This article explains the role of a private jet broker and alternative ways to charter private aircraft. It also has a guide on how to get better deals than private jet brokers who are charging enormous fees.
Back in the old world, when commercial airlines served lobster thermidor, the main way to charter an aircraft was through a private jet broker. Jet brokers knew the operators and airports. They found you a jet and you boarded a plane. But that was the old world, when it was cool to sport an outrageous pompadour.
So what do private jet brokers do today? And are they still necessary in the 21st-century world of private aviation?
Private Jet Broker? How To Get Better Deals Yourself
What is a Private Jet Broker? And What Do They Do?
A private jet broker is the agent brokering the sale and charter of private aircraft. They are similar to an estate agent just in a different field. It’s a highly specialized position for a very niche market. There are thousands of houses for sale or rent in every city, but not that many private jets change hands each year. Like an estate agent, the aircraft broker connects sellers and providers with buyers. For this they charge a percentage.
A good private jet broker has a number of responsibilities. Primarily, making sure the customer buys or charters the aircraft that is best for their needs, for a reasonable market price. And also, ensuring that sellers can sell and operators can charter their aircraft. They generally make sure the cogs of a deal rotate smoothly. For almost all of the 20th century private jet brokers were the only way to get things done in the world of private aviation. But that’s changing through a new generation of technology and processes.
What is an Aircraft Broker?
It’s the same as a private jet broker. The title is different and the role may extend to commercial aircraft and hundred-million-dollar contracts, but the concept is the same. An aircraft broker is the agent connecting buyers with sellers. Do you need one? Well, back in the day of Elvis haircuts and fine airplane food you probably did, because brokers provided a pass into a world that likes to keep hold of its secrets: private aviation. But do you need a private jet broker today. No. Certainly not if you are only seeking to charter a plane.
Why Would You Use a Private Jet Broker
The advantages of a private jet broker are well publicized. If you want purchase a private jet a broker is going to be involved. The New York Times described this as “selling airborne opulence to the upper upper upper class.”
If you need to charter an aircraft a private jet broker will:
- Search for and source available aircraft.
- Negotiate prices for different aircraft.
- Provide a means to book and pay for the aircraft.
- Offer an on-demand support service in case anything goes wrong, or you need to make changes to the charter.
These are all things you need when chartering an aircraft, whether it’s seaplanes in the 1950s or today’s business jets. The difference is that a private jet broker was the only choice back in the 1950s. In the 21st century we’ve got the Internet and cutting-edge technology. So it’s no longer necessary to contact operators through a telephone switchboard or complete deals via fax. Now there are new ways to charter jets.
Do You Still Need a Private Jet Broker?
No. Not if you want to charter a private jet. The world has changed. Back in the time of outrageous pompadours somebody had to ring around all the airlines and operators, collate available deals, then present the options to the customer. Now you can do that through an online search facility like Airvel.
How Do You Trust an Aircraft Broker?
But...doesn’t a private jet broker provide peace of mind and industry guidance? Aren’t they the trusted experts? Yes and no. Search for the term and you’ll find countless adverts and articles about how to become a private jet broker and command a six-figure salary. Aircraft brokers always argued their existence around the unregulated and disjointed nature of the private air industry, failing to see the irony in the argument.
While the aviation industry is carefully regulated by the FAA, in particular Part 135, private jet brokers don’t need any qualifications or specific industry experience. As one advert puts it, all you need to be successful as a jet broker "is a mobile phone and access to Wi-Fi." Some US states require brokers to have a license, but certainly not all states, and this isn’t something required elsewhere in the world. The argument was always that brokers know what and who to trust. But how do you trust the broker?
What About Jet Cards Instead?
The same questions were considered by many, especially around the time of the financial crisis. Why do I need a private jet broker, how do I trust one, and surely there is another way? Then jet cards came along. They were a response to the industry dominance of fractional jet ownership and private aircraft brokers. Jet cards provided an alternative. Rather than searching around for different jets, one pre-paid card provides an open-access pass to a specific aircraft. In a nutshell:
- You pre-pay for a set number of charter hours at a fixed price, with packages typically starting at $50 - 100k.
- The card provides access to a specific aircraft and the charter hours can be used when you need them.
- You just need to pay a few additional fees in order to fly, such as airport taxes, overnight fees, FBO surcharges, and surcharges for peak times.
This article tells you all you need to know about private jet cards, including how to compare cards and how to find the best deals.
Is a Private Jet Broker an Obsolete Profession?
