of which rely heavily on brokers for business.
A good private jet broker has strategic relationships with these operations and is in tune with the location and availability of their fleets.
Clients benefit from these relationships in the form of one-way pricing, with little to no empty air time charges.
In-Network Flight Pairing
A good charter provider will always look to match one-way flights in their network of clients to eliminate empty air time charges for multiple parties.
Here is an example of in-network flight pairing:
- Client A flies from New York to Chicago on Sunday.
- Client B flies from Chicago to New York on Monday.
- A plane from New York is used to fly client A to Chicago on Sunday, and the same plane is used for client B on Monday to return to New York.
- Both clients pay a true one-way price since there are no empty air charges.
Some providers will charge both clients for empty air time (not revealing the other party) and effectively collect 2x the revenue for both trips.
This is where trust and reputation play a huge role in the jet charter industry.
Working with a private jet brokerage that services many clients in different markets is a great way to leverage trip volume for one-way flights. Matching up one-way flights within the company network is a standard practice for brokers.
Empty Leg Matching
Empty legs are an integral part of the on-demand charter industry.
Any charter provider, be it a fixed fleet or broker, should always be in touch with the empty leg market. As the open charter market is constantly evolving, with aircraft always on the move, empty leg deals and one-way opportunities are unpredictable.
With a dedicated private jet broker or a fixed-fleet operator that is in tune with the charter market, you can take advantage of value opportunities for one-way trips.
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