Runway Guide: Fractional Jet Ownership vs. Whole Aircraft Ownership

July 1, 2022

If your intentions are set on private jet ownership, there are only a select few programs that can truly give you reigns of your preferred jet. As one of the more exclusive experiences in modern travel, whole or fractional jet owners are often in a class all their own. Finding solid, relatable information on this nuanced topic is crucial to curating the service for your lifestyle.

After taking careful stock of your own needs, interests, and goals with the programs your preferred provider may offer – what’s next? Below, we’ve described some key differences between fractional jet ownership and whole aircraft ownership, in addition to some helpful information on uncovering the cost of a whole private jet as well as program structure and commitments.

Whole Aircraft Ownership Pricing

If a private jet lease, jet card, or on-demand charter options are simply too short-term for your vision, whole aircraft or fractional ownership may be the ideal solution for you.

At the highest end of the cost spectrum is outright private jet ownership. While this choice may provide unparalleled freedom, it does come with very significant financial considerations. Having complete control over your aircraft allows for advantages like customizable private jet interiors and cabin configuration, guaranteed access whenever you need to fly with no call-out time, and an intensely personalized experience that makes the cost of a whole private jet worth it, for some.

Unlike private jet lease or fractional ownership, there are other operational and managerial aspects to consider on top of the overall price. Not only the initial (often multi-million dollar) investment but also many complex and unpredictable overheads, such as crew salaries and training, maintenance, management fees, fuel pricing, and insurance, to name just a few.

The very real cost of aircraft downtime is also another consideration, as all aircraft will require maintenance, sometimes unexpectedly – adding costs and the requirement to source alternative options when you need to fly.

Fractional Jet Ownership Pricing

Fractional private jet ownership can be appealing to frequent flyers who may have considered owning a whole aircraft but are looking for approachable and more predictable costs. Essentially, Owners secure the main benefits of whole aircraft ownership – consistency, guaranteed access, exceptional service, and personalization – for a fraction of the cost, and with none of the upkeep, maintenance, or crewing responsibilities.

However, there is one more distinct advantage to many fractional jet ownership models, because with the right private jet provider, your contract may grant you the ability to upgrade or downgrade your aircraft via other available fleet cabin classes. This is especially useful if you have missions of varying distance and occupancy, while also helping to eliminate the need for any supplemental charter flights, where things can be more unpredictable. Whole aircraft ownership also only allows access to your aircraft, which can present issues between scheduled maintenance or other instances of unforeseen downtime.

Designed for those who fly 50+ hours per year, fractional jet ownership typically allows you to make an initial purchase of shared equity in an aircraft, along with fixed and agreed-on annual private jet ownership cost, and an hourly transportation fee based on your actual flight time.

Share sizes range from 1/16th (50 hours) to 1/2 (400 hours) with each level giving an Owner a percentage of the 800 flight hours available per year on each aircraft. For example, a one-eighth share entitles an Owner to 100 flight hours annually, which is approximately 50,000 miles.

Other popular programs include most private jet lease programs (which give an all-in hourly cost-minimizing capital expenditure) and other type-specific private jet membership or jet card programs for those who fly less often.

How to Select a Private Jet Provider

When comparing private jet ownership providers, you are comparing many factors beyond costs, including the age and performance of the aircraft; quality of onboard service and amenities (such as catering and Wi-Fi); levels of personalization and flexibility; and operational details such as the primary service areas, peak days, and fuel price adjustments.

You should also be given a detailed explanation of the provider’s operational protocols including safety ratings, maintenance facilities, and flight crew training and experience thresholds.

The Fractional or shared ownership concept was created as an aircraft ownership solution that provides the benefits and exclusivity of outright private jet ownership, but without the large capital commitment and variable, sometimes unpredictable costs. Protection from the unpredictable costs associated with aircraft upkeep and management can be the ultimate peace of mind.

At Flexjet we provide shared ownership of our premium fleet of the latest private jet aircraft, which includes the Embraer Phenom 300, Praetor 500, Bombardier Challenger 350, and Gulfstream G450, Gulfstream G650, and soon the Gulfstream G700.

In addition to consistency and guaranteed availability, when you fly on Flexjet’s shared ownership fleet you benefit from the exceptional safety and service culture of one of the world’s leading private aviation groups, offering modern, expertly-maintained aircraft with impeccable, high-spec interiors that consider every detail.

To discover more about our programs, contact our team via our website or call us at 866-473-0025.