Charter Aircraft

Choosing the Right Charter Aircraft for your Trip

There is a dazzling array of charter aircraft available in the general aviation marketplace.  However, choosing the right plane is kind of an art; if it’s too big, then you add extra cost unnecessarily, and if it’s too small, you run the risk of not being comfortable and of your luggage not fitting. Speed is something else to consider; props may cost less than a jet, but they are also slower.  Your Charter Specialist can help you select the best aircraft for your specific trip.

There are four basic types of charter aircraft available, each with varying sizes, amenities, and capabilities:

  • Piston

    The smallest planes, piston airplanes, have one or more piston-powered engines connected to the propeller(s), which provide thrust to move the aircraft on the ground and through the air. Piston-powered aircraft most commonly fly at altitudes below 15,000 feet and some have pressurized cabins while others do not. The inside of a typical piston aircraft seats 1-6 passengers and they fly relatively short missions of 300-400 miles, using small general aviation airports.

  • Turboprop

    Turboprop aircraft have one or more gas-turbine engines connected to a gearbox that turns the propeller(s), to move the aircraft on the ground and through the air. Turboprop aircraft burn Jet-A fuel, are frequently larger than piston-powered aircraft, can carry more payload and passengers than their piston-powered counterparts and can typically fly higher than pistons, at altitudes up to 35,000 feet. Turboprop aircraft have lower operating costs than jets because they burn less fuel, but they are also slower than jets. Turboprops are an attractive option for businesses that need to fly missions requiring 600-1,000 miles of travel between general aviation airports that often have runways too short to accommodate jets. They are also ideal for trips to multiple destinations in a single day.  These aircraft vary in size, but the interior of a typical turboprop is the size of a large SUV, seats 6-8 people, and is often configured similar to a small office, where co-workers can meet and make productive use of time en route to a destination.

  • Jet

    Jet aircraft have one or more gas-turbine engines, which provide thrust to move the aircraft on the ground and through the air. Jet aircraft use Jet A fuel, often fly faster than turboprop aircraft and are capable of flying at higher altitudes than pistons or turboprops. Depending on their capability, these aircraft typically fly at altitudes below the airlines (20,000-25,000 feet) or above the airlines (above 40,000 feet). The size and flight range of jets varies widely – some have a single pilot and very small cabin, while others can accommodate a meeting-like environment and are capable of flying internationally.

    • Light Jet

      This charter aircraft category features a wide range of small executive jets seating from six to eight passengers. All these aircraft have well-appointed cabins and are a popular category in the market. Range can vary from 2 to 4.5 hours.

      • Very Light Jet
        An entry-level, brand new type of jet, the VLJs offer great rates in quiet, modern cabins. This type of aircraft typically seats 4-5 passengers and is ideal for flights of up to 2 hours.
      • Super Light Jet
        A step up from light jets, offering a greater cabin space as well as larger baggage compartments. Suitable for short to medium range travel, carrying between seven to eight passengers. With an increased range from light jets and a bigger cabin space, SLJs are both efficient and economical.
    • Midsize Jet

      Improved headroom and a separate washroom define this category. Most midsize charter aircraft seat eight passengers and have a range of three to five hours. Later models have much-improved luggage space.

      • Super Midsize Jet
        These aircraft offer many benefits of the large jets but at more competitive rates. Full standing headroom, great luggage capacity and spacious cabins make this category a popular choice. Speed and range are also standout features, as super mids can go coast to coast without a fuel stop and are among the fastest business jets in the world.  They are the minimum type choice for trans-oceanic travel as well.  Seating varies from eight to ten and the range of these aircraft is 5 to 8 hours.
    • Heavy Jet

      These charter aircraft have spacious cabins, offering six to nine hours range and seating for eight to 16 in first-class executive style. Full standing headroom, galley and in-flight service are standard. The luggage hold can accommodate 15 to 20 assorted-sized pieces.

      • Ultra Long-Range Jet
        Large executive jets which offer intercontinental capabilities. Full standing headroom, sleeping arrangements, a galley and in-flight service are standard within the Global Jet category. The luggage hold can accommodate 15 to 25 assorted sized pieces.
  • Airliner

    • Regional Airliner

      Larger-capacity aircraft ideal for smaller groups who wish to fly short-haul.  These typically seat between 30 and 100 passengers.

    • VIP Airliner

      The ultimate aircraft for private jet travel. These airliners have been converted to accommodate smaller groups in VIP first-class executive seating and are popular for heads of state, offering comfort and luxury with sleeping arrangements for the principal. They are the perfect aircraft for worldwide tours.

charter aircraft

Source: NBAA.org.

Popular Charter Aircraft

Turboprops

  • King Air 350
  • King Air 300
  • King Air B200
  • King Air 200
  • King Air 100
  • Pilatus PC-12
  • Cessna Conquest
  • King Air 90
  • Piper Cheyenne

Light Jets

  • Citation Ultra
  • Citation Encore
  • Hawker 400XP
  • Beechjet 400
  • Learjet 35
  • Learjet 31
  • Learjet 40
  • Falcon 10
  • Citation CJ2
  • Citation CJ3
  • Honda Jet (VLJ)
  • Phenom 100 (VLJ)
  • Eclipse 500 (VLJ)

Midsize Jets

  • Citation X
  • Citation Excel
  • Citation Sovereign
  • Hawker 800A
  • Hawker 800XP
  • Hawker 900XP
  • Hawker 1000
  • Gulfstream 100
  • Gulfstream 150
  • Learjet 45
  • Learjet 55
  • Learjet 60
  • Learjet 75

Heavy Jets

  • Gulfstream 550
  • Gulfstream V
  • Gulfstream IV
  • Global 5000
  • Global Express
  • Challenger SE
  • Challenger 600
  • Challenger 605
  • Challenger 300
  • Falcon 50
  • Falcon 900
  • Embraer Legacy