Jet cards have mostly replaced the need for a jet broker. But the profession does live on, especially for the selling of private aircraft, particularly the ongoing tradition of warrior-style aristocrats traveling the world in the most ostentatious styles. Think Trump Force One, a plane with 24-karat-gold bathroom fixtures that cost over $100 million, despite being an old Boeing 757 with inefficient RB211 turbofan engines. Trump’s personal jet started its life as an aircraft for budget airlines, used by Danish carrier Sterling Airlines and Mexican airline Taesa, both of which went bankrupt. Which goes to show that there will always be money in selling overpriced planes to the 0.00001%.
10 Reasons You Don’t Need a Private Jet Broker
- You can search for air charters online.
- Thousands of available private jets can be searched on one online marketplace.
- You can easily search flights to any US location and international.
- Cutting edge technology means you can instantly compare aircraft prices.
- Aircraft and amenities can be compared side by side, without the endless reams of paperwork or pdf trails.
- Private jet brokers charge a commission that can be avoided.
- Private jet brokers increase the time required to source a charter.
- Private jets can be paid for online through secure payment platforms - you just need a debit or credit card.
- Private charters can be customized online, through a website or app.
- When using a service like Airvel, 24-hour concierge support comes as standard, so there is always a solution if a problem arises.
Air Charter for the 10% - Not the 0.0001%
Aircraft brokers came from a time when the private jet industry was reserved for the top 0.0001%. If you owned a Ferrari you also had a jet broker. When you were accepted into a $100,000 a year golf club you met a jet broker when drinking Pimms overlooking the fairway. The aircraft brokers not only controlled charters and sales, they vetted access into the world of private aviation. Maintaining exclusivity was part of their role. It kept prices high and kept the elite happy.
Jet cards changed the parameters. They made air charter available for the 0.1%. Those who had the requisite pre-investment to purchase a card. You no longer needed seven figures, six would suffice.
But can’t private air charter be available to anyone? Maybe that is a little too ambitious. There is never going to be enough aircraft to allow everyone in the world to fly private. But there can be a dramatic shift in the goalposts. Just as commercial airlines started making flying accessible to most through the 70s, 80s, and 90s, there’s no reason private air charter should stay within the realms of the 0.0001%.
If you fly business class then you’ll find air charters to be very similarly priced, just with all the added benefits of flying private. Such as taking off and landing at regional airports, turning up 15 minutes before departure, customizing every aspect of the flight, and saving so much other valuable time. It’s now also possible to share the costs of a private air charter with others, so you only pay for a seat and still get all the benefits of a private charter.
Private air charter no longer needs to be inaccessible. It can be for all.
How to Get Better Deals Than a Jet Broker
It’s easy to get better deals than a jet broker can offer. You need zero pre-investment and zero aviation knowledge. You don’t need an all access pass into the world of private aviation. Because air charters are already accessible to all.
Airvel is the world’s leading marketplace for on-demand air charter. It functions a little like a private jet broker, but puts all the power in your hands and allows you to make decisions quickly.
- Instantly search thousands of private jets for charter, to and from any destination in the US plus international airports.
- Compare prices and amenities for different aircraft. Airvel uses proprietary technology to instantly provide accurate pricing for an unrestricted choice of aircraft.
- Select the aircraft and deal that is best for you.
- Pay to confirm. Then fly.
With Airvel you only pay for the flights that you need. It’s an on-demand model, so there is no need for the expensive pre-investment that jet cards require. All aircraft and operators are regulated and registered through FAA Part 135; further safety checks are performed by Airvel to provide an additional layer of safety - we are proud of our zero-incident history.
By comparing registered aircraft in one place you get what the private jet brokers always promised:
- Transparent pricing
- A choice of aircraft at improved pricing
- An easy way to book a private air charter
- A simple and trusted connection to the operator
Airvel - Providing Industry Expertise and Advice
The Airvel system is free to use. Just search, select, pay and fly. But what about the personal touch? What about the expertise that a private jet broker could bring to a semi-regulated industry? That’s part of our business as well. To make air charter available for everyone we understand the importance of educating customers and guiding them through the process. That’s why we offer 24-7 concierge support as standard. You don’t need a membership and you don’t need to pay.
The Airvel Customer Experience team will talk you through all the options. What’s best for you isn’t best for everyone, which is why we provide every Airvel user with the option to discuss and book their flights over the phone as well. We’re not a jet broker, we’re just imparting the expertise that helps you make an informed decision.
Try Airvel today and we’ll take $500 off your first flight. Even if you just need to discuss what is possible, our Customer Experience team will answer the call. We’re the world’s leading marketplace for private air charter, and we’re busy making air charter accessible to all. Join the revolution and search for flights today.