The world is becoming more environmentally aware – with aviation embracing carbon-reducing initiatives. From lighter materials in aircraft manufacture, to ground-breaking engine technology and the development of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), changes are underway that will positively change the impact of aircraft on this planet. By 2050, there is an industry-wide push to halve net CO2 emissions.
For private aviation, carbon offsetting is key in reducing carbon footprint. “Carbon offsetting is becoming more visible in the industry, and has started to be put into practice,” explains Howard Povey, Business Development Director at Pula Aviation Services Limited. “We are seeing tangible practices in action, with charter operators and companies striving to become either carbon-neutral or negative in a narrow timeframe.” For instance, Pula is in the process of implementing an offsetting programme that will see the aircraft and charter operator become carbon-neutral by 2025. “We are investigating sustainable fuel technologies, in addition to working on renewable energy and forestry projects,” adds Povey.
Exploring private travel
Due to the spotlight on environmental initiatives, there has never been a better time to re-assess luxury travel habits. Private aviation doesn’t just mean owning an aircraft; there are many options to explore which can be tailored to provide either a cost effective or time-efficient solution depending on requirements. Private travel can mean ‘Jet Cards’ (pre-paying for a certain number of hours on a private jet), private charter, fractional or full ownership. Each of these can provide an environmentally friendly alternative to jet ownership, and can be discussed with a business & private aviation specialist like Pula.
Defining which of the above is right can depend on many things; such as how often you intend to fly annually; which airports you use as part of your regular travel plans; and whether you travel at times that differ to commercial flight schedules.
Determining best fit: charter versus ownership
The thought process of those exploring private aviation can be illustrated through passenger profiles. These demonstrate when charter and ownership become essential. Once best fit is determined, the above options can be explored to find the best luxury travel solution. “For example, a business that has a frequent travel requirement for its employees, plus requires a high degree of flexibility with its schedule may find that it needs to investigate private charter,” explains Povey. “Time is important to this company, and their schedules are made complicated if using commercial airlines. For instance, they might not be able to travel direct or at the right time if using an airline. This can turn what could be a day trip to a European destination into three days away from home and the office.
“Not only is a chartered aircraft more time efficient for this business, but it can also prove more cost effective in many instances when charter is done right,” adds Povey. “Consider six passengers from a Cardiff-based business travelling to Geneva for meetings. The closest airline solution requires travelling to and flying from Bristol and if the airline schedule doesn’t fit with the meeting schedule than an overnight trip is likely required. Factoring in these costs and in our experience, it actually works out more cost effective to charter a light jet and travel on your own terms.”
On the other hand, aircraft ownership is primarily driven by desire. “Simply put, many aircraft owners want to own their own aircraft,” says Povey. “This might also be enhanced by the amount this traveller is spending on jet charter or fractional ownership, meaning that ownership is the next logical step. The decision to own an aircraft should be a balance of aspirational desire and common sense.”
A common-sense approach to charter
According to Pula, a general rule of thumb can often be applied when deciding which option most fits those new to considering private jets. For instance, if you are flying up to 10 hours a year, charter is the most appropriate option. Between 10 and 50 hours, opting for a Jet Card is cost effective. “Meanwhile, up to 250 hours a year makes fractional ownership a logical step,” suggests Povey, “whereas anything over this is a strong argument for outright jet ownership.”
Business aviation is more costly than other means of travel, yet the true cost depends on the extent to which you prioritise time, security gains and overall convenience. For those considering trying out this type of luxury travel, why not reach out to a charter provider – the options are now greener than you think.
Contributed by Charlotte Daniels
Pula Aviation Services Limited is a leading business and private aviation services company. It supports clients through their business and private aviation requirements from ad-hoc charter to outright purchase and turnkey aircraft management.
Visit the PASL website here.