There is a wide disparity in charter pricing. When shopping for a charter flight, one can find several hundreds or even thousands of dollars difference for the same type of aircraft operated between the same city pairs. Conventional wisdom says if something costs more, you can expect better quality and service. This is not always true as we work with a wide range of reputable charter operators, some of whom have lower overhead and, thus, lower prices. Since these operators are equally as safe and provide excellent service, we will offer them as one of the options from which you can choose.
There are two factors that determine how an aircraft is priced. First, there are the direct operating costs. This includes fuel, maintenance and pilot costs. These costs are the same for each hour the aircraft is flown. The second is administrative costs or overhead. These include office and hangar space, utilities, computers and aircraft support equipment, staffing, insurance, and mortgage or lease payments. These costs are both fixed and variable and are added to the aircraft’s direct operating costs by prorating the hours an aircraft is flown each month. Thus, if an aircraft is utilized more, the operator can charge less and still make the same profit. Other factors which affect pricing are owning versus leasing the aircraft, small versus large office facilities, operating out of less expensive airports, etc.
Charters by Air Denver’s computer locating system interfaces with all of the various charter companies, including their pricing structures. With this information, we can find the best aircraft for the mission and at the lowest price. Many times we can bring an aircraft in from a smaller, less expensive airport and beat the pricing of operators who are located at the larger metropolitan airports.
When pricing charters, ask for an “all in” quote. Many operators will quote the customer a net aircraft price or estimated price. Upon the completion of a trip, they will then add in stand-by time, holding pattern or diversion times, parking and ramp charges, landing fees, fuel surcharges, segment fees and a 7.5 percent federal excise tax. Charters by Air Denver always quotes “all in” prices.
Some charter companies provide hourly costs of an aircraft, but these can be misleading. The speed with which the aircraft flies can make a difference in total price. For example, when comparing various models of a Cessna Citation and a Lear Jet, the Citation will always have a much lower hourly cost, but it often flies slower than the Lear. In return, the Lear will almost always have a lower net trip cost. Charters by Air Denver will recommend the best choice for your trip.
Charters by Air Denver routinely evaluates whether a trip necessarily requires a jet aircraft. In our comprehensive database, we also have high-speed turbo prop aircraft which can complete the trip in nearly the same time as a jet, but at two thirds the cost. In almost all instances, we will offer this choice to our customer.
Many charter operators charge a two hour minimum for every flight. This can also apply to when the aircraft is not in use, such as when it remains parked away from its base on a multiple day trip. To reduce the cost of the charter for its customers, Charters by Air Denver looks for operators who do not have this type of pricing structure.
Quite often, when someone charters an aircraft, they only need it one way. In cases such as this, the customer pays for the round trip, as the aircraft must return home after the drop-off. This allows the operator to sell the unused portion at a reduced cost. Since they have already been paid for the return trip, any additional sale of the empty leg is total profit for the operator. Usually, one-ways are priced at the normal hourly rate, but the customer only pays for the time used plus any re-positioning costs incurred in picking them up at an airport other than where the aircraft is located. However, if it is within a few days of departure, and the operator has not sold the empty leg, the operator may significantly discount the flight.
Charters by Air Denver normally has hundreds of “one-ways” from which to select.
Charters by Air Denver is a referral service and not a broker. This means you pay the charter company, and not us. There are no deposits, membership dues or other fees. Also, you pay after the flight is completed.
We, in turn, are compensated by charging the aircraft operator a 10% referral fee for bringing the customer to them. Due to long-standing relationships with many charter operators, our lower negotiated price for an aircraft usually offsets all or part of the referral fee the operator pays us. In other words, you pay approximately the same for an aircraft as if you had dealt directly with the operator. However, you receive all of the additional benefits and services offered by Charters by Air Denver in the transaction.
By contrast, some charter brokers collect directly from the customer after adding various dollar amounts to the actual cost of the aircraft, often doubling the cost of the charter. This tactic is frequently used when a customer is new to chartering or is not familiar with airplane types.
The Department of Transportation has actually recognized Charters by Air Denver for the way in which we handle charters and is now considering new legislation designed to require all brokers to follow our example. Providing a good product at a reasonable and fair price always brings repeat customers. This is how Charters by Air Denver has prospered for more than 35 years.
Catering is available and, in most instances, at cost. However, many Fixed Based Operators may add a small surcharge to bring the food through their facility.
Things to remember about aircraft catering:
- Menus can consist of almost anything you desire from the larger airports. When smaller airports are used, catering selections may be somewhat limited. However, we will do everything within reason to accommodate your needs and desires.
- Unless you are flying in a large jet, such as a Gulfstream or Challenger, most aircraft do not have onboard ovens.
- For last minute air charters, catering may not be available due to time constraints.
- Catered food for aircraft is usually more expensive than restaurant food. For example, a $10 sandwich in a restaurant may cost as much as $25 to $30 when packaged and delivered to an aircraft.
When icing conditions exist, the cost to de-ice the aircraft is additional. De-icing costs vary from aircraft to aircraft and is based on the amount of de-icing that is necessary. Costs can range from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars per de-icing. Also, an air charter can have multiple de-icings on the same trip. If a ferry leg is involved to bring the aircraft to you, and if deicing is required inbound as well as upon departure, it is a legitimate charge that will be added to the cost of your air charter.
Deviations are weather or traffic related and can add to the amount of air time you are using on your charter. Delays, such as holding or when your destination is changed due to weather, increase the amount of time utilized on the aircraft and will result in a higher cost for your air charter.
Normally your quote will include all the necessary standby time to accommodate your return air charter. If you go beyond your requested departure time, you may be responsible for the additional time. Standby time can range from $35 to over $100 per hour per pilot. In some cases, air charter operators charge airplane time versus pilot time. For air charters that have open returns, we will normally give you a set price for a certain time and then add the appropriate charges to your final bill.
These charges are normally included in your quote, however, if additional overnights are required, they will be additional.