Private jets in North America logged a record number of flights through the end of this summer, with no sign of that trend slowing down. Complementing the boom: creative new business models that make private flying easier for first-timers. Jettly recently launched an Expedia-inspired search engine where guests fill in needs such as departure and arrival locations, travel dates and number of passengers. “The query goes out to hundreds of operators,” says Jettly CEO Justin Crabbe. “You then get the quotes in hours.”
Rather than receiving a typical commission, Jettly charges an annual membership fee for use of its service, which also includes client reviews of operators. “Cancellation and change policies as well as payment terms are all up front, so the client is protected,” Crabbe says.
Meanwhile, Verijet is using the Cirrus G2 Vision Jet to create a single-model fleet that promises lower charter costs than other light jets. With 28 seating configurations, Garmin’s Autoland “Safe Return” function and an aircraft parachute, the G2 is popular with private pilots, but Verijet CEO Richard Kane saw its potential as a regional charter aircraft. “Its short-field landing ability lets us bypass traditional hub-and-spokes by providing access to 4,500 local airports,” Kane says. Verijet’s locations in Florida and California offer flights within a 700-mile radius using its fleet of 10 G2s, though Kane expects a stable of 25 jets by early 2022. The company’s 100-hour Founder’s Club card has an impressive hourly rate of $2,500, while the costs for the 50- and 25-hour cards are $2,800 and $3,000, respectively.
Or maybe you prefer to pay with crypto? Kyle Patel was working for an aviation charter firm when a client inquired about Bitcoin payments and “the owner just laughed,” he says. Seeing an opportunity, Patel created BitLux, a charter firm accepting digital currency, which can be faster than moving money through traditional channels. Half of BitLux’s business is crypto-based, with revenues expected to double by year’s end. “We don’t target crypto customers,” says Patel. “They get it. What we offer are options that go beyond traditional air-charter firms.”