Aviation News

As we are still in the strange reality of COVID-19, how is the aviation sector continuing to evolve to the new ways of working? Here we explore the latest news from aviation, keeping you up to date.

UK and quarantine

Apart from the seeming impossibility of flight and social distancing, the UK 14-day quarantine is the leading threat to the aviation sector. The UK, in an attempt to encourage the recovery of the economy, has issued flight resumption guidance. However, this guidance has come with something of a sting in the tail.

First, the Minister for Transport, Grant Shapps still maintains that the advice should be that UK people to avoid all non-essential travel is to be avoided. Therefore, the hope there would be a rush to book holidays has been squashed. Even if people wanted to ignore the advice coming out of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, such advice would make getting travel insurance impossible.

More pressingly, on return from a trip, those who have travelled would need to self-quarantine for 14 days. Therefore, any two-week holiday would necessarily take a month out of the year.

 It is likely that this news is more challenging for business travellers who may have hoped to resume trips to The City. It would be wholly impractical to arrive for a day of business meetings to then be expected to stay in the country two weeks before you could interact.

While there has been talk of opening air bridges with other countries, it seems unlikely while the UK is one of the hardest-hit countries in the world. There are few other countries that couldn’t claim they are in a better situation than the UK, making any quarantine farcical.

And then there is the price war

The bounce back from the virus will not be easy. While companies make their first steps into the resumption of operations, they are dealing with a global recession and a consumer base that is reticent to get back onto an aeroplane. There is going to be a struggle to get cash flowing through these airline businesses once more.

In an attempt to lure those afraid to fly back into the air, many European airlines are dramatically cutting prices. The thought process is sensible. To build confidence in the safety of flying in the time of an airborne virus is essential. Once people have climbed back on board once, consumer confidence will return.

EasyJet is selling millions of seats at about £30 while operating about half its routes in July and August. Rival Ryanair is also cutting fairs by a massive 50% to tempt people back. Ryanair is clear though, seat demand will direct pricing policy. Wizz Air, another European low-cost airline, is also significantly cutting prices. Everyone is clamouring to be the first choice of the limited clientele available and so become the airline of choice when the recovery sets in.

Consequently, for many, this battle to see who can offer the cheapest flights feels a lot like a price war. However, with a reduction in demand so brutal, it might also be a reality of doing business at this time.

And then there is the airport

It might be easy to get distracted by the fate of the airlines. A photograph of an apron at an airport filled with parked aeroplanes is a powerful reminder of the money being lost. However, with no take offs and no passengers walking through terminals, airports also struggle to survive in this new time.

There are ten airports in Russia that have applied to the civil aviation regulator for subsidies, including Moscow’s Sheremetyevo. At the beginning of June, the Russian government issues a subsidy decree that promised partial reimbursements for loss of profits during the pandemic. The hope is that the state support will help continue the operation of airports while travel is interrupted.

Usually, Sheremetyevo would record 3.3 million passengers in a month. In April, it reported just 161,000 passengers. There is hope that the required subsidies will be approved in a matter of days, helping this airport to continue to trade in such difficult times.

Toilet News!

Sure, the headline of this update is a gratuitous attempt to grab your attention. Yet, there is a real issue here. How can you go to the toilet on an aeroplane in a world with a pandemic? There are a host of devices that mean you can go through most of life without touching surfaces but sitting on the toilet on a flight seems to be a deal-breaker. You would need impressively strong thighs to maintain a squat during even the mildest turbulence. Also, those cubicles are really small – no, really – so small. Keeping all body parts away from the edge of a toilet on a plane would be an act of contortionist brilliance.

Jokes aside, the need for cabin solutions is pressing. There is a need for a hands-free experience of using aircraft lavatories or a means of sanitising the area to keep passengers safe. The first move towards foot-controlled switches or infrared controls seems a sensible move. Also, devices will need to replace the need for wipes or paper towels too.

Airlines are going to have to cover all the bases in the future – and the toilets are definitely one of these bases. People on a long haul flight can’t be expected to hold on but equally have every right to worry about the safety of a confined area that could house a deadly virus.

Saving money with a private jet charter

You might find the headline of this article implausible. If you are looking to charter a plane, you are probably in the unique position of not worrying too much about money. However, a recent survey focused on the viability of private charter flights for the top CEOs of companies. The survey looked at the ratio between the CEOs hourly salaries, the cost of commercial flights and the flight time and the cost of private jets. It is likely that you will find the results surprising – or not – but let’s explore the issue in more depth.

The argument for private jets

You might need convincing of the arguments before we get to the case studies. You might be overwhelmed by the sense of extravagance of allowing executives to fly by private jet, even if you are comfortable with first-class travel. The main argument for the choice of a charter flight over first-class travel is the adage “time is money”.

The amount of time it takes on a commercial flight can make the saving you feel you are making disappear.  However, it is not just about flight time. Your executive will avoid the crowded terminals, security lines, the fight for early board and then the traffic issues that occur in airports. It is possible that chartering a flight could half the time devoted to travel. If you look at the salaries of executives, you could, therefore, save significant amounts by reducing the journey time by this amount.

In the following case studies, the travel times quoted are the fastest commercial flights available. The calculations also assume that a CEO works 40 hours per week for every week of the year.

