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How to Choose the Best Aircraft Management Company

There are more than 750 aircraft management companies in the United States. While many offer quality services, not all of them will match your unique wants and needs. When searching for the best private jet management company, you have to look for a reliable partner with a thorough understanding of your private jet, mission profile, and more. Your aircraft management company should be an advisor and an advocate when it comes to protecting your valuable asset.

 

Table of Contents:

 

Types of Private Management Companies

What to Consider When Evaluating the Best Private Jet Management Services

Access Your Needs as a Private Jet Owner

How Does Aircraft Management Offset the Cost of Ownership?

Frequently Asked Questions About Aircraft Management

How Does Jet Linx Compare to Other Private Jet Management Companies?

Types of Private Jet Management Companies

 

No matter the size of an aircraft management company, you should always seek one that will take the time to sit down and discuss your needs. Trustworthy, transparent organizations always make the best aircraft management partners. 

 

Small, regional organizations with limited numbers of aircraft

 

Smaller aircraft management companies often offer local services and manage similar models or types of aircraft. Full-service management, including crewing and accounting, is typically not offered. Maintenance may also be outsourced to local vendors, which gives the ownerless control over the quality and safety of service. Small businesses or aircraft owners that operate in a small area might match well, but it’s rare for small aircraft management companies to offer revenue programs or concierge service. Discounts on fuel and insurance may be offered, but there is no guarantee depending on the size of the organization.

 

Midsize aircraft sales or FBO Business with complimentary management services 

 

Medium-sized management companies are often arms of charter operators where the two operations work in tandem. These organizations typically provide a blend of local service and can cater to a wider range of aircraft, as well as a larger geographical area. Revenue generation through charter or Jet Card programs may be offered but is not a given.

Midsize aircraft management companies will likely perform most of their own maintenance, offering more control to aircraft owners. While parts discounts may not be offered, discounts on fuel and insurance will likely be available. Assistance with crewing, accounting, and customer service can vary, so it’s important to discuss exactly what services to expect. Some companies hire and pay their own pilots, and sometimes this is the responsibility of the owner. It is easy to underestimate the amount of time and expertise required to properly manage an aircraft, and medium-sized companies sometimes cannot offer full-service. The aircraft owner may be left to deal with issues like accounting and crewing while still paying a premium price for management. 

 

National companies with full-service aircraft and private jet management

 

Large aircraft management companies offer full-service management, which includes maintenance, inspections, fueling, hangaring, crewing, accounting, customer service, revenue generation, and benefit programs.  They also offer volume discounts on parts, repairs, fuel, and insurance by leveraging a national fleet. Operational capacity typically allows these organizations to manage a wide range of private jets across a large area, allowing service from nearly anywhere.

One area where larger operators may differ from another is in terms of personalized service. You may be assigned a single representative to coordinate all aspects of maintenance, or different department heads may focus on specific aspects. Aircraft owners should note how an organization communicates with clients, as companies can be more or less hands-on. Larger management firms can offer more resources, but sometimes aircraft owners can feel lost in a crowd of other clients.

Safety is another aspect where larger companies outshine medium and small-sized management companies. The amount of time and resources necessary to build, maintain and improve Safety Management Systems is just too great for smaller management companies. Large management companies promote their robust safety programs and certifications as a testament to their level of dedication to customer and passenger safety.

No matter the size, nearly all aircraft managers offer the same services: maintenance, repairs, hangar rental, and inspections. Choosing a management company based solely on size does not guarantee the right fit. Varying levels of experience and service delivery can also make a difference, as well as how an organization manages aircraft and communicates with clients.

While monthly aircraft management fees don’t differ too widely, costs such as pilot salary, fuel and parts, startup fees, flight time charges, and landing fees can add up quickly. Aircraft management companies differ in these respects but should be willing to share with you the total costs involved.

The best aircraft management services will create a custom plan and price based on your needs and their operational capabilities. Companies that offer a standard management fee should be avoided, as aircraft require custom planning and pricing to be properly cared for and managed. 

