CHARTER FLIGHTS or PRIVATE PLANES

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Surface transport has multiple types of permits for cars, trucks, buses and the likes. Similarly, in aviation, there are multiple types of operation permits. These are primarily:

  • Scheduled passenger operator: regular commercial airlines 
  • Private use: owned by individual or company for their private use
  • Training: used for training Purpose
  • Cargo: for ferrying mail & cargo
  • Non-scheduled operator: for providing Air service without a published schedule. 

Among above, non-scheduled operators are the primary service provider for custom needs, such as Air ambulance, joy rides, private air transport within or outside India. In addition to non-scheduled operators, scheduled passenger operator such as usual airlines also offer charter services. However, schedules airlines usually do not offer small aircrafts. 

CHARTER SERVICE PROVIDERS IN INDIA

There are several Air charter service providers. These charter service providers are based at different bases, primarily metros, and offer different types of helicopters and aero-planes. The updated list of such providers can be assessed here. Primary bases are New-Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai followed by cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Ahmedabad etc.  One can contact them directly; else there are numerous agents who get you an aircraft from one of these as per your requirement. 

TYPES OF AIRCRAFT

Types of aircraft available with these charter service providers include:

  • Helicopters
  • Aeroplanes
  • Balloons
  • Powered gliders

Most commonly used ones are Aero-planes followed by Helicopters. These both also are of different manufacturers and of varying seating capacity. Charter aircraft on offer mostly include 5-9 seater aircraft. You will find aircraft up to 24 seater. However, there availability is less due to less demand for such types. If you are looking for aeroplane of seats above 50, you have to approach scheduled airlines like Air India, Indigo, Spicejet, Air Asia, Go Air, Air Vistara, Trujet etc as they offer their aircraft as charter as well.

Most commonly available aero planes for charter in India are as below:
*values mentioned are an indication and may vary from actuals.

Size of aircraft and engine power is key differentiator. Aircraft size allows more number of guests and comfort. Whereas engine power governs speed. 

COSTING

In retail, costing may primarily include below components:

1.       Hourly flying rate
2.       Handling
3.       Crew boarding & lodging

1. Hourly flying rate: this is major component of charter fee. Aircraft is chartered based on number of flying hours. Usually, charter companies charge minimum 2 hours per day. Slower aircraft may be lower priced hourly; however, the same will take more time to cover distances.  Over minimum hours per day, flying hours are calculated on actuals i.e. chocks off to chocks on. One important point is that if you hire one way charter, you are liable to pay for return of the aircraft to its home base. E.g. you wish to hire aircraft from Udaipur to Indore and aircraft is based in Delhi, then you will be charged for DELHI-UDAIPUR-INDORE-DELHI. Therefore, one way sectors are not cost effective.

Indicative rates for charter are as below to give some idea of Cost:
*rates mentioned are indicative and may vary operator to operator


2. Handling: this component varies and includes miscellaneous charges like landing & parking, local engagement of agents for handling aircraft, etc. Usually operators don’t give an exact break-up of this component. 

3. Crew boarding & lodging: if your plan involves night parking of aircraft at airport other than the base airport of the aircraft. You are liable to pay for night parking and lodging and boarding of crew. Usually charter operator quotes a fixed cost for this component if applicable. 

Bulk Hour purchase: most of the operators offer bulk hour purchase as well. Such bulk hours are usually purchased by corporate or travel planners for their specific needs. Surely, bulk hour purchase is more cost effective. 

Joyride or special moment celebration: many people wish to have charter experience as a short joyride or wish to celebrate a special moment in a privacy of private charter. Such experience can be arranged directly by operator or through specialized service providers like OFLY. Special experience may include cake cutting in air or celebrating your anniversary and the like. 

Day trip to a place with family and friends may a good way to have your initial charter experience as the same will be most cost effective as well as give a great experience of fun of having your own cab in sky.

CONCLUSION:

In India, chartering an aircraft is presently used by a small number of people. Corporate, politicians, celebrities and Air ambulance is the primary customers of charter business. Lately, people have hired charter helicopters and aero-plane for marriages to ferry the groom or guests. Common people at large are either not aware of this service & costs or there are affordability issues. 

Selection of right aircraft for the need is the optimum solution. One should consider chartering an aircraft for special moments to have super special memories. 

 

*Author is an Indian Private Pilot and keen observer of Indian aviation market. He enjoys mentoring people who wish to be a hobby Pilot. He can be approached at info@jagaviation.in

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