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Private Aircraft Management - Top 20 Questions to Ask

By Russ Piggott

November 1, 2022

Are you ready to buy a jet and thinking about hiring an aircraft management company?

There are many benefits to working with aviation experts to operate your jet, and you need to know the right questions to ask. Below, we’ve got 20 questions for you to consider as you’re interviewing management companies.

But first, let’s talk about what a management company does. 

 

What is the role of an aircraft management company?

A private aircraft management company is a third-party aviation services firm that helps an aircraft owner handle all aspects of operating a jet. 

From an aircraft owner’s perspective, a management company representative has ongoing communication with you to coordinate your itineraries, catering and dispatching. But these reps also handle everything behind the scenes. This includes everything from fueling, cleaning, maintenance, and technical services, to insurance, hiring, training, safety, security and billing.  

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned owner, you can enjoy the benefits of jet ownership without the stress of managing daily aircraft operations. After advising the management company of your travel, simply pull your car up to the jet and head to your destination. Like a concierge, they’ll take care of the rest.

What is the role of an aircraft management company?

You can expect an aircraft management company to:

  • Communicate with the owner and/or designated contact.
  • Hire, train, insure, schedule and pay your pilots, maintenance team and, if needed, flight attendants.
  • Coordinate your flights and travel itinerary, including booking your ground transportation, hotel, etc.
  • Help you offset ownership costs by chartering the aircraft to paying customers when you’re not using it.
  • Help you maintain anonymity by blocking the aircraft tail number from tracking services.
  • Manage all of your accounting and third-party billing.
  • Negotiate fuel rates and apply fuel discounts.
  • Secure hangar space.
  • Arrange for aircraft maintenance, repair and cleaning. 
  • Handle your complex catering orders.
  • Ensure that the aircraft is compliant with national and international regulations.
  • Establish and use best-practice aviation safety programs.
  • Offer technical support for your in-flight entertainment system and Wi-Fi.

 

Private Aircraft Management Has its Benefits

An aircraft management company can provide various advantages for aircraft owners. 

Benefits include:

  • Reducing stress. Management companies know everything from the aviation lingo to logistics and trip scheduling, helping to ease the burden on you.
  • Offset ownership costs. Offering the aircraft for charter when you're not utilizing it can generate charter revenue and help offset some of the ownership costs.  
  • Saving on overhead. Lower operational expenses by extending you fleet discounts on fuel, maintenance, insurance, and training. 

 

Costs of Aircraft Management Firms

If you’ve never owned a jet, you might not realize the expenses associated with airplane ownership. It’s a costly investment, and here at Guardian Jet we can help you estimate your cost of ownership

Costs will depend on what type of aircraft you own, and what level of management you desire.

  • Fully Managed Solution: Get access to a fully staffed operation with a 24/7 maintenance and flight crew staff available. This tier is the most expensive.
  • Charter-Managed Solution: Prepares you with the resources needed to charter your aircraft when you aren’t using it to create passive income. This aircraft management solution can be billed two ways: on a monthly basis or on a commission-based plan. 
  • Personalized Solution: Provides you with an aviation specialist for scheduling, dispatching and maintenance needs. This would likely be the lowest cost.

20 Questions for Your Management Company

20 Questions for Your Management Company

As you seek to partner with an aircraft management company, you’re going to want to understand the process of working together. Following are 20 questions you can ask when interviewing potential firms.

 

Account Management

  1. What is the process for me to book a flight?
  2. Who is my direct contact on a daily basis?
  3. How often will my account manager communicate with me?
  4. How is the company perceived in the marketplace? 

Billing & Invoicing

  1. What are your management fees?
  2. Do you have a markup on other fees and services, or are all costs passed straight through? 
  3. Are operating expenses kept in a segregated account or general account?

Personnel & Training

  1. Who will have responsibility for hiring, managing, or firing the crew?
  2. What technical and safety training programs do you employ for pilots, maintenance, ground personnel, and cabin crew members?
  3. What annual usage would warrant adding a third pilot? 

Maintenance & Operations

  1. Will routine maintenance be performed onsite by your own technician, or outsourced?
  2. How do you purchase your fuel?
  3. What is your process of onboarding a new aircraft & do you monitor a pre-buy inspection? 
  4. Where will your aircraft be based? If not at the management company’s home base, does the company have experience operating remote/satellite bases?

Charter

  1. What is the process for getting my plane on your Part 135 charter certificate?
  2. Do I have a say in who can charter my aircraft?
  3. How do you vet potential charter customers?
  4. How do you create a cabin environment that is both professional and comfortable?

Safety & Security

  1. What is your culture of safety and security, plus how do you track/manage that?
  2. Who handles your third-party audits (e.g., Argus, Wyvern, IS-BAO, ACSF or a respected aviation consultant)?

Aircraft Management Company - Need a Referral?

Need a Referral?

At Guardian Jet, we’re often asked by our clients to help them find the best private jet management companies to partner with. Of course, we have experience working with a variety of large, national-level management companies. That familiarity also extends to a long list of small, local managers, sometimes thought of as boutique firms. Our great relationships with this wide range of small and large companies helps us advise clients on the pluses and minuses for choosing either. 

For a referral to a national-level or local management providers, please contact your regional representative at Guardian Jet. We can help connect you with an optimal provider for your needs.

 

Contact Us!

As you can see, there are an array of questions and considerations to achieve optimal private aircraft management. Why not reduce your stress and offload some of the numerous responsibilities to our experts at Guardian Jet? We can provide you with money-, time- and stress-saving expert consultation. 

While considering how to manage your aircraft, try unlocking access to our online client portal. The Vault will help you quickly search for new or replacement aircraft and easily oversee the aircraft you operate, just as you would any asset in a portfolio. You can also research every topic that affects the evaluation, acquisition, operation, and disposal of aircraft to become an expert too.

We look forward to working with you!

Contact Guardian Jet

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Media Contact


Jill Henning

jill@forwardstmarketing.com
+1 203-453-0800

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