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How to start your own air charter business

Updated March 23, 2017

An air charter business facilitates flights to and from airports that may not be served by major airlines. Air charters are scheduled by corporations, government officials and travellers willing to spend hundreds of dollars more than airline tickets for special flights. A chartered flight may feature food, drinks, aerial tours and access to business equipment. Your air charter business can build a good reputation from the start with competitive rates, comfortable planes and qualified staff.

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  1. Develop a business plan for your air charter company that addresses start-up capital, flight range and secondary services. Devote a large portion of your business plan to an initial balance sheet plus three and five-year projections to give investors a clearer view of your company's financial wherewithal. List consulting, aeroplane appraisal and long-term charter services to show sources of additional revenue.

  2. Approach banks, venture capital firms and aeroplane enthusiasts to act as investors in your air charter company. Banks can offer commercial loans to finance equipment, payroll and advertising in your air charter's first few months. Deliver copies of your business plan as well as a five-minute presentation to prospective investors.

  3. Reach out to a regional airport to find out minimum requirements for a land lease and construction permit for new airlines. Your air charter must lease land from an airport authority for hangars, offices and runway space. Seek permission for new construction from the airport authority to build facilities on empty lots.

  4. Contact aircraft brokers such as USA Aircraft Brokers Inc. to find planes for your air charter business. Establish your air charter's budget, seating requirements and hangar capacity with an aircraft broker to eliminate aircraft. Compare prices for new and slightly used aircraft through brokers with new aircraft prices from ATR to develop your air charter fleet.

  5. Build an air charter staff that has experience in the aviation industry. Search for licensed pilots with charter flight experience who are willing to give air tours and speak with passengers about their destinations. Look for a ticket clerk, baggage handler, mechanic and administrative assistant to handle your day-to-day operations.

  6. Seek aircraft certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for your air charter business. Provide the dimensions, lettering and initial mileage from your aircraft to the FAA to initiate aircraft certification. The FAA puts air charter businesses through multiple evaluations about safety procedures, employee qualification and licensing to keep track of every airline.

  7. Submit flight plans for each of your air charter's regular routes to the FAA. FAA flight plans require details like aircraft routes, altitude, speed and passenger capacity to track planes big and small. Update your FAA flight plans regularly to reflect new routes and changes to altitude or speed on regular routes.

  8. Negotiate a monthly fuel contract with a jet fuel supplier like UVair with distribution facilities in your area. This contract should show volume discounts for your air charter businesses as well as the amount of fuel delivered each month. Shop around for fuel price quotes until you find a supplier that fits within your operating budget.

  9. Think outside of local publications and media outlets when advertising your air charter business. Speak with regional travel agencies about including your rates, charter routes and contact information in their packets about vacation destinations. Develop concise copy for advertisements in aviation industry publications that will maximise your advertising budget.

  10. Build you air charter's brand online through a simple website. Your website should start with photos of your fleet of aircraft, your staff and destination airports to dazzle first-time visitors. Create tabs for charter rates, travel packages and secondary services like aviation consulting to inform motivated clients.

  11. Tip

    Examine additional revenue sources for your air charter business to complement of specially scheduled flights. Air charter businesses can use their aircraft to run aerial tours of nearby towns and natural attractions between chartered flights. Your business may want to expand into flight instruction, brokerage and aircraft repair to earn money during periods of low demand. Arrange for runway access and temporary hangar space at destination airports before your first charter flight. If you cannot pay monthly lease payments for full hangars, work with other air charters and small carriers to share airport space.

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Things You'll Need

  • FAA aircraft certification and registration
  • Business plan
  • Charter aeroplanes

About the Author

Nicholas Katers has been a freelance writer since 2006. He teaches American history at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wis. His past works include articles for "CCN Magazine," "The History Teacher" and "The Internationalist" magazine. Katers holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in American history from University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, respectively.

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