Questions to Ask When Choosing the Best Private Jet Management Company

 

  • What services are offered for private jet management beyond maintenance, repairs, hangar rental, and inspections?
  • What are the internal safety standards and what third-party ratings does the provider have? How long has the organization been certified or re-certified? 
  • How many operations staff do they have and what is their maintenance experience? What level of work can be performed in-house?
  • Will maintenance be outsourced or handled by in-house professionals? When maintenance is outsourced, what oversight occurs to ensure safe, quality work is being performed?
  • Are there fleet discounts available for pilots, maintenance, insurance, and other costs?
  • What type of aircraft do they have experience providing management and maintenance for?
  • Will the aircraft management provider handle all aspects of aircraft operations including crew, finances, and maintenance?
  • What are the company’s plans for revenue generation and charter demand?

How to Assess Your Aircraft Management Needs to Find the Best Aircraft Management Company

 

  • What is the cabin size and sophistication of your aircraft, and is the company you choose experienced with your aircraft model?
  • How often are you planning on flying?
  • Do you plan to fly internationally?
  • Is it important to be able to travel spontaneously, with less than 24 to 48 hours notice?
  • What are your approval requirements when working with an aircraft management company – do you want them to handle all aspects of aircraft operations or do you want to be included in most/all decisions?
  • Do you need revenue generation to offset the costs of ownership?
  • Do you require assistance with accounting, crewing, training, or other aspects of aircraft ownership? 
  • Is local service important?

What to Consider When Evaluating the Best Private Jet Management Services

Safety Certifications

Safety should be a top priority when hiring a private jet management company. Third-party safety certifications are available for aircraft management companies, and the company should be eager to explain how their safety program or safety management system works. Any trustworthy organization will share its safety pedigree in highly visible areas – aircraft owners should never have to spend time searching for evidence of safety credentials. These third-parties include Wyvern, ARGUS, and IS-BAO

If you’re unsure about a company’s safety rating, check with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the FAA for any incidents of accidents involving its aircraft or operations. All aircraft management companies should be able to produce safety documentation upon request.

Operational Capabilities

Some private jet management companies cater to specific models or categories of aircraft, while others do not. Others are certified to fly internationally and some may only be capable of domestic flight. The size and type of fleet can reveal a lot about how a potential private jet management company may or may not fit your needs. 

Operators vary widely in what they offer and what services they provide, from pilot training programs to maintenance and management.

Financial Accounting Ability

Owning and operating a private jet is complex from a financial perspective. There are flight crew salaries, fuel costs, maintenance, parts, insurance, hangar fees, taxes, and more to factor in. There should be a high level of scrutiny and attention to detail with all financial statements. Not all organizations offer accounting services, but the trust and transparency of an organization can shine through financial statements and disclosures. A management company should be ready and willing to assist with any questions or concerns related to accounting.

Revenue Generation

Allowing an operator to charter your aircraft is a viable way to offset the costs of ownership. Not every private jet management service offers charter revenue or Jet Card programs to offset costs. Revenue generating programs can be complex in terms of operation and service delivery, meaning that only larger national companies offer them to aircraft owners. 

Generating revenue from your aircraft also means that wear and tear will increase, and it may be unavailable to you at times. While aircraft owners typically receive top priority, there could be a maintenance event or inspection that would make your aircraft unavailable. Access to your asset may decrease, but this should be weighed against the benefits of the revenue generation provided.

Some aircraft management companies are able to offer access to guaranteed supplemental lift in the event your aircraft is on a revenue mission or down for maintenance.

Fleet Size and Diversity

Some aircraft management companies only offer services for specific types or models of aircraft, and owners take comfort in the fact that they specialize in their type of aircraft. However, fleets of the same type may get in the way of revenue generation and operational capacity.

Diversified fleets are often managed by larger companies that have the industry networks and operational capacity to provide service to a range of different makes, models, and types of private jets. Large, diverse fleets offer more operational capacity, but aircraft owners should ensure that their aircraft will receive the proper care necessary. If you have a particularly unique aircraft, be sure to ask about how it will be managed differently than others in the fleet. 

Fleet size and diversity should not disqualify a potential aircraft management company. The best aircraft management companies, regardless of fleet size or diversity, should explain how they will create a unique management plan for your aircraft, no matter how many other similar models they have in the fleet.

Facility and Local Bases

When managing a private jet, most aircraft owners desire a local presence. Smaller management companies often have a local presence, but not a national array of facilities. On the other hand, larger management companies will likely have facilities across the country in major metro areas, but may not have a location in your local area. 

Access Your Needs as a Private Jet Owner

 

Your Travel Profile

  • How often do you fly? How far do you typically fly? Are your trips planned or more spontaneous, such as business trips?

