No !! – I don’t charter private jets every day but I had a couple of experiences with chartering private airplanes and helicopters and flying in small aircraft that got me interested in this area.

Recently I found that 2 of my friends were involved in this area:

Jay Deragon with

and Thomas Power with

although both of these are combining business networking with private jet charter.

A few years ago some friends and I chartered a jet ( actually a turbo-prop on the way out and a 737 –  I think – on the way back ) to go skiing in Switzerland & France and we flew from Coventry airport to Geneva airport  and back.

I remember that the turbo-prop was actually owned ( leased ? ) by a motor racing personality ( can’t remember which one for the moment ) – don’t know who owned the 737.

A friend of a friend ( both of whom came skiing with us ) had arranged these flights ( one was an event organiser )

When we were flying we had time and the opportunity to visit the cockpits and talk to the pilots and crew. Some of the conversation was about the fact that there were planes, pilots and crews ” sat around ” all over the world.

The planes need to be chartered in order to provide a return on their owners investment and the pilots need flying hours and trips because that’s what they like to do and because more experience means a better job. Pilots and crews spend a lot of time on ” stand by “.

There seems to be an opportunity here – albeit a fairly complicated one:

There are people who want to fly from A to B who are prepared to pay a certain amount for the flight and there are planes, pilots and crews available.

I am not professing to be an aviation expert but a bit of Googling around gives you a sense of what is going on in the industry.

The last few years ( say 2008 on ) have been very difficult for the whole industry. Many airlines have laid people off ( pilots, crew and ground crew ) and some have gone bust.

The future appears somewhat rosier and the demand for pilots and crews is increasing, particularly in the Middle East, India and China.–_Gulf_carriers_expansion_plans_buffeted_amid_scramble_to_recruit_enough_qualified_pilots_

although I thought this was an interesting summary from a pilot on a forum

” I currently fly a small aircraft for a corporation. The market right now is terrible. Major airlines can pay the bucks, but the glory days of aviation are over. It is very difficult to get hired at a major airline. There are many other flying jobs than just airlines, though. Corporate, aerial mapping, ag, freight, charter, air ambulance, ect.

It will cost you around $40-50,000 to get your private through commercial ratings. Traditionally, you build flight hours by becoming a flight instructor. Instructors don’t make very much money. After you build enough hours, you try to get hired by a freight operator or a as a first officer with a regional airline. First year regional FO salaries range anywhere from $14,000 to $20,000 per year.

Aviation is a very unstable way to make a living. When the economy is bad, oil prices are high, or there is a terrorist attack, aviation is the first thing to feel it. Right now there are thousands of pilots on furlough from airlines.

Don’t get into aviation for the money. You will be dissapointed. Do it because you really like to do it. Don’t believe any of the nonsense you see in flight school advertisements about pilot shortages. There will never be a pilot shortage because there will always be pilots willing to work for next to nothing.

This is only a brief summary. I am writing this to let people know what they are really getting into before they decide to spend the time, effort, and money on becoming a commercial pilot. It is not as glamorous as most people think it is. ”

It would appear then that there is going to be a high demand for planes, pilots and crews in 2012 and beyond and you actually wonder where all of these trained people are going to come from ??

Right at the moment it would seem that there is plenty of spare capacity in all the areas.

Aside from social flights and ejone there are other companies matching plane and crew capacity to customer demand e.g.

Most people ( potential customers ) probably don’t even think about private charter believing it to be way out of their price range.

Actually there are some situations where chartering a whole airplane can be very cost effective – not to mention much more convenient and luxurious. ( We drove our cars to Coventry airport, parked close to the runway and then waited a short time in the lounge before boarding the plane and personalised crew service ).

Making people aware that they can buy competitively priced individual seats on private jets is a bit of a challenge but I believe that it will become much more common for people to fly by private jet using the likes of social flights and ejone.