Is there an alternative to low cost commercial flying?

05-06-18
What are the alternatives to low cost commercial flights? Is dry hiring a plane economical and efficient? Has the single engine turbo prop aircraft reduced the cost of private hiring a plane? Is the private hire of an aircraft cost effective? Is hiring a plane just for wealthy businessmen and the rich and famous? What are the hidden costs of flying with commercial airlines? What is dry hiring an aircraft?

The emergence of low cost airlines over the past twenty years has made the world a much smaller place. Low cost commercial flights have made large parts of the world accessible to  many more people. In some ways this is a good thing and has made travelling much more equitable but, the truth is, low cost airlines have turned flying into a commodity and too many customers feel ill-treated because of this.

Is It really low cost?

On the face of it, prices have dropped substantially, but this is only part of the story. There are so many hidden costs (food on board, baggage, car parking etc) that passengers rarely realise the true cost of commercial flights.

Extra security has not helped the experience!

It is certainly true that the times we live in are far more dangerous than they once were and as a result, airport security has become a major factor in making the travel experience not particularly enjoyable. In the past, those who wanted a better experience simply had to upgrade to business or first class where the check in queues were much shorter, the food and leg room better and the smile friendlier. Nowadays even those flying in these premium classes still have to arrive at the airport several hours before the flight and still have to endure the nightmare of long queues at airport security.

What is the alternative?

When taking all these costs into account, we can see that commercial travel may well cost us more than we think. However, there are feasible alternatives out there which are not as expensive as you might have thought!

The private hire of aircraft is no longer the preserve solely of the rich and famous or the wealthy businessman. It is in fact becoming a very viable and cost effective way for ordinary people to travel.

How can this be? 

Dry hiring of private aircraft has opened up a world of possibilities for the modern traveller. Dry hiring means that you just hire the aircraft itself without a pilot and fuel and means that the owner can rent the aircraft to you at a cheaper price because they do not need to have an expensive Air Operators Certificate. You can then choose your ‘own’ pilot (which could be yourself!), rather than have one provided by the aircraft owner, and then you (and your pilot) are in control of where you refuel and this decision can be made on the basis of cost rather than convenience.

Do turbo prop aircraft make it more cost effective and efficient?

Since 2017, when The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approved the use of single engine turboprop aircraft in all of its member countries, the market for private dry hiring of aircraft has received a significant boost. The use of these smaller aircraft allows access to much smaller airfields which in turn can be much closer to both your start and ultimate destination points. This can cut the time travelling to and from airports considerably. 

At the same time, the cost of fuel (and parking, both car and aircraft) can be significantly lower at these small airfields which enhances the cost effectiveness of dry hiring a single engine turbo prop aircraft.

In conclusion…

The demand for private dry hire of turbo prop aircraft is increasing all the time. This allows access to smaller, local airfields making it all the more economical and accessible for both personal trips and business flights.

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About the author

Will Graham

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I graduated from the University of Warwick with a BSc Hons in Mathematics & Statistics. Since leaving university I have become Founder and Director of FlexiFly.co.uk.

While studying I played an active role in the family nursing home business, The Graham Care Group, and have continued as a Graduate Trainee alongside my work with FlexiFly, being involved with all areas of the business.

For some years I have been actively involved in international motorsport and achieved numerous awards as co-driver to a European Rally Champion (my dad!). It was these experiences of weekends in Europe that partly inspired us about how we could make air travel more flexible and convenient. The calibre of competitors we met on events have given us insight into the potential our alternative to traditional aircraft charter has.

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