In recent years, the private aviation market has witnessed bankruptcies, closures and lawsuits. Whilst there has been a surge in new tech-based charter providers emerge in the market, not all have succeeded. When you’re researching which jet card programmes to consider, it ultimately comes down to transparency and ensuring you choose a programme that suits your requirements from a company that is reputable, stable and trustworthy. Diligence and research is key when investing in such a high value product, so you can be confident your chosen jet card programme will deliver on its promises.
Research the private jet company as well as the jet card programme
Get to know the company and its background. Any company should be happy to be transparent and discuss any questions or details with you. As a listed company on the London Stock Exchange, some of this information about Air Partner is available online, but we would always be happy to discuss the company in detail with you - from our founding back in 1961, to where are key offices are based and how we have evolved into a global aviation services group and what this means for you as a JetCard member. It is also useful to speak with a current client, so you can get a real and honest understanding of their experience why they have chosen the programme and company.
Know exactly what is covered as part of the jet card programme, and what isn’t
Whilst it rarely happens, its important to know what the programme covers should you need to divert due to weather conditions, or if the aircraft you have booked goes ‘tech’ and is unable to accommodate your flight. Air Partner have a unique CharterPLUS guarantee as part of the JetCard programme, meaning that you are guaranteed a replacement aircraft for your flight to a value of up to 150% of the original cost. Not all programmes are this flexible and may incur extra fees for alternative plans. Should weather conditions change or are unfavourable, you want to ensure your programme is flexible and agile enough to quickly respond and activate a ‘plan B’ to get you to your destination as smoothly as possible. You will also want to know who you will be able to contact in this situation. We have a 24 hour global Operations team, which is made up of highly experienced professionals in flight planning and charter management. This means that you will always be able to speak directly with an expert who has the knowledge to advise the best alternative plans and activate them immediately. Your personal Account Manager will also be alerted immediately of any changes and will be contactable.
Have peace of mind that the private jet company is safe
The priority of any flyer, you want to be unwaveringly confident that you are flying in the safest environment possible and every measure has been taken to ensure your safety. Ask about their safety regulations, and if they’re a charter broker, understand their auditing process their partners go through. Being an unregulated industry, the importance of using a reputable and safe company for private jet charter cannot be emphasised enough. Air Partner’s priority is safety, and we have a number of rigorous regulations and measure in place to ensure our clients’ safety. One example is our twin-engine, twin-pilot rule – we would never fly a customer on a single engine aircraft or with just one pilot.
Understand your jet card programme contract
For such a high value and often complex purchase, you would expect an equally complex contract. Many jet card programmes will require this and it is essential to clearly understand the terms. For example, some contracts will tie you in for a certain number of years with a specified annual hour usage. For any hours above and beyond this, you would incur a charge and any unflown hours are lost, not carried over to the next year. An agreement, whilst still with binding terms, offers a slightly more flexible option. Air Partner’s agreement has no contractual terms that specify the length of your membership or the lifetime of your hours. Once purchased, your hours are yours to use when you need them.
Know you’re not taking a financial risk
Assess the financial stability of the company you are purchasing from and research how they are funded. Are they financially stable? Do they have the backing to deliver long-term on you programme? If you have funds on account, are they kept in a secure and separate account? As a plc, Air Partner’s finances are transparent. We have grown in recent years to bolster and stabilise our business through acquiring aviation specialist companies outside of charter, including a safety and training consultancy (Baines Simmons), a fatigue risk management company (Clockwork Research) and a wildlife hazard management company (Safe Skys). All our JetCard members’ funds are held in a separate account. Whilst the initial investment of a jet card programme is large, JetCard mitigates the risk by offering a refund of your remaining JetCard balance at any time. Should your financial situation or flying requirements change, you aren’t tied into any future payments and with your full refund, you won’t lose out on any unflown hours.
If you are looking for advice or information on choosing a jet card programme, get in touch here with one of our specialist team who would be delighted to advise and assist you.