Penthouse in The Sky
Maxim Australia|June 2017

Struck it rich? Forget buying your own plane. These days, celebrities and billionaires are opting for the convenience and variety of top-tier charter services...

Jared Paul Stern

In the past few years, as Uber-style aviation services have proliferated, the concept of the “private jet” has lost some of its meaning. At the same time, technology has improved, resulting in business jets that are both faster and more efficient than their predecessors. Designers, meanwhile, have created eye-popping interiors for their deepest pocketed clients: The most impressively equipped executive jets now rival multimillion-dollar penthouses and megayachts when it comes to luxurious appointments.

But these days you don’t necessarily have to own a jet to experience flying in ultimate style. In fact, with very few exceptions, owning makes less sense than ever: Some of the richest and most successful private fliers instead rely on top-tier charter services that essentially place an entire fleet of aircraft at their disposal. True luxury is being able to fly anywhere, anytime, in the perfect jet for the job — the equivalent of possessing a private air force.

“The words 'private jet’ used to carry the cachet that you as an individual or company owned the aircraft ,” notes Michael Farley, chief revenue officer of Private Jet Services (PJS), a US$100 million-per-year company whose high-profile clients include Beyoncé and Jay Z, Rihanna, the Rolling Stones, the Boston Bruins, Vice President Mike Pence, and a number of Wall Street titans. PJS has a half-dozen major celebrity- musician clients on world tours at any given moment, and all of them have specific aircraft requirements.

It’s not just about what you can afford — though with a VIP configured ULR (ultra-long-range) jet that can get you anywhere in the world clocking in at upwards of US$65 million, cost is certainly a consideration. A single round-trip flight to Seoul from New York on a ULR can run around US$1 million. But those planes are less than ideal for shorter hops. “Ownership is oft en an imperfect solution,” Farley notes. “A single type of jet will never fulfill all of your aviation needs.” In addition to a charter fleet of over 1,000 jets capable of everything from speedy commutes to decadent global crossings, what PJS’s core clientele of ultra-high-net-worth individuals values is discretion, reliability, and the ability to comply with any request.

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