 

Communication Style

  • In what way do you prefer to conduct aircraft management? How often do you like to be notified of the status of your aircraft? 
  • Do you prefer to be hands-on when managing your aircraft, or do you let your account representative or assistant take the reigns? 

 

Aircraft Management Experience

Depending on the size and sophistication of your private jet, you may want to be more diligent in finding companies that have worked with your model. If expenses are more of a concern, you may want to look for management companies that offer volume discounts for maintenance, fuel, inspections, and repairs.

 

Customer Support and Advocacy

Your private jet management company should be a dependable spokesperson, defending the best interests of your asset at all times. If communication is important, then you may want to opt for a smaller organization with a local telephone number, or a larger management company with dedicated representatives and support teams that are ready and waiting to assist. As an aircraft owner, you should always be able to contact someone within your management company for any reason.

 

Personnel Assistance

Do you need your aircraft management provider to provide pilots and other flight support professionals? When hiring pilots, you must ensure they are trained and remaining current with flight hours, and you must also ensure that they’re scheduled effectively to avoid fatigue. If you’re not familiar with the taxes and complex financial responsibilities associated with aircraft ownership, you will likely need an accountant. Crewing and managing a private jet is a full-time job for more than one person, and this is where full-service private jet management companies can offer a much better ownership experience. 

 

Revenue Requirements

  • What is your comfort level with allowing your aircraft to be chartered for revenue-generating flights? Owners often need to weigh the cost of time needed with their private jet against the potential to generate revenue. 

 

If seeking revenue, what are your expectations? Aircraft management solutions should be able to reliably predict what that revenue might look like. However, be certain to understand where the revenue comes from, whether that is the wholesale charter market, a Jet Card Program, or something else. Each option comes with its own benefits.

How Does Aircraft Management Offset the Cost of Ownership?

 

 

To the average aircraft owner, time is immensely valuable. Without an adequate private jet management company, there would be little financial incentive to own and operate an asset like a private jet. It takes a team of professionals to properly manage an aircraft and provide an adequate source of revenue to offset the cost of ownership.

Jet Fuel Savings

As the largest continuous expense in aircraft operations, managing fuel costs is critical for aircraft owners and operators. Operators like Jet Linx take advantage of an industry innovation that leverages the buying power of millions of gallons of fuel, known as contract fuel. With contract fuel, Jet Linx obtains the least expensive fuel price from different supplier-branded facilities and fuel providers. Jet Linx currently partners with approximately 14 different contract fuel companies to leverage their buying power to obtain the lowest price possible at an FBO. The Jet Linx Flight Coordination team compares these vendors’ prices to the FBOs published retail price on a daily basis, and selects the least expensive option. Using a combination of national network volume discounts, along with the buying power of its various contract fuel vendors, Jet Linx is able to reduce aircraft operating costs substantially for its owners.

Fleet Purchasing Power

By leveraging the buying power behind a national fleet of aircraft, a private jet management company can negotiate the price of inspections and parts. Most large operators (including Jet Linx) employ full-time quality control and purchasing teams that research different programs and services to ensure that only the most competitive prices are offered.

Because of our industry experience, Jet Linx utilizes insurance partners that offer the best possible premiums for the best possible coverage. Additionally, our insurance partner works on Jet Linx’s behalf as a risk mitigation team, something many other operators don’t have access to.

Pilot and Crew Costs

Hiring a pilot doesn’t just include the yearly salary. Pilots require continual investments in training, they must receive benefits, and they have to be scheduled carefully to avoid fatigue. Pilot training, drug screening, background checks, and review of FAA records all cost considerable time and money. However, Jet Linx is perfectly suited to expedite all of these steps, allowing an aircraft owner to focus energy on more important areas. 

With the amount of training required, it is important to note that Jet Linx has negotiated the best training rates with our training partners, FlightSafety and CAE. Training costs are negotiated on every level, including volume discounts based on the types of aircraft in the Jet Linx fleet. Additionally, we receive certain advantages when scheduling training, including being able to book training farther in advance and being able to reserve space in classes before naming the specific pilot in the class – a definite plus when adding new aircraft to the Jet Linx fleet.

Consistent Charter Revenue: Charter and Jet Card Programs

Some aircraft management companies offer revenue generation through the sale of flight hours in the wholesale charter market. With this arrangement, the revenue helps the aircraft owner offset fixed costs of ownership, such as the salaries for the flight crew, insurance, hangar costs, maintenance, and flight training expenditures. Utilizing the wholesale charter market for revenue presents a lot of opportunity for potential passengers, but it also becomes hard to predict monthly revenue as hourly rates fluctuate.

