While this might not be the best time to buy a private jet in India, alternatives exist aplenty with choices ranging from small Phenom 100 jets to spacious and flamboyant Gulfstreams
An economy that is waiting to pick up pace does not imply luxury experiences have become a blip on the radar. Senior executives understand the relationship between productivity and comfort. While this might not be the best time to buy a private jet in India, alternatives to spread wings in comfort exist in plenty through charters that offer choices from small Phenom 100 jets to spacious and flamboyant Gulfstreams.
Keeping your budget in mind, the foremost thing is to ensure you are leasing the right sized jet for the right distance and of course, your requirements. While shuttle flights from a bustling Mumbai to a neighbouring city like Pune by Invision Air are becoming popular, others are discovering that Taj Air’s connectivity between 130 locations in India is a great way to indulge in hotel hopping.
Mehair’s seaplanes will soon operate flights from Juhu airport to Nasik, Amby Valley, Lavasa, and Lonavala for around Rs 6,000. Mehair is also launching a seven-minute Rs 750 flight from Juhu to Chowpatty.
In the meanwhile, Baron Aviation has found a niche for women looking at bespoke shopping in Dubai. As has Taj Air with a fleet of Falcon 2000, a brand new Falcon 2000LX jet and mid-sized P.180 Avanti II turbo-prop aircraft with Italian interiors. Taj Air offers special packaged deals to all its resorts in the country. Its tagline says: “Charter flights with Taj Air are like staying in your favourite suite at the Taj, and whilst you take care of business or spend time with your loved ones, Taj takes care of everything else.”
However, before booking your flight, you should weigh a few factors. A reputed company will ensure confidentiality and anonymity, treat you as if you’re the last client left on earth by planning every detail, draw out your tailor-made iternary to save you costs of overnight parking, offer your cuisine choices and ensure you can take-off within the shortest time of your arrival at the airport. It is generally a good idea to book three working days in advance.
While it costs between Rs 60,000 to Rs 6 lakh an hour, ensure there are no hidden surprises as, often, the customer does not know what he is paying for. Rajeev Wadhwa, CEO of Baron Aviation, tells The Luxe Café that every cost is transparent. “We give the client a break-up of flying costs, ground handling, crew accommodation, airport charges, and taxes. Costs are based on flying time actuals, not sitting time,” he says.
If you are planning to fly regularly, check whether the charter service offers a jet card, similar to an airline frequent flyer miles card that earns you benefits along the way.
Around 40% of Indian airports are not geared for larger jets as they have restricted runway length. This has led operators such as, Baron, Invision Air, and Air Charter Service to offer smaller aircraft, from small, medium and large to helicopters. Baron’s mixed fleet of eight on offer, for instance, includes two Challenger 604s, Falcon 2000s, Global Express, Hawker 750, AS3555N, Bell 412 and 407.
If you are planning to fly regularly, check whether the charter service offers a jet card, similar to an airline frequent flyer miles card that earns you benefits along the way. Baron’s global corporate card, Platinum for $0.33 million, for instance, allows issue of four cards that can also be transferred, and is refundable. Membership of the platinum card “enables bookings to be made from anywhere to anywhere in the world,” said Wadhwa. The card has been customized to Indian corporate traveller’s specific requests for music and cuisine, in particular. “Once a request is made, including (for) medicines, it will be followed through the journey, whether in India or abroad,” says Wadhwa.
Baron’s Gold card at $0.08million, permits bookings from India to any international or domestic destination. Silver for $0.04 million, is purely a domestic card primarily for entry-level customers, says Wadhwa. Invision’s jet card is for 25, 50, and 100 hours of flying.
Spend a few minutes and check on payment mode, cancellation policy and the type of insurance being provided by the operator.
Meanwhile, if you’re based in the south, K-Air claims to be have one of the best deals for a jet card with great benefits including guaranteed aircraft availability with as little as 10 hours’ notice and a choice of up to 20 aircraft types including helicopters, offering an option to exchange your jet for a smaller or a larger cabin depending on your needs (subject to availability) and no long-term commitment—you can buy blocks of 15/30/50/100 hours and renew or walk-away when complete.
At the end of the day, what is essential is the value proposition. With many unreliable operators in the business, you need to be aware of the nitty gritties that can get you seamless service for your money. Spend a few minutes and check on payment mode, cancellation policy and the type of insurance being provided by the operator.
The Author contributes to major aviation and tourism-related publications, having written for inflight and specialist publications all over the globe for the past twenty years. Her passion for aviation has resulted in her taking a ride in some of the swankiest private jets, and following the sector at a regular pace.