Case Study 1: The McKeeson Corporation

 McKeeson Corporation is a giant in the pharmaceutical sector. The CEO, in June of 2020, is John Hammergren, who enjoys a salary of $131.2 million a year or a crazy $63,077 an hour. It is fair to point out that Hammergren is the highest paid Chief Executive in America.

The CEO is based in San Francisco and spends a lot of time travelling to Quebec in Canada, the HQ of the company in this country. If we include time spent at the airport and the likely layover at Toronto, the saved time would be over 10 hours. Therefore, the cost of this journey in time and money is well over $600,000.

If you were to hire a nine-seat Citation Sovereign, the flight would be about five hours. It could cost about $40000 to hire the plane. Therefore, the saving is about $350,000 – a crazy amount of money. This assumes that the savings on time would be huge.

Case Study 2: Charter Communication

In June 2020, the CEO of Charter Communication is Thomas Rutledge. The salary for running a major telecommunications company is $98 million a year. This equates to over $47000 an hour. The HQ of the company is in Connecticut but the main operations take place in St Louis, Missouri. This flight takes three domestic flights, stopping in Atlanta and Detroit before arriving in Connecticut. The travel time is eight hours.

This means that the cost in time for Rutledge to make this journey commercially would be $47000 times by eight plus the addition of a first-class ticket. The cost would come in about $380,000. However, hiring an eight-seat Learjet 75 will take two hours and 5 minutes and would cost $18500. Therefore, the saving of time would be epic – and so would the cost – with a price saving of over £250,000. You would also imagine that Rutledge would let other executives in the company hitch a ride between the head office and the main production base – so the savings would be even more dramatic.

Case Study 3: Ralph Lauren Corporation

The CEO of Ralph Lauren Corporation in June 2020 is the man himself – an icon in the fashion world. It is easier to imagine that such a superstar in such an industry would fly in his personal jet. Oddly, for being such a legend, Lauren commands a mere $66.7 million a year or about $32000 an hour. Lauren frequently flies between American and the HQ in Geneva. From New York to Geneva the total flight time is 10 hours and 5 minutes – with a wait in Milan for your connection.

You would need a bigger jet for an international flight. Therefore, hiring a 16-seat Gulfstream G-IV costs about $80000 and takes only about 7 hours. Therefore, Lauren will save about $47000 by hiring that private jet.

Benefits beyond cost

There are more benefits to chartering a flight for such top executives. Although the top execs are used to working in first class, it is much more efficient to work on a private jet. There is also the chance to enjoy the privacy and confidentiality for conversations, which is a distinct worry for those looking to protect intellectual property. Most jets are outfitted with worktables, WiFi and fully equipped conference rooms. Therefore, you can bring along other professionals and carry on important work.

There is also a reduction in stress for top CEOs. To fly commercial is challenging. It requires a lot of queuing and a sense of loss of control, as you are at the whims of the airport and airline. Although the physical exhaustion of flying commercial will be significantly higher than flying private charter, the emotional exhaustion will be intense. Therefore, hiring a private jet would be seen as a commitment to the continued well being of the talent and human capital in the company.

Aviation and carbon neutrality

The net-zero promise of the aviation industry has always been aspirational. However, this period of downtime during the pandemic has heightened the reality of the damage that flight is doing to the planet. The clear skies and the alpine air have brought into clear relief the impact of aviation of the environment.

The Guardian newspaper called the pledge that the aviation industry could be carbon neutral by 2050 as “just the right side of plausible.” However, more ardent critics of the sector have called this a greenwash, a promise made to make it seem like those in the industry care but with no plans to do anything about it.

The high-minded promises of February might now hold the aviation sector a hostage to fortune. People see clearly now how planes impact our world and will now be fully committed to the elaborate promises.

The promises made

At an event in London, bosses from airports, airlines and aircraft manufacturers gathered to sign a card pledging themselves to the Sustainable Aviation campaign. Despite more than 100 million more people travelling by air each year before the pandemic, they were signing up to a zero-carbon target. So, not only are they expected to be able to combat current levels of carbon but that they will be able to cope with the projected 70% more flights expected by 2050.

The promises these company leaders made demonstrates a faith in the future. There is a sense that future fuels and aircraft tech will make carbon a non-issue. It might be that the tech no longer emits carbon or that there is an endless capacity for humans to offset the carbon produced by flight. The sector has five major plans that they help will help them be carbon neutral in the next 30 years.

1.       Carbon offset and carbon removal technology

2.       Carbon pricing and the reduction in demand for flying

3.       Development of sustainable aviation fuels

4.       Improved efficiency of aircraft and their engines

5.       Great efficiency in operations and use of airspace.

Are the promises realistic?

One solution, to produce more efficient aircraft technology is already emerging. There are aircrafts such as the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350 that emit significantly less carbon than the jets they are replacing. These aeroplanes use much lighter materials and have more efficient engines. Routes operated by Boeing should see a 30% reduction in carbon emissions within a decade. By 2030, it is thought that there will be more efficient propulsion on all routes around the globe.

Beyond 2030, hopes are being pinned on new electric planes that might revolutionise regional flights and hybrid technology that would facilitate short-haul trips.

Another potential solution is the creation of synthetic and sustainable jet fuel.  The need for a different fuel is an acknowledgement that longer flights, such as those from London to Singapore, will never be achieved with an electrical engine. Therefore, sustainable fuel will be an essential component in the overall solution to carbon emissions.

