For travelers concerned about the environment, the private jet companies offer programs to offset carbon emissions. Terrapass, which has partnered with Magellan, can calculate carbon offsets based on the size and age of a plane and where its flying. Magellan includes carbon offsets in jet cards greater than 50 hours.
New fliers may be driving some of the increase in sales, but existing clients are refilling their jet cards with more hours.
“We’re seeing members purchase larger increments, so someone at 50 hours is renewing at 75 hours,” said Mr. Tivnan of Magellan Jets. These fliers want to lock in availability for themselves and family members, should they need it, he said.
The prices are not cheap. Magellan’s entry-level jet card for a Hawker 400XP, which seats six to eight people, is $130,000 for 25 hours. For the 14-passenger Gulfstream 450, it’s $313,950.
But tax breaks are available. The CARES Act, the economic stimulus package passed in late March, waived the 7.5 percent excise tax on all private jet flights and hours bought this year. That savings adds up. The same 25 hours on the Gulfstream 450 would have been $25,000 more expensive before the tax break.
Owners who put their planes into chartered service can also take advantage of tax exemptions. The 2017 tax overhaul allows an owner who uses a plane at least 50 percent for business purposes to deduct the entire purchase price in the first year of owning the jet. But that business purpose could be putting the jet into the market for other fliers to use.
Experts caution, however, that the supply may catch up to the demand.
The price for chartering a plane to fly in the United States — as opposed to buying flight hours — is low now. A one-way chartered flight from New York to Los Angeles, for example, would typically cost around $30,000 for a jet that seats eight people, said Jean De Looz, head of Americas for MySky, which helps jet owners manage costs. But that has fallen to $12,000 to $17,000.