News & Articles

Marketing Myths in the Private Aviation Industry

Marketing Myth #1: Aircraft Age Matters: The larger fractional and time card companies (hereinafter “other companies”) want you to believe that the age of the aircraft matters for reasons such as safety and comfort, implying that an older aircraft is less safe and less appealing. The reality, however, is that a plane’s safety is not determined solely by age, but by many other factors including its maintenance history. A well-maintained older aircraft of any age can be much safer than a newer aircraft that is over flown and poorly maintained. Older aircraft are refurbished consistently to look new.

Marketing Myth #2: Fractional and Time Card Companies Use Only Newer Planes: Other companies want you to believe that they only use newer planes. However, these companies put their clients on older planes all of the time. For example, the NetJets “Charter Vendor Standards” document clearly states that charter aircraft used to fly their clients (and Marquis Jet) can be up to ”25 years of age”.

Marketing Myth #3: Fractional and Time Card Companies Use Only Their Planes: Although other companies will never commit to flying their clients exclusively on their fleet, they have done an excellent job of making you believe it. The New York Times recently highlighted the comfort that NetJets, for one, has in charter aircraft: “The Marquis customer base offered a new source of income for NetJets, but in 2005, at least, it also meant operational headaches, because it placed greater demand on the same number of planes. Mr. Santulli [of NetJets] said he spent $200 million last year chartering extra jets to meet increased demand from existing customers and Marquis Jet members.” NetJets and others understand that charter aircraft are both safe and generate substantial savings for the discerning jet traveler.

Marketing Myth #4: Fractional and Time Card Companies Have Better Pilots: Other companies would have you believe that their pilots are better than charter pilots because they have more experience (“total hours flown”) and are specialized (flying only one plane “type”). However, the facts suggest otherwise as these pilots are virtually interchangeable regarding both experience and type ratings. And almost every pilot in the private jet industry, charter or fractional/time card, receives training at the very same company: Flight Safety International.

Marketing Myth #5: Fractional and Time Card Companies Planes are Safer: Other companies suggest that their “newer” planes and “type dedicated” pilots create a safer flying experience. This is simply not supported by the statistics. There is no statistical data to suggest there is a safety difference between fractional, time-card and chartered private jets.

Marketing Myth #6: Fractional and Time Card Companies Use Higher Safety Standards: Other companies claim that they have higher safety standards, which makes flying with them safer than flying on a chartered flight. The reality, however, is that these companies rely heavily on the data of one independent safety audit company called Aviation Research Group/US, Inc. (ARG/US), the same data that the charter industry relies upon. By their own admission, these companies use the same standards as the rest of the industry or do not use them at all! Further, a closer look reveals that the operators in the charter industry and the planes that they fly receive numerous safety evaluations since every fractional company is accessing this same “pool” of charter aircraft and employing their own independent audits! Given this redundant evaluation and oversight of these operators by all of the large aviation industry players, it can be strongly argued that the charter environment is not unsafe at all but rather the safest environment in aviation today. In fact, statistics support this conclusion.