The concept of sustainable fuel has been proven to be possible. However, the barrier is creating this fuel in volume. There are new schemes backed by British Airways, which hope to create jet fuel from household waste. Rolls-Royce has also been exploring the nuclear option – literally hoping to see if a small modular nuclear reactor could be used in a synthetic fuel plant and so making hydrocarbon-based fuels with fewer emissions. The hope is that innovation in the next 10 to 20 years will provide solutions that we do not yet have.

A third solution could be to improve routes, so that planes fly straighter. Managing the airspace above a country is complex and a lot of work needs to be done to make this use of space more efficient. Coordinating flights would make only a minor impact on the carbon neutrality of the aviation sector but it is significant enough to consider making the effort.

Finally, and probably the least likely to be embraced by the sector is an increase in the cost to fly. The more expensive the tickets the fewer people that could afford to fly. Low-cost airlines such as RyanAir work on bulk. They pack a plane to its fullest at the lowest price, making a profit by the number of people on board. This strategy would be destroyed by a carbon tax on tickets.  Yet, as sustainable fuels are more expensive, airlines might have no choice but to raise the price of tickets.  Consequently, the new fuels will have the dual impact of reducing emissions each time planes fly and reducing the demand for air travel.

Survive and meet the target

Therefore, the aviation industry faces a significant challenge. Not only do they need to survive a global recession, work out how to manage a flight and the COVID-19 guidance, coax a nervous customer back into the air – but they also have to develop the technology that will help them defend the environment. They need to push innovation. If they do not find the right technologies, they will need to find a way to counter a backlash to flying. They will need to promote the essential role the aviation sector plays in our lives, connecting the world and sustaining vital supply chains.

It is clear that the next 10 years will define the future of the sector. With so many challenges, there is a significant need for thought leaders to map out a route to success in the face of existential threats.

Some remote US destinations to tempt you to travel

Alright, so we can’t really consider a holiday just yet. We are still being advised to travel locally and stay at home as much as possible. Yet, this doesn’t mean we can’t dream and there are some choices available that would make travel a reality much sooner than you might think.

If your urge to travel has only been super-powered by the sense of isolation, then you might be surprised to find out that you could jump on a charter flight to some remote destinations and be at no greater risk to yourselves or to others. Sound interesting? Let’s explain some more.

Travelling by charter plane

Your first barrier to travel will be the flight. All transportation experts suggest that travelling on public transport and social distancing will not work. There are very few global airlines that could always afford to fly a service at 25% capacity. Even if you could get on a plane, you might find sharing air with a host of strangers is a risk too far.

Fortunately, chartering a jet is a possibility – and one that could be made manageable with some clever matchmaking with other families close to you. When you charter a plane, you can modify your itinerary in the way that suits your hopes for the holiday and will keep your family the safest. You can, for instance, avoid all the major hubs. Many of the exclusive destinations are accessible with a charter plane and only the briefest of car journeys.

Your potential destinations

For some people, a holiday is about finding peace and living as a recluse in a faraway hideaway. This means we are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit places where we can easily socially distance.  Let’s take you through some of the most tempting US destinations.

Post Ranch Inn, California

If you are going to charter a plane and celebrate being alive, you might as well do it in style. The Post Ranch Inn offers an upscale retreat, which is a euphemistic way of saying you will pay through your nose for luxury and beauty. However, this is a secluded resort with only 39 rooms sat on a 1200-foot cliff overlooking the Pacific. The site offers guided hiking, yoga, and tours of the chef’s garden. To top off the experience, there is an award-winning wine cellar. OK, now I am sold!

Mustang Monument, Nevada

Animals and nature, in general, have flourished since we were asked to shelter at home. Therefore, now is the perfect time to connect with the outdoors and see what the world has to offer. Mustang Monument is an eco-resort that is dedicated to the protection of wild mustang horses. If you want to get lost in the Old West, then this is the place for you.

You can take part in adventure activities such as archery and off-road excursions, as well as expeditions to see the wild mustangs. However, if you want something a lot more relaxing, then you should take in some of the spa treatments.

Amanguri, Utah

This resort is part of the Aman Resort group, so you can be guaranteed the experience will be one of luxury and decadence. The Amangiri is like an oasis in the Utah desert, which itself is a stunning landscape of raw beauty. Landing at the nearby Page Municipal Airport, you will be able to move through the terminal checks without meeting a soul and arrive at the resort in a matter of minutes.

The resort itself is a massive 25000 square metre spa and hotel. There are not only foot spas, water pavilions and private outdoor pavilions, you are also encased in a 600-acre private sanctuary. The menus offer at this resort are inspired by the Navaho and the focus is always on sustainability.

You can isolate yourself at the resort and not worry about doing anything other than relaxation and admiring the sites natural beauty. However, there are opportunities to use the resort as a base from where you can visit Lake Powell and other national parks close by.

Rabbit Hill Inn, Vermont

Rather than the southwest, how about popping up to the northeast. The Rabbit Hill Inn was voted the best hotel in the northeast in 2019 and is a 19-room romantic getaway. The inn has done all it can to put COVID-19 protocols in place and although you will share the venue with others, you will be kept safely distanced. You can easily access the inn from Caledonia County Airport, with only a 20-minute drive once you land.

