Published December 2021
Jet cards have made their mark on the private jet space despite the service model being less than 15 years old. And like the companies leading private charter, jet cards continue to adapt to better serve their clientele. Over the course of 2021 though, private aviation faced its most difficult industry challenges in decades. Pilot shortages, travel restrictions, and most significantly, reduced desire to travel.
Now as individuals and businesses make their plans for 2022, the immediate future looks very different for jet cards.
How 2021 Changed Jet Cards and Their Fleets
The benefit of jet cards is that they are designed for stability, longevity, and reliability. You purchase your flight hours in bulk to lock in your rates and secure other benefits like no fuel surcharges and no blackout dates. (see a full list here)
But like many industries, the Covid pandemic interrupted business as usual. This was uniquely true in a capital-intensive industry like private jet providers.The relationship between growing fleets and growing client needs is a crucial one.
At the beginning of the pandemic, concern over the unknown and significant travel lockdowns brought air travel to a near halt. Many providers found themselves needing to financially prune their operations to make it through the unforeseen recession.
Then the world began to reopen, and private aviation stood poised to make an accelerated rebound. With the ability to travel renewed, more clients than ever made the jump to private aviation in 2021, including a 300% increase in first-time charter clients.
This rebound was a welcomed change for a struggling industry, but some providers found just as much difficulty in navigating it. They were faced with unprecedented demand while trying to rapidly rebuild their skeleton crews.
Jet Cards Present New Challenges – and New Growth
If You're Considering a Jet Card in 2022?
The right fit is crucial in considering a jet card in 2022 – everything from the timing to the partner to the usage. Before you decide on your jet card for 2022, ask these important questions:
Do I Need a Jet Card Membership?
The first question deals with your anticipated usage for 2022. Jet cards meet a unique need between single charters and full ownership. Providers like Dumont JETS offer memberships at various levels such as 25 hours or 50 hours/aircraft management options.
Consider your destinations and frequency – for example, do you anticipate using the entirety of your jet card over a 12-to-18 month period? If you don't need the full freedom of a jet card, one-off charters may be a better way to match your needs to your costs.
Other clients choose jet cards for the perks that come with a membership – like guaranteed availability, no fuel surcharges, and no repositioning fees. You may not burn through your purchased hours, but the premium benefits are worth the arrangement.
Does the Provider's Fleet Meet My Preferences?
If you've decided that a jet card is the right solution, now it is time to find a partner capable of fulfilling your travel requirements.
To make this decision, it's best to compare jet card arrangements – while the model is similar between competitors, the two biggest differences are the fleets and the terms of the membership.
Regarding fleet, make sure that their available aircraft match your most common flight needs. This is especially true for business travel – if you regularly fly with your leadership team for example, make sure your jet card partner has sufficient availability that matches your anticipated passenger needs.
For membership terms, compare the benefits guaranteed from each provider. While much of this can be communicated simply, it may be beneficial to speak with personal aviation consultant to get better educated on the fine print of the industry.