Jet Linx offers aircraft owners revenue through our exclusive, members-only Jet Card program. Jet Linx is the only aircraft management company that offers a guaranteed, internally-controlled stream of revenue through the built-in demand from our Jet Card Program. We also set the hourly revenue paid to our owners, as well as the fuel cost per gallon on all revenue flights. By doing so, Jet Linx eliminates the variable costs of the charter for an aircraft owner.

How Does Jet Linx Compare to Other Private Jet Management Companies?

 

 

Local Service, National Infrastructure

 

Jet Linx Aircraft Management is structured to provide full service, local support backed by a national infrastructure, delivering hassle-free aircraft management services and an industry-best experience. With cost savings, the highest standards of safety, built-in revenue generation, exclusive client benefits, long-term stability, and private Bases nationwide, Jet Linx offers benefits that few other aircraft management companies can provide.

With Jet Linx as your aircraft management partner, you receive the care and attention that small aircraft management companies provide, combined with the power and stability that larger aircraft management companies are known for. 

Jet Linx offers local private facilities in 19 different locations but also has the backing of a National Operations Center where flight coordination, crewing, HR, marketing, accounting, and all senior staff are housed. Our local Base teams provide Forbes Five-Star service backed by the infrastructure of a national organization.

Jet Linx private terminals are secure, safe, and only accessible to Jet Card members and aircraft management clients. Within our private Base locations, our members and clients will find a welcoming team, complimentary snacks, and beverages, as well as upscale furnishings, and all of the necessary equipment and technology to conduct business on the fly.

 

Guaranteed, Controlled Revenue Stream

 

Jet Linx has a distinct advantage over other aircraft management companies because of our internally-controlled Jet Card program. This provides our aircraft owners with a controlled source of revenue and the demand is built-in. As an Aircraft Management client, we can add your aircraft to our fleet, making it available to our local and national base of Jet Card members. The variable costs that come with selling to the wholesale charter market are eliminated through agreed-upon hourly revenue paid to owners, as well as the fuel cost per gallon on all revenue flights.

 

Save Thousands on Fuel and Aircraft Maintenance

 

Jet Linx manages the third-largest Part 135 fleet in the nation. Using the leverage of a large, diverse national fleet, we receive volume discounts not available to other aircraft management companies. The best part is that these savings are passed directly on to aircraft owners, where they can expect to save a minimum of 15% on fuel, maintenance, pilot training, insurance, and hangar costs. Not only do our clients receive these discounts, but they also receive the leading aircraft management service in the nation. 

 

Highest Standards of Aircraft Safety

 

We don’t just adhere to FAA-mandated safety regulations, we exceed them. Our stringent operational control standards exceed FAA regulatory requirements. When it comes to aircraft management, we believe in the absolute highest level of safety and won’t settle for anything less.

Jet Linx boasts some of the highest safety certifications in the industry with the International Business Aviation Council Stage 3 registered operator, ARGUS Platinum rating, and Wyvern Wingman safety rating. These three accomplishments together are earned by less than one percent of all aircraft operators in the world. 

Through robust investment into a Safety Management System, Jet Linx assesses planned changes and quality escapes through internal and external evaluations and reporting. Monthly safety audits at all Base locations, facility security reviews, and upgrade investments ensure that our safety system improves on a daily basis. 

Jet Linx also hosts small focus group symposium meetings quarterly with our vendors, insurers, National Air Transportation Association leaders (NATA), and other Part 135 operators. Jet Linx is also the only airline to hold an annual Safety Summit, an internal event where all retail flight operations are ceased for the day so that a company-wide focus on safety can occur.

 

Complete Aircraft Transaction

 

With Complete Aircraft Transaction (CAT) from Jet Linx, we offer not just full-service aircraft management solutions, but a complete lifecycle solution for you as an aircraft owner, from purchase to sale.

Our expert acquisition and sales broker partners help coordinate all aspects of a purchase or sale, and we can offer our industry-best private jet management program in between.

When you’re ready to buy, we can assist with negotiations, inspections, documentation, records review, and more.

When you’re ready to sell, our team can conduct audits, create marketing plans, provide marketplace analysis, and more.

Explore our Aircraft Management Program and find the perfect fit for your private aviation needs.