You will enjoy your luxury room with its own fireplace and mountain view. It even has double whirlpool baths – not a bad experience with a bottle of bubbly. The food is locally sourced and traditional recipes from the region – and there are a host of craft beers to enjoy.

Is it the right time?

People are rightly cautious of stepping out into the world again. We have been asked to put our lives on hold and given stern warnings about the consequences of infection. Although it will cost a little more, chartering a flight to remote getaway resorts could be the holiday you need. Travel by jet and access to these resorts will help you maintain the biosecurity protocols that are so vital to our health – while at the same time giving you a chance to get away from the stresses of these strange times.

Private Flight in the Time of COVID-19

The private jet sector, like all aviation and most of society, has been rocked by the pandemic. The closing of national borders has disrupted the transportation industry most of all. Since March, as with the major airlines, private jet businesses have been helping with the repatriation efforts. There was much need to bring families back home from holiday and businesspeople back to base. At a time of such fear and uncertainty, this was an essential service.

However, it is not all doom and gloom for the private jet companies. Private aviation could have an opportunity to step up and offer a lifeline for those who must fly but want to avoid social interaction and potential infection with the virus. But, is private flight any safer in the time of a pandemic? Here we explore what it would be like to take a private plane in the time of COVID-19.

Getting to the airport

Obviously, the private flight would not be practical if you have to travel a great distance to the airport. Fortunately, most jets flight from regional hubs, so you can quickly get a car transfer to the airport. This car journey will allow passengers to stay within the family group that they have been isolating with or with a group less than 6, which most guidance suggests should keep you relatively free from risk.

If you do travel in a car with others, it is probably best to fit yourself out with gloves and masks and make sure the interior of the vehicle is thoroughly cleaned before people get in. It is better to overdo the precautions than to regret any shortcuts.

Again, once landed, the frequency of airports available as hubs for private flights makes is reasonable to drive to your final destination. Also, you can limit your contact with others before getting to your venue. In countries where you may be expected to quarantine on arrival, you can be sure to get to the private dwelling without risking the local population.

Arriving at the airport

What probably separates private flight most from airline travel is the experience at the airport. Rather than having to pass through a busy terminal, you will instead arrive at the FBO (Fixed Based Operator) which will be separate from the main facilities. You will only need to arrive 15 minutes before your departure, as to the many hours for normal flying. The security checks are quick and efficient and easy to minimise contact with other individuals.

You will find that all the staff at the FBO will be equipped with masks and gloves and will continuously be encouraged to use sanitising gel. The interactions with staff will be kept to a minimum, and it is unlikely you will be offered refreshments from a lounge or café area. You just need to be prepared for the fact that you will need your drinks in your containers.

Onboard the plane

It goes without saying that you won’t be shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of strangers on a private jet. Although many airlines are exploring how they can seat people every other seat, there will still be a lot of people breathing the same recycled air. As many aviation experts have noted, social distancing on an airline is improbable.

Obviously, on a private jet, you will remain with the same party of people. Usually, the captain and crew would meet you with a handshake in the FBO lobby. This has been eliminated in this time of the pandemic. They will come to greet you with a social distanced hello instead, as you still deserve to feel special. The crew will also wear masks and stay as distant as is possible while servicing your needs. Meals are prepared by a chef and transported to the plane with limited contact with any other people on-route.

You can make a private flight more affordable by matching up with other people who need to make the same journey. You can be confident that these people who share the trip with you have a proven negative test result for the virus. The more people on board, the more the private jet will offer some of the same threats as an airline. However, it is always within your control.

Between flights

The private jet company has a responsibility to make sure that your flight is as risk-free as possible. They are likely to take this responsibility seriously, as they will want to maintain the opportunity, they have available to them.

Consequently, when a flight is completed there will be rigorous cleaning and disinfecting. The jet will be thoroughly wiped down and vacuumed before any new passengers are allowed on board. Some companies have been treating their entire fleet with an antimicrobial protective coating.

A threat becomes an opportunity

As with other forms of travel, the smaller the number of people you share the space with the lesser the risk. Why would you take the underground at this time? But you might be happy to call for a taxi. Equally, you may struggle to believe it is safe to board a mass transit aeroplane with any certainty of safety. Consequently, this time of COVID-19 offers private jet companies a distinct opportunity to become the only logical choice for flight.

Aviation News This Week

It is no surprise that the world of aviation is dominated by the impacts of the current COVID-19 pandemic. The sector has been decimated by the closing of borders and the implementation of quarantine periods for travellers. So, as we enter June, it is clear that the new normal we are living in is dominating the news for everyone in the industry. Here are some of the highlights.

The global picture today

As of June 1st, the global airlines and their suppliers are suffering a heavy toll, with financial performance and future stability under pressure. Since January 2020, the number of commercial passenger flights has dropped by a massive 77%. In the US, the amount of air travel has fallen by 96%. The total lost revenue is forecast to be $252 billion. There is no industry that could survive such a loss in market in such a short time – and that is the reality facing airlines.

With an impact in day-to-day cashflow comes a hit on the stock market. Airline shares have shed about 60% of their value since the beginning of 2020. Many airlines, including EasyJet, Air Baltic and Turkish Airlines, have had their credit ratings downgraded, having been placed on a watchlist.

