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Fractional jets

Fractional Jet Ownership: Are There Better Options?

As the world evolves, so do the ways we travel. Private jet usage, once the exclusive domain of high net worth individuals or high-profile celebrities, has seen a significant surge, broadening its appeal to professionals and businesses across the globe.

This rise in demand has led to innovative ownership and leasing models designed to cater to varied needs. One of the most popular and time-tested models is fractional jet ownership. But is this the best option for you or your business? Let’s delve in.

what is fractional jet ownership?

Fractional jet ownership, in its simplest form, allows individuals or companies to own a “fraction” or “share” of a jet. Instead of bearing the burden of full ownership—with its immense costs and responsibilities—you buy into just a part of the aircraft. This typically grants you access for a predetermined number of hours per year.

The advantages are clear. With reduced upfront costs, you’re not tied down to the financial strain of a singular jet. Additionally, concerns like maintenance, crew hiring, and aircraft management are mostly handled by the provider. This ease makes fractional ownership especially appealing to those new to private aviation or those who fly between 50 to 400 hours annually.

Yet, it’s not without its pitfalls. Ongoing monthly management fees can quickly add up. There’s also the potential frustration of your jet being unavailable during peak times, even though you technically “own” part of it. And like a car, jets can depreciate over time, which might not provide the return on investment some shareholders expect.

These pros and cons bring forth the question: Are there better alternatives to fractional ownership?

alternative options to fractional ownership

When considering private jet travel, several alternatives offer a range of benefits and flexibility, depending on individual needs and preferences.

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on-demand jet charter

This model is as straightforward as it sounds: book a jet when you need it. With no long-term commitments or upfront costs, on-demand chartering offers a plethora of aircraft choices suitable for every journey. Plus, you can avoid monthly management fees, paying only for your time in the air—and you can easily switch the type of jet you’re chartering based on different flight needs, unlike fractional, where you’re locked into only one type of jet with sometimes limited ability for cabin-size interchange.

At Magellan Jets, we source our charters from our Magellan Jets Preferred Network, our thoroughly vetted and continuously audited global network of aircraft operators and crews. You’ll work with a dedicated Private Aviation Consultant, who will go to market on your behalf to find an aircraft that best fits your travel needs. Our consultant will then give you a range of charter quotes—or, you can use our interactive quote tool to get instant charter quotes.

However, prices can be unpredictable, varying based on demand, aircraft availability, and travel dates. Furthermore, while there’s a wide selection of aircraft (the entire private aviation charter market is at your disposal), there’s no truly guaranteed aircraft availability, especially during peak seasons. 

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jet cards

Think of Jet Cards as debit cards for chartered flight hours. Purchasers prepay for a block of hours on a specific type or category of jet. This model offers flexibility at a fixed rate—there’s no long-term commitment (your contract commonly lasts 12 months), and users can often select from various aircraft types based on their trip’s requirements, conveniently interchanging between cabin sizes.

There’s tremendous value in locking down a fixed rate; if you or your firm are worried about potential market changes driving up the cost of your flying, a Jet Card is a great way to recession-proof your private aviation portfolio. While purchasing a Jet Card can still be quite an upfront investment, it’s extremely helpful for non-frequent fliers, those who’d like a backup plan when their personal jets are undergoing maintenance, and those who would like to avoid monthly management fees. Plus, your capital won’t be tied up in a depreciating asset.

Magellan Jets offers the widest variety of aircraft options of any Jet Card program on the market, with four premium aircraft-specific cards and four cabin-category cards. We also offer a 15-Hour Jet Card as an introduction to the world of Jet Card Ownership. Furthermore, our Jet Card program is the most customizable, allowing you to personalize your card via our industry-first Build-A-Card tool.

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full jet ownership

With full jet ownership, you possess total control over your aircraft. This means unrestricted access, the freedom to customize interiors, and even the possibility of generating charter revenue—you can work with a partner like Magellan to earn passive income by letting others fly on your jet when you aren’t using it. Additionally, full ownership can offer significant tax benefits, depending on jurisdiction and usage.

However, with great luxury comes great responsibility. The initial investment is considerably high, often extending into tens of millions of dollars. Additionally, owners must grapple with maintenance, crew salaries, and insurance costs, or hire an aircraft management company to handle all of these responsibilities for them. Underutilization can also be a concern; if you’re not flying frequently, the asset might not justify its overhead. Remember, unlike the aforementioned flying methods, when you own the jet, you’ll be paying for it even when you aren’t using it. 

Aircraft ownership does, however, make sense for some frequent-flier clients. If you’re interested in owning your own jet, Magellan offers Aircraft Sales Consultation services—but the real benefit in working with Magellan is that the company helps aircraft owners with all aspects of their travel portfolio. We’re with you after the point of sale, helping you establish a comprehensive Aircraft Management plan. Meanwhile, we’ll help you offset part of your ownership costs by making your aircraft available to our charter and Jet Card guests if you so choose. 

FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING THE BEST OPTION

Choosing the best private jet option is no small feat and requires careful consideration of several factors:

  • Travel Frequency: If you’re jet-setting multiple times a month or hundreds of hours per year, full ownership or fractional ownership might be worth it. For those flying 25-100 hours annually, Jet Cards are a better option, and for those flying under 25 hours, we recommend charter.
 
