It Pays to Fly Charter


If you’re a business with quite specialised travel needs, and if that travel is across the African continent, then it could be time to consider a private aviation option. ExecuJet Aviation Group provides such an option, and it may well prove to be more value for money than you think.

Jet charter has long been considered the domain of wealthy individuals, big corporations and celebrities. This is no longer the case, and the term “Chairman’s Chariot” has essentially disappeared. Today, companies recognise the value that the “key employee” plays in developing business relationships.  

Since 1991, ExecuJet has been providing non-scheduled air travel solutions, commonly referred to as air charter, to key business people. The name ExecuJet really says it all – it offers jet travel to businesses.

Although ExecuJet caters for a variety of air charter requests, its speciality is the small business group – typically six to 12 passengers. ExecuJet only flies turbine engine aircraft (a turbo-prop aircraft is a jet engine with a propeller or rotor), due to their proven safety, efficiency and reliability.

Examples of turbo-prop aircraft in ExecuJet’s fleet are Pilatus PC12, Kingair B200, Embraer 120 and SAAB340. The jet range consists of Learjet, Cessna, Challenger, Embraer, CRJ and Global Express brands.

ExecuJet also offers Eurocopter and Agusta helicopter charters and contracts.

The business traveller is usually under time pressure, so all services are provided to ensure smooth transfer throughout. This may include door to door ground transport, a personal escort through customs and immigration, and even personal security.

When does it pay to fly charter?

Chartering an aircraft is generally perceived to be more expensive than buying an equivalent number of airline tickets, but business people appreciate that time has value. There are many instances where charter flights may be more cost-effective:

  • Where five or more people are travelling to the same destination at the same time
  • Two or more destinations need to be covered in the shortest possible time
  • Same day return flights to those destinations not regularly serviced by airlines
  • After hours travel movements
  • Flexibility of meeting time is necessary

Time has value

Where companies value employees’, suppliers’ and customers’ time, chartered aircraft can be shown to be an efficient form of business travel, even on popular airline routes. It is often not the time spent in the air that is of concern, but the ground time, inclusive of home to airport transfer, parking, check-in procedures, customs and immigration formalities, and transit waiting time. A 30-minute airport arrival prior to an international flight is the norm when chartering an aircraft – ExecuJet doesn’t leave anyone behind if you’re late either! 

By way of example, a telecommunications company used a chartered aircraft to visit seven countries in Central and West Africa, and managed to reduce time away from home from 20 days to 12. 

There’s also maximum travel flexibility – you can plan your itinerary without worrying about flight schedules. And you can take your first steps towards buying an aircraft, as it’s possible to sample the intangible benefits of business aviation without incurring huge financial risk.

What about remote destinations? Obviously, if a destination is not serviced by an airline with scheduled flights, then a chartered aircraft is the answer. Mining and oil and gas producers are typical customers. Chartered aircraft can operate from smaller airports, so they can often deliver business people closer to their final destination.

Accessibility to other countries

Unless there are specific reasons – war, politics etc – why countries cannot be entered, there are few that cannot be reached by private air travel. Each country will have its own entry regulations, of course, so flight and landing permits will be required in advance of the chartered flight. This is the responsibility of the charter service provider, and good operators will provide a prompt service. The normal visa and inoculation requirements need to be met, for which the passenger is responsible.

Is it safe?

Statistically, chartered turbine-powered aircraft are as safe as airliners in the scheduled airline industry. The aviation industry is one of the most regulated industries in the world, from the aircraft manufacturer through to the charter operator, and the rules are getting stricter all the time in the interests of safety. The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) follows American and European standards, so safety is of prime concern.

Turbine-powered aircraft have a proven safety record, and reputable charter operators have an exemplary safety record.

Chartering an aircraft is safer in other ways too. In a recent study of users of chartered aircraft in the US, it was discovered that fear of industrial espionage is of high concern among the large corporations. Loss of industrial secrets is only one aspect of risk management, as you’ll see below.

  • Reduce uncontrolled public exposure

Uncontrolled public exposure during commercial business travel can put key people in positions of unwanted contact with shareholders, competitors and the media, particularly during times of sensitive negotiations. Charter protects you from unwanted exposure.

  • Secure control over personal safety of passengers

Chartering an aircraft allows more control over schedules, routes, destination airports, aircraft choice, baggage control and even crew and crew training. This is especially true in the resource extraction sector (e.g. mining), where a dedicated air service to a mine location in place of a commercial airline offers specific advantages.

  • Protect intellectual property

In the secure environment of a business jet, employees can discuss and work on projects in utmost secrecy. Often when working onboard a commercial scheduled flight, you don’t really know who is listening in on your conversation or peering over your shoulder. You will know everyone onboard the chartered aircraft.

  • Control movement of sensitive documents

This is where one of the less obvious benefits of private business aviation can be enjoyed – companies can move priority cargo, spare parts or sensitive documents with the passengers (at no extra charge). Charter flights can provide flexibility and faster deliveries than may be available commercially.

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