With layoffs in the airline sector, comes a ripple down effect down the supply chain. Engineering and manufacturing companies that service aviation is being forced to cut thousands of jobs too.

The route to survival

The aviation sector directly employs an estimated 10.2 million people. However, connected industries account for a further 65.5 million jobs across the world. There are whole communities that will be devastated if the aviation sector isn’t helped in its survival.

At this time, Gabriel Mocho Rodriguez of the International Transports Workers Federation (ITF) has emphasised the only solution that is likely to work. Governments, employers and trade unions need to work together to pull the sector out of these challenging times. He notes that the relationship between these stakeholders has been marked by inevitable disagreements. However, he is clear that without a single focus on the future, large chunks of the industry will not survive.

The ITF has come together with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to work closely with the World Health Organisation, the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the International Labour Organisation to shape a solution. Together, these sector leaders are working to shape the best guidance the right support measure to ride out this period. They are making what Rodriguez calls “extraordinary efforts” to maintain the vital role that the sector plays. Showing themselves to be indispensable, the airlines have been central to an effort to repatriate people, deliver medicines and vital medical equipment – and supporting the medical professionals on the frontline.

The government also has a role in aviation survival. They must work with the industry leaders to restore air connectivity in the safest way possible. Operations will need to be adapted, with the introduction of air bridges and social distancing protocols, but the airlines will need a route to flying once more.

One person’s crisis is another person’s opportunity

While the large global airlines may have taken a significant hit during the Corona Virus, the private aviation operators have seized on an opportunity. Companies such as WheelsUp, VistaJet and Jet Edge view this new normal as a period where they can consolidate their position.

The CEO of WheelsUp recognises that for private jet companies to make an impact there will need to be an effort made to democratise the experience. Kenny Dichter bites that there needs to be an increase in scale for newer customer experiences, something akin to that offered by Uber. While the prices are so high, private jets will always be limited in its market share. However, Dichter has led to an unprecedented level of acquisition and so hoping to increase the opportunity for more people to fly charter. The move to consolidate companies is hoped to improve the chances that private flight will become more mainstream.

The main problem they will face is that 95% of all commercial passenger travel is serviced by 150 of 19000 US airports – with a similar ratio experienced globally. Therefore, the power of regional hubs to service such an uptick in private air travel is likely to be a challenge. Without this access to regional airports, the passenger would be reluctant to commit to a long car trip to then board the plane.

A real-life case study

Bloomberg recently focused on real-life examples of the business community switching from first-class travel to a private jet. They cite the example of Brenda Marino, a real estate investor who often takes the most lavish and elaborate European vacations from her base in New Jersey. This year she is staying domestic – and opting for a private jet instead. She cites that the discounts on offer have made the possibility of private air travel irresistible. She is opting for a journey down to Florida on her chartered flight, where her family can be sure they maintain social distancing. There is little or no need to queue for security or boarding – making it a safer way to fly.

Private jet fares are said to be running currently at 20% lower than normal – thanks mostly to the drop in business travel. However, there are many opportunities for consumers to win greater discounts if they try their luck with an agent.

Michael Holtz of Smartflyer notes that there has been almost a 500% increase in interest in private jet charter since the start of the crisis. Although a two-hour trip can cost $20k for six people, making each ticket a weighty $3000+, many still feel this is a reasonable investment in the assurances of health and safety.

Some private jet companies are being inventive, by matchmaking clients who want to fly to the same destination. With such strategies, companies can continue to make the cost manageable and therefore a more viable option for those craving air travel.

The cost of hiring a private jet

First, we are entering the world of the luxurious and elite, so we don’t hire a private jet. Oh no, we charter that jet for your private use. Already, you think you are going to have to pay large for that luxury, privacy, and convenience. Well, let’s explore the key factors that go into costing the charter of a private jet and then work out what some of those journeys might end up doing to your bank account.

The key factors

There are three factors to impact on your costs. The first is the type of jet you choose, which will obviously be directly linked to the range you can fly. Second, there is the size of the jet, which again impacts on the range and the size of the passenger list. Finally, how long you wish to fly will have an obvious effect, as the further you go the more fuel is required. So, in short, you need t to consider:

·       Jet size and type

·       Flight distance

·       Level of demand

·       Number of passengers

·       Amount of luggage

·       Airport Fees

·       Refuelling and jet repositioning costs

You might think all this sounds like you should buy your aircraft. However, you are going to need a cool £120 million for a standard jet. You will then still need to fund the crew, the airport costs and the fuel, to name but a few. Therefore, chartering is cost-effective.

Chartering a turboprop or light jet

A turboprop or light jet include such planes as the Cessna or the Beechcraft. Such a plane will allow you to take a short domestic flight and will generally have space for up to six people. If you were hoping to make a short hop between New York and Boston in the US, a flight of 45 minutes, a turboprop such as Piper Cheyenne is perfect.

If you want to travel in a little more comfort, you might choose a light jet such as a Beechcraft King Air 200. This will cost you about £15000 for a flight from LA to Seattle. You will charter your plane by the hour. Therefore, you are looking at about £5000 per hour for your Beechcraft King Air 200. This plane gives you the necessary flight range of about 1800 miles needed for this domestic trip in the US – at a time of about 3 hours.

