In the current coronavirus crisis, there are challenges and opportunities for the aviation industry, specifically for the private sector. We asked the experts at Pula Aviation for their insight.
Q. In the current coronavirus crisis, what can aviation services do to maintain services and ensure safety?
A. The spread of Coronavirus has posed a serious test to the aviation industry – companies have had to adjust activities to mitigate the financial and practical impact of operating business aircraft. There are many new processes in place to make sure staff, crew and passengers are looked after through the various steps of a private aviation journey, all adhering to the social distancing guidelines.
We have remained operational whilst adjusting our services whether providing charter flights or handling passengers at our own private aviation facilities. Pula has PPE on site, which is available for anyone to use, and cleaning schedules have been modified to make sure our facilities and aircraft are always kept disinfected.
Q. What are the main aspects of private jet management?
A. Jet Management is an intricate business and for peace of mind many aircraft owners look to the services of a dedicated company who can provide full support and expertise. The needs of customers can differ, but the main services provided are the organisation of aircraft maintenance, compliance & safety, flight operations, flight crew and general administrative assistance.
Having an aircraft in the care of an operator or management company allows you to maximise the benefits and enjoyment of your own aircraft and when it comes to management, we offer an uncompromising approach to safety and security which is paramount with the regulatory aspects more stringent than ever.
Q. What advantages are there to traveling on a private jet compared to commercial travel?
A. One of the biggest advantages of travelling privately is flexibility, having control of your own schedule and time. You instantly gain access to more airport options, with regional and executive airports available closer to home, resulting in shorter transfer times and no queues.
More importantly now than ever before, flying privately allows you to avoid the crowds that are present when using large airport terminals and commercial flights. There are dedicate private terminals for private flights with a lower passenger flow and minimum interaction with airport agents, security and crew members. Your own dedicated team will work to protocols and personal preference of interaction levels which commercial travel cannot offer.
Q. What are the advantages of Jet charter over ownership?
A. Jet charter can be the most cost-effective of the two options for an occasional user. There is no initial up-front cost to purchase an aircraft and you are not responsible for the on-going upkeep and maintenance, it’s a pay-as-you-use service. Chartering gives you access to a range of aircraft, meaning you can charter an aircraft that is most suitable and efficient for your upcoming trip.
Jet Ownership could be considered a viable option if you are frequently flying in business aircraft, as other considerations often come in to play. As an owner you can also look to charter your aircraft to others while you’re not using it, meaning this can help cover costs of running the aircraft.
Q. How does the charter process work?
A. Charter flights may be purchased through a broker or from an operator directly. Once we have received a request, a charter team member will be allocated to the enquiry and will firstly check the feasibility of the route prior to pricing up. The quotations are tailored to suit requirements, and all have a breakdown of the aircraft types available for the trip, airports, and costs. If you would like to go ahead the next steps are sending over a detailed quotation. It is important to fully understand exactly what is included in your quote and we will talk your through your options. Full payment is always required prior to travel.
Q. Where can a customer look for advice on buying and selling aircraft, and asset management?
A. Buying or selling a business or executive aircraft can be a complex activity, and it is best to have support from aviation professionals to assist you through the entire process. Typically, aircraft sales brokers and dealers are engaged by owners or prospective owners for selling or acquisition support. Few aircraft brokers have the broad capabilities we do. Our in-house maintenance, airworthiness and flight departments enable us to offer our clients with a full-service sales/acquisition, aircraft ownership, management, and operation package.
Q. How can aviation operators address environmental concerns?
A. The UK aviation industry is planning to reduce C02 emissions by 50% in 2050. For private aviation, carbon offsetting will be key to reducing carbon footprint and many aviation operators are offering programs to their customers, including Pula. When a charge for carbon offsetting is included in the cost of our charter flights, a charter customer will be funding an emission saving project operated by Pula or one of its partners to ensure the carbon emitted by their charter flight is offset. Further to this, Pula Aviation Services Limited aims to be carbon neutral by 2025.
Q. How much does it cost to travel by private jet?
A. This is a common question asked regarding charter and the answer is that it depends on numerous factors. Every journey is different, and you should have in mind the route and distance between locations which will determine the aircraft type required, unless you are happy with an additional stop for refuelling, and how many people will be travelling, including baggage, as this may mean a larger aircraft is required.
Other factors to be considered for costs when flying privately is aircraft availability, the period the aircraft is required for and airport fees. Taking advantage of an empty leg sector can often see reduced pricing. It is recommended to discuss your requirements with an operator to help find the best option to suit your budget.
Q. What is an ‘empty leg’?
A. An empty leg is a sector on an aircraft flight without any passengers on board. They are often available due to aircraft repositioning for their next journey or returning to the aircraft’s home base. The flights are usually available a few days before departure and have pre-established dates, times and destinations with minimal opportunity for changes, but this often means that rates will be discounted so that operators can utilise the section of the journey. Many operators promote empty legs ‘last minute’ and Pula’s charter department frequently post the fleet’s empty leg availability on social media, email updates to our clients and show sectors on our website.
Q. What is in the future for aviation operators in generally and specifically for Pula?
A. As often happens with major world events, new opportunities arise. Time will tell how business aviation will fare; however, we are forecasting an upsurge in private travel as business activities resume and leisure travel restrictions are eased. Airlines have cut back on schedules and destinations, charter operators such as ourselves operate on demand in terms of schedule and destination, in addition to providing a private travel environment for travellers. This will be fundamental in providing the business and leisure traveller a route back to normality.