Five Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering an Aircraft Purchase

Pilatus PC-12 on a grass runway

Like many industries, private aviation is facing increased market demand, but there just are not enough aircraft or other available options to accommodate the surging demand. Buying a whole aircraft sounds like a great solution, but in addition to the hassles of managing an aircraft, manufacturers are reporting months or even years for delivery despite increased production. As expected, this has also caused a dramatic increase in aircraft pricing over the past 18 months. The situation isn’t completely dire, however, as there are other solutions for consideration. Here are five questions to consider when weighing options for private flight solutions:

  1. How many hours do you fly annually?

Typically, if you fly less than 200 hours annually, a whole aircraft is not a good fit. When you factor in the cost of maintenance, pilots, and hangaring, the management costs of an underutilized aircraft far outweigh the value of flying privately.

  1. What is your budget to acquire an aircraft now and for the near future?

Understanding your budget is key to preparing for the expected costs of maintaining an aircraft. What will regular, ongoing maintenance cost? How much should you reserve for unexpected maintenance? What are the operational costs to hangar the aircraft and hire a crew? The annual cost of maintenance and operations can easily exceed their purchase price.

  1. Where do you want to fly?

Do you need to fly to large metro hubs or smaller airfields in remote areas? Understanding your expected destinations will help you determine the type of aircraft you need. Some aircraft, like the Pilatus PC-12, are equally at home in either situation. It is capable of landing on runways as short as 2,000’ but can also access larger hubs with the comfort of a spacious cabin and interior cargo. Large jets may get you to cities with ease but won’t be able to get you close to your vacation home on that small Bahamian island.

  1. Should I consider charter?

The on-demand nature of charter flights would be a great benefit if it could be more reliable in both consistent service and pricing. The charter industry also suffers from increased demand, making flights difficult to come by. Prices can fluctuate greatly without warning on peak travel days. Depending on the operator, you may not know the age and maintenance quality of the aircraft, nor the training and qualifications of the pilots. Membership programs and jet cards are sometimes another alternative to charter flights, but numerous blackout dates, unpredictable pricing, and service issues should be considered.

  1. How can I own an aircraft and fly privately for a fraction of the cost?

Fractional ownership offers a reliable solution and provides all the on-demand benefits of whole aircraft ownership and charter but with much more reliability and financial feasibility. Share owners enjoy guaranteed availability, no blackout dates, predictable costs, and world class service aboard a state-of-the-art fleet. By buying just the share size to fit one’s flight needs, costs are more easily managed. As an added bonus, all maintenance, pilot hiring and scheduling, and other operational needs are managed for the owners as part of the program, taking the hassle out of aircraft ownership.

To learn more about fractional shares with the PlaneSense® program to fit your business or leisure flights, contact us today at 866-214-1212.

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