If you can fit six passengers on your jet, you are agreeing to a ticket price of £2500 per person for a flight between LA and Seattle.

Chartering a mid-size or super-mid-size jet

If you want to upgrade, the next level plane includes such names as the Learjet, Embraer and Gulfstream.

If you choose a mid-size jet, nine people can journey for about four hours. If you fancy a trip in a Bombardier Learjet 60 XR from San Francisco to Houston, you will pay about £30000. This means that you can share the costs of about £3300 per ticket. Alternatively, you upgrade a little to the Embraer Legacy 500 and pay about £50,000 to go from San Diego to Charlotte – a cool £5500 per person.

If take it up another level and choose the Gulfstream, you have a range of 6.5 hours. This gives you the opportunity for a decent international hop between Orlando and Lima in Peru. If you take the Gulfstream at £10000 per hour, you are looking at £65000 for your international flight or about £7000 per person.

Chartering heavy jet

We are now getting into serious aviation territory. Your planes, such as the Airbus, Boeing or Gulfstream, can carry 19 passengers with a decent amount of space to share. You will also be able to take a transatlantic flight, as the range increases significantly. Chartering a Bombardier Challenger 850, you can fly from Miami to Lisbon with 15 other people for £150,000. Your plane ticket will be a cool £10,000 for this flight.

There are ultra-luxury jets that come heavily customised to the passenger’s needs.  You can choose the Airbus A319CJ for instance, which is the most expensive private charter option. It will cost you a weighty £180,000 to carry 19 people from New York to London in eight hours. This is about £9500 per passenger but for this, you get an office, entertainment system, bedroom, and a bathroom.

It is possible to go for 14 hours in a private jet. Choosing a Gulfstream G550 allows you to fly from Washington DC to Tokyo for £16000 per hour. Therefore, this long-haul flight will cost you £224,000 for 19 people. However, you will travel in luxury, with a genuine option to sleep. Therefore, if you are a high-powered businessperson, whose time is money, this could offer a value option for your trip to Japan.

Clever schemes

It is likely that a lot of these figures are mind-blowing. Even if you could gather 18 of your best friends together to share your jet, you will still pay a lot for your ticket. However, there are multiple schemes around the world that are designed to help people experience private charter flights. For instance, there a start-up called Blackbird that allows you to book a flight on a scheduled flight with a small number of others, hitch a ride of a privately hire jet that has spare seats – as well as opt for a private charter of your own for a minimum of $1000. Costs are kept down by the company by using regional airports with lower landing costs.

Another clever idea is the air taxi run by Linear Air. You can call for a flight like you would an uber and the seats will be allocated to you where there might be spare seats. Therefore, it is possible for you to dream about a private jet flight – and with the current pandemic, it could be your only option for safe travel in the near future.

Aviation News

As June draws to a close, what are the stories dominating the aviation sector? Here we explore the stories that are raising eyebrows.

Israeli Financial Support

El-Al, which flies under the Israeli flag, has sought changes to a proposed funding mechanism. The troubled airline needs financial support to survive and insist that the government has not rejected their proposition as such.

El-Al’s proposal was an attempt to renegotiate a $400 million loan. The ministry countered with a reduced loan offer of $250 million and a request that the airline raises the remaining funds through a share offer. The Israeli ministry had proposed that the government buy any outstanding shares that were not taken up by investors. This measure could potentially give the government a 60% share of the airline and so send it into state ownership.

The ministry has not rejected any offer as yet, though they accept there is a need to address difficulties that the airline has with the counteroffer of the share package. The two parties continue the discussion and it is likely to influence the relationship with many airlines and their national governments in the next few months.

The golden age has passed

The airline sector was already under pressure with the rise of environmental concerns. Although passenger numbers before the virus were ever-increasing, the aviation sector was going to struggle to meet its carbon zero targets. Therefore, the chances of a severe recession, whether there was a pandemic or not, was likely.

The COVID-19 pandemic will result in forecast losses of $100 billion in the coming financial year. These losses are truly massive – and unprecedented. Anyone that claims they can truly predict the consequences is likely deluded.

There is talk of the consequences, of course. There are possibilities for mergers and acquisitions, as well as outright bankruptcy. It is highly likely that there will be many routes that go out of service. Therefore, there is a glut of new aircraft, storage and scrappage with no option for financial return or a return to production rates in the near future.

The airlines that might survive seems to be a matter of cash flow, agility in the marketplace and luck. However, until the chaos of the current climate calms down, it is hard to predict who these airlines might be.

Emirates bucks the trend

While many airlines are grounding planes and stopping routes, Emirates has resumed flights to ten more cities across June and July. By the end of July, the number of destinations they will serve will rise to 40.

Emirates has benefitted from the easing of travel restrictions from the Dubai government. This has enabled them to restore much more of their network than most. Flights to Sri Lanka began on the 20th June and service to Pakistan from 24th June. Only outbound passengers will be carried on these new services.

Emirates claim that the success in delivering services is thanks to the careful way that the government has handled the pandemic. It has allowed the airline to make moves that others are unable to make because of the situation in their home nations.

Legal matters continue no matter

Seemingly legal proceedings are resilient to times of upheaval. The law continues to be written no matter the global situation. The recent ruling from the European Court will be a relief to stressed EU airlines. The ruling says they can avoid paying delay compensation to passengers as a result of disruption from an unruly passenger.

