Five Key Questions For Your Air Charter Service
Jackson Hole Private Jet Charter Companies
The air charter industry is very diverse. Charter operator and broker organizations of various sizes, quality and competencies are vying for your flight and dollars. New broker names appear on the scene continuously, offering to arrange charters on your behalf as your agent. It is important to understand there are no real barriers to entry and literally anyone can advertise and call themselves a charter broker.
The DOT and FAA government departments do their best in reviewing and enforcing practices, however there is no government quality rating or broker seal of approval, and private charter fliers assume their own risk in choosing and using a private jet and charter service.
Air charter service providers fall into one of two categories, broker or operator:
Brokers do not own, operate, manage or have control over aircraft. They serve to arrange independent jets for passenger(“client”) charters, or they market charter operator's jets to the consumer. Brokers represent either the client, or the aircraft operator, in arranging a charter flight. Brokers typically will have an industry-wide reach, and connect with a variety of charter aircraft options, or jet charter listing for any one flight.
Operators operate aircraft under applicable FAA regulations for charter, personal, or other type flights. Charter operators must earn and hold an FAA Air Carrier Certificate and are held under specific Operations Specifications designated by the FAA for their specific flight operations. They work with, and are periodically inspected by, their local FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). An operator may own or lease independent jets, or they may manage jets for private individuals or corporations and then operate personal and charter flights with them.
Jackson, WY charter aircraft owner, broker, and sales agent New Flight Charters, presents five important areas and questions to help manage your financial, legal and safety risk in using air charter service providers:
Five Key Components and Questions for Your Jet Charter Broker
- Who are the organization personnel and what is their specific aviation experience? How long has the company name been in business? Local brokers have surfaced in recent months and years. There is very little required to call yourself an air charter broker, and many have been part of prior failed or bankrupt brokerages, or struck out on their own.Often broker “companies” are actually one person with a website and a cell phone. Their website may list friends names, spouses, ghost-names, or loosely related names to appear more substantial. Check the history and aviation experience of those involved.
- Check their Professional Liability Insurance certificate, commonly called “errors & omissions” insurance.
- Request copies of their IRS Form 720, Federal Excise Tax deposits and filings. If they are not paying their excise taxes, you could be liable for their unpaid taxes. The IRS has pursued the passengers when the brokerage has not remitted their flight excise taxes, even though passengers may have already paid the tax amount to the brokerage. If the broker is your “agent” or acting on your behalf, you could be liable.
- Run a simple background check on the organization, the broker and company personnel. Have any personnel associated with the organization ever been convicted of a felony, filed for bankruptcy or had tax liens?
- Request their D-U-N-S number, Dun & Bradstreet rating, or other registered credit history verification. Broker credit history and ratings are important. There have been brokers who did not (or could not) pay the bills for charters. The passengers then became liable for the payment, even though they may have already paid the broker for the charter. If the broker is your “agent” or acting on your behalf, you could be liable.
This is not the aircraft's insurance. Professional Liability protects you from basic processing errors in booking, scheduling and financial transactions. Without it, you could be liable for any mistakes your broker/agent makes in arranging your flight with the aircraft operator. With high-ticket air charter purchases you could be liable for thousands of dollars or more if a mistake is made.
It’s not uncommon for felons or delinquents to be in key positions since there is little required and no checks to call yourself an air charter broker. Background checks can be run online for very low cost compared to your flight cost, and are a very worthwhile quality check.
Five Key Components and Questions For Your Air Charter Operator
These key components and questions for your independent jet charter broker and operator will help you evaluate the quality and competency of your organization, and manage your risk. This is not a complete list nor should be your only consideration in choosing a charter service. It is meant to make you aware of critical risk management areas that are not commonly considered by the typical Jackson Hole charter flier.
Since 2003 the aviation experts at Jackson Hole's New Flight Charters have provided the leading values in private jet charter, using arguably the largest selection of quality operator aircraft with a best price guarantee for every flight. The company has experienced record growth and was named to the Inc.500|5000 in 2009 and 2010, as the fastest growing air charter service over the past five years. For more information on New Flight Charters, call (800)732-1653.