  • Flight duration: For short, regional trips, you might not need the capabilities of a large, transcontinental jet. Conversely, international business travelers might prioritize larger, more comfortable cabins.
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  • Budget constraints: Upfront costs vs. ongoing fees should be weighed. While full ownership has high initial costs, fractional ownership comes with recurring management fees that can accumulate.
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Aircraft preference: Some individuals might have a preference for a specific jet model or brand due to its amenities, range, or performance. It’s easier to get the specific aircraft you want when you charter—or fly with a flexible Jet Card program like the one offered by Magellan, which lets you seamlessly interchange between different aircraft types. When you fly with a fractional share, you’ll be locked into one specific type of aircraft.

The right fit hinges on a mix of practicality, budget, and personal preference. The beauty of today’s private aviation market is its variety, ensuring there’s an ideal solution for every potential jet traveler.

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other models of aircraft usage

Beyond traditional ownership and Jet Cards, the industry has seen a rise in more flexible, on-demand solutions tailored to the evolving needs of modern travelers.

Jet leasing

Leasing a jet is like leasing a luxury car. It provides consistent access to a specific aircraft for an extended period without the responsibilities of ownership. Generally, while the owner of the aircraft retains the jet’s legal title, the lessee actually has use of the aircraft.

A distinct advantage is the fixed monthly cost, which allows you to circumvent the large up-front capital investment required for owning your own jet outright. However, as with any lease, there’s an inherent commitment—usually multiple years in length—and there’s the potential risk of underutilizing the aircraft.

Jet Clubs or membership models

In this model, by paying a monthly or annual membership fee, users gain access to a fleet or network of aircraft. This system often combines the benefits of Jet Cards and on-demand charters, offering both priority booking and a range of aircraft options.

Still, costs can be steeper than other options, especially if you don’t utilize the service frequently. Plus, flyers are typically limited to the fleet the club maintains. Jet Card Owners typically have access to more favorable hourly rates, more aircraft flexibility, and perks like shorter callout times, catering, WiFi, and more.

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the future of private jet travel

As we navigate the skies of the 21st century, the future of private jet travel is set to be marked by rapid advancements and changing priorities. Beyond traditional conveniences, emerging trends promise to redefine the essence of private aviation, offering travelers an evolved, holistic experience. Here’s a glimpse of what to expect:

Jet-sharing platforms: Emulating the “ride-sharing” model, these platforms allow individuals to book seats on private jets rather than chartering the entire plane, potentially democratizing luxury travel. 

Electric and hybrid planes: As sustainability becomes central to every industry, electric and hybrid planes promise reduced emissions, potentially altering cost structures and broadening the appeal of private flight.

Environmental concerns: As the global conversation around climate change intensifies, we could see more carbon offset programs, sustainable fuel options, and new aircraft designs prioritizing eco-friendliness.

In this ever-evolving landscape, the avenues to private flight are only set to expand, offering more choices and considerations for potential flyers.

Businessman and flight attendant laughing on corporate jet

personal preferences and the drive for convenience

In an era where time is premium, convenience and customization are key. Personal preferences and experiences are playing an increasingly pivotal role in shaping the choices of potential jet travelers.

From onboard amenities to personalized flight schedules, private aviation is not just about reaching a destination. It’s about the journey itself, and travelers are looking for bespoke experiences that reflect their lifestyles and values.

The modern traveler seeks seamlessness. Jet services that integrate with digital platforms, offering ease of booking, real-time updates, and even virtual tours of available aircraft, have become increasingly popular. The synergy between technology and luxury travel ensures that not only is the flight opulent, but the process of securing it is hassle-free and intuitive.

Beyond the allure of luxury, many private jet travelers are driven by more pragmatic concerns. In an interconnected world, ensuring your security, from personal data to physical safety, becomes key. Many choose private aviation as a way to maintain their privacy, whether for business confidentiality or personal peace of mind.

Lastly, private jet terminals and lounges are becoming networking hubs for the elite. Engaging in these exclusive circles provides opportunities for business and social connections, adding another layer of value to the private aviation experience.

By prioritizing these aspects, private aviation companies are ensuring that they offer more than just a flight; they provide an entire ecosystem tailored to the discerning traveler.

finding the right fit in the skies

With every model and service, the focus of private jet travel remains on providing unparalleled experiences, convenience, and luxury. Whether it’s the complete control of full ownership, the flexibility of on-demand charters, or the predictability and reliability of Jet Cards, there’s an option tailored for every need.

Magellan’s Private Aviation Consultants are eager to serve as your guide to the many ways to fly privately. They will conduct a portfolio review, making sure you understand the intricacies of all of your options and the costs involved—both immediate and long-term—to make sure they align with your personal or corporate travel needs. Ready to discover the Magellan Jets difference? Submit your information below to request a portfolio review today. 

contact our private aviation consultants

Please submit your information via this form and a Private Aviation Consultant will be in touch shortly—or call 877-550-5387 for immediate assistance.

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