Instances of disruptive passengers in the EU increased by 34% in 2018 – and in 2019 a passenger delayed a flight every three hours with their poor behaviour. Reasons for the delay include excessive alcohol, tampering with the toilet smoke alarms, threats to the crew, noncompliance with the crew and many more. It is not surprising that airlines needed support from regulation to prevent undue claims against their performance. However, there are clear signs that more needs to be done to promote good etiquette on flights for passengers.

Who should benefit from bailouts?

There are many who worry that government bailouts to airlines are a way of saving the rich and not those who really need the support. The rise in concern came when individuals such as Richard Branson were requesting financial support from the British government.

Donnachdh McCarthy called the support to the super-rich owners as “an unconscionable injustice that not only is our generation trashing the climate, but we are also landing future generations with huge financial debts to pay for the destruction.”

This is a strong opinion, but one founded in the damage done by carbon omissions to the planet. It also recognises that the billions to keep the same industry from going under.  However, there are alternative points to address. The aviation sector is an important jigsaw piece in the UK economy overall. Therefore, the success of airlines is directly linked to the health of all our pockets. While we might think it a good idea that the airlines have come down to earth with a crash due to the pandemic, it is difficult to palate the consequences if they are allowed to go under.

However, attitude to flying was already on the downturn. In a survey completed in Europe, people had already decided to reduce time in an aeroplane due to the worsening environmental conditions. 72% of those polled said they would support a carbon-tax and 62% suggested a complete ban on short-distance flights.

Aviation in June: A round-up

Corona Virus Disease of 2019, or COVID-19, has changed everything about our world in 2020. What started out as a news story in China has shaped a new reality across the globe. As the primary carrier of humans around the world, the airline industry has been significantly impacted. It has all but stopped passenger traffic, as well as impacting air cargo demand, airport workforce and any sort of revenue and cash flow. In short, it is a disaster that keeps on coming.

Here we have gathered all the latest updates from airports around the world. The news here should help you to build an understanding of the health of the sector and guide where you might travel in the coming months.

Vancouver International Airport

The airport has announced a new passenger confidence programme called YVR TAKEcare. The idea of this program is to support passengers as they travel through the airport during the time of COVID-19. Much of the damage done to airlines is yet to happen. While air travel is forced to stop because of government mandate, the airline sector can hope to get bailouts. However, when business resumes as “normal” consumer confidence will be the major barrier to future success in the sector. Therefore, this program by Vancouver International Airport could prove essential.

Ontario International Airport

Ontario International Airport faces the reality of being in a burgeoning US hotspot for the virus. The number of infections was rising daily in June in California to the point that news outlets were predicting new lockdown measures. The airport is working to increase customer confidence and offer the convenience of PPE for all who travel through the airport.

If you travel through the Southern Californian airport you will find self-service kiosks providing face covers, disposable gloves, disinfectant wipes, and hand sanitiser. This is the first airport in California to add these PPE kiosks as a way of safeguarding passengers, and it also continues to deep clean the facilities daily.

Airport Authority Honk Kong

THE AAHK has announced a relief package to be implemented for the local airport community, as the territory continues to be challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic. They are also reducing or waiving various fees for those in the aviation industry. This scheme started in March but hey have now extended it into August 2020.

Gatwick Airport

The news out of the UK is challenging for the aviation industry. The government has imposed a two-week quarantine for anyone flying into the country, which is sure to have a continued devastating impact on the ability of airports like Gatwick to function. Although there are talks about air bridges with other countries, the UK government is shying away from risks after experiencing some of the worst mortality numbers in the world.

Gatwick recently announced some good news though. Norwegian Airlines will resume flights from the airport from the 1st July. Gatwick have promised to put extensive measures in place to protect everyone on board, in line with guidance from national organisations.

London Heathrow Airport

Heathrow, like Gatwick, will feel the threat of government regulation. However, despite this, the airport announced that it has donated more than 5000 FFP3 face masks to the NHS, which brings the total number of masks donated to 16000. The healthcare workers at Hillingdon Hospital have been grateful for this essential PPE. The airport is also stepping in to help local schools. The organisation has given more than 70 laptops to local primary schools, bought with money donated from the Executive Team at the airport. Reaching out across the community in this way by being part of the humanity of the aviation sector when it too is struggling. It is also exceptional customer outreach that will position the airport as essential to the UK.

Frankfurt Airport

In May 2020, Frankfurt Airport recorded just over 270,000 passengers. This number represents a decline of 95.6% on numbers from the same month in 2019. The first five months of 2020 showed a decline of nearly 60% in footfall through this major international hub. The trend for declining numbers is, of course, a result of travel restrictions and plummeting demand through to fears of the virus. However, the traffic figures out of Frankfurt also showed that cargo volumes are beginning to stabilise and continue to pass through the airport.


Emirates have benefitted from the astonishing amount of intervention by the governments of the UAE.  Such is the state of affairs in the middle east that Fly Emirates is looking to fly to some 30 cities from the 15th June. The flights will pass through cities in Europe, Australasia, the Far East and North America. These flights represent a significant return to business after the airline drastically reduced services earlier this year.

