Despite increasing concerns over environmental impact and backlash from climate activists around the word, the use of private jets is on the rise. The Covid-19 pandemic caused a spike in private jet ownership, the rise in private flights continuing last year as the wealthy sought to avoid the chaos that many airports experienced. According to the WingX portal, around 3.3 million private flights were operated worldwide in 2021, 7% more than before the pandemic.
According to the 2023 High Flyers Report from the US Institute for Policy Studies, although one in six flights handled by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are operated on private aircraft, private jet owners only make up 0.0008% of the global population.
Trusts are a common way for the wealthy to manage their finances, basically creating a separate legal identity that manages most of the assets without the actual owner being revealed. The strategy has long been controversial, as it often provides tax benefits, but, in this case, it also allows people to reap the benefits of private jet ownership without any of the backlash.
Approximately one in six private aircraft registered with the FAA is registered through a trust, a Delaware corporation, or a P.O. box, tactics frequently used to conceal the identity of an aircraft’s owner.2023 High Flyers Report
In the US, owning an aircraft thorough a trust serves an additional purpose besides anonymity, as the FAA only allows US citizens to register aircraft in the country. By establishing partnerships with existing trusts or maybe creating their own trust, foreign nationals can legally register their jets in the US, as the legal entity owning the aircraft is based in the country.
2. Fractional ownership
The second, more accessible option, is fractional ownership, where one jet is owned by multiple people or companies. The more shares of an aircraft somebody purchases, the more hours of flight they are entitled to per year. Additionally, each co-owner has to cover monthly fixed-management fees that cover maintenance and administration, as well as fuel cost for their flights.
Fractional ownerships are usually managed through dedicated programs that maintain the aircraft. As these programs have multiple jets in their care, it is common for the planes be allocated randomly for flights, thus people can frequently fly in other, albeit identical model, jets than the ones they technically own.