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Smart Travel Decisions: To Buy or Rent?

Given the image of jet-setters with money to burn, some people assume that most private planes are owned by the individuals who use them.  In actuality, there are many more reasons to rent, or “charter,” air transportation rather than to actually buy an aircraft.

Planes cost large sums of money that high net worth individuals and companies can afford, but there are hidden, and sometime immeasurable, costs when owning an aircraft.  When not in use, the aircraft must be stored in a hanger, which imposes variable costs on the owner.  More importantly, planes are subject to standard maintenance as required by the FAA.  While the price of standard maintenance can be measured to a degree, ad hoc maintenance is an unpredictable matter.  Unlike cars with the “check engine” light on, owners do not have a choice about whether to service their planes or not.

Aside for predictable and unpredictable maintenance issues, the volatility of fuel prices has become another problem burdening aircraft owners.  Oil companies will not lock prices for private owners, and there are legal limits to the amount of fuel that can be stockpiled at any time.  Therefore, plane owners are at the mercy of the market value of jet fuel, which can vary wildly from day to day and from region to region.

Plane owners can also be at the mercy of their own flight crew.  The dilemma: have a part time crew that must be called in advance, or pay for a full time crew with salaries and benefits.  Flight crews include pilots, navigators, cabin support staff, maintenance workers, and baggage handlers.  Not only would the employer of these crewmembers need to provide workers’ compensation insurance and other benefits, but the owner would be responsible for a massive insurance policy to cover the actual aircraft.

Finally, the owner of an aircraft who no longer wants to pay such continued costs must find a buyer for the plane.  Given the actual price tag, and the aforementioned hidden costs, many savvy individuals are reluctant to buy their own plane.  The idea of buying an aircraft is like the concept of buying a hotel room: it is much better to pay for things when they are actually used.

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Corporate Charters, LLC - your strategic broker for global on-demand aircraft charter. Corporate Charters does not own or operate any aircraft. Corporate Charters acts as an agent of its customers to arrange for charter flights that are operated by certificated Part 135 air carriers.