Denver International Airport

The authorities at Denver International Airport reported a sight for sore eyes on the 17th June as the first international arrival touched down after 75 days. The service between Denver and Guadalajara will now fly two days a week for those who need to travel for essential commitments. Although there is no holiday travel passing through, this resumption of air travel across international borders is a relief to the executives at Denver.

What does all this suggest?

The news from around the world of aviation in June seems to suggest cautious optimism. While the numbers are still devastating, there seems to be the greenest of green shoots emerging to offer hope. Airports seem to be adapting and developing schemes that will support passenger confidence. The airlines are looking to find routes back to taking to the air and getting the flow of cash back into their businesses.

Are you looking for a career in Aviation?

If you want to work in aviation, you will want to undertake one of the top courses.  The UK offers some of the best university courses in the world and provides exciting routes into becoming a pilot, aerospace engineer or aviation management. Not only is a career that promises travel but also opportunities for progression and a comfortable salary.

Here we explore the top ten aviation courses available in the UK and suggest why you would want to consider this option for your future.  You don’t have to rely on our opinion, these recommendations come from the Air Charter Service, a trusted expert in the sector.

University of Leeds

Based in the north of England, the University of Leeds is a top-rated higher education institution. The three-year Aviation Technology with Pilot Studies is a bachelor’s degree that focuses on flight training and the design of aircraft. There are many modules to cover, including looking at the current issues facing the sector, such as environmental concerns and the innovation of the latest technologies. As well as classroom-based learning, students will experience 10-hours of flight training and Civil Aviation ground exams. As a student, you will work towards your Private Pilot’s Licence.

The University of the West of England

Commonly known as UWE, this university is situated to the north of Bristol. Bristol is a hub of the aviation industry in the UK and a great place to undertake your studies. The opportunities for on the job experience are high in this region. The university offers a four-year undergraduate course, as well as post-graduate studies in Aerospace Engineering with Pilot Studies.

The institution claims that these courses have been designed for aerospace engineers and begins students on a journey to becoming a technical specialist in the sector. If you choose this university, you will study modules in manufacturing processes, thermodynamics, and exploration of the innovation of materials used in aerospace engineering. You will be given the opportunity to design, build and test your aircraft prototypes, as well as take a work placement year.

Staffordshire University

Staffordshire University is based in beautiful countryside at the heart of the UK. The course offered by this university is perfect for those who want to work as engineers, pilots, or managers in aviation. The course focuses on Aeronautical Engineering course and there is an emphasis on flight deck design. Students will use CAD software to study fly-by-wire computer and propulsion systems.

As with Bristol, you will be given the option of taking an additional year of work experience, which is the best practice when dealing with such a practical and ever-evolving sector. You will also be given the opportunity to undertake a practical flight element, with training in a glider and in simulators.

Brunel University London

You would hope that a university named after the eminent engineer Brunel would offer an exceptional engineering program. Indeed, there is a stellar range of courses in aviation, including a four-year Aviation Engineering with Pilot Studies up to master’s degree. The fourth year of this course is devoted to work experience, which is aided by the close ties that the university enjoys with Heathrow Airport. Students are given the opportunity to experience work in commercial and private aircraft companies. There are also modules in aeronautics, thermofluids and aircraft design.

University of Hertfordshire

You can take a three-year Aerospace Technology with Pilot Studies course at Hertfordshire. There is an emphasis on computer-aided engineering in this course, with students developing skills in 3D modelling, computer-aided analysis, manufacture, and simulation. For those aspiring to pilot a plane, there is also a chance to use flight simulators. In the second half of the course, there is also a chance to train at a flight centre and work towards a pilot’s licence. There is a pilot training scholarship available for top-performing students to use after graduation.

University of Nottingham

There are courses for both graduate and post-graduates at Nottingham University. The places on this course are competitive as the institution is renowned for its world-leading facilities, with the best laboratories and access to some of the best guest lecturers from the global aerospace sector. If you want to be an aviation engineer, this is the pre-eminent course, with modules in electric aircraft, propulsion systems and aerospace manufacturing.

Kingston University London

When you are hoping to work in a global industry it makes sense to train in a university that is in one of the world’s greatest capital cities. Kingston University is in the heart of London and offers an Aviation Operations with Commercial Pilot Training degree course. Do you want to be an airline pilot? This is the degree that you should take. The course offers 15 months of integrated flight training and you will gain your frozen Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL). You will also access a lot of the technical theory, as well as enjoy a year of work experience in the sector.

University of Sheffield

You will choose Sheffield if you want to go into aviation engineering. You will specialise through your time on your course, choosing an area of study that interests you most. You can undertake modules in project management, structural materials and flight instrumentation, to name a few. More exciting, the university has links with Yorkshire Universities Air Squadron, which offers you the opportunity to undertake flight instruction as part of the course.

University of Salford

Based in Manchester, arguably one of the UK’s most dynamic cities, you can qualify with an Aircraft Engineering with Pilot Studies degree. However, the focus here is on solving complex aircraft engineering tasks. The practical modules seek to apply the theory of maths and science in engineering problems. You will also enjoy 45 hours of flight training and get the opportunity to achieve your Private Pilot’s Licence.

University of Liverpool

If you really want to become a specialist in the sector, then Liverpool is the best base for your studies. You can study Aerospace Engineering up to PhD level. Like Nottingham, Liverpool is renowned for its cutting-edge laboratories.