Air Charter Glossary
You will often hear during your conversation with a private jet charter specialist some terms that may seem unfamiliar. When making an investment such as reserving an air charter or signing up for a convenient jet card, it’s imperative that you know exactly what you are signing up for. These common terms are used often in the charter industry.
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Air Ambulance: Private jet, helicopter, and turboprop aircraft that are certified to provide medical transport for those injured or otherwise medically compromised.
Air Charter: The rental or lease of an entire aircraft for the transport of passengers or cargo.
Air Charter Agent: An individual contracted to ensure fair market value, reasonable safety measures are taken and flexibility in the reservation of an air charter.
Air Charter Operator: The Air Charter Operator is responsible for the licensing, maintenance, safety and operation of an air charter company, however, is not always the owner of the luxury jet, business jet or private jet that is available for charter.
Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF): The ACSF (Air Charter Safety Foundation) promotes safety standardization through industry audits influenced by leading safety auditors, charter operators, shared aircraft ownership companies and charter consumers.
Air Traffic Controller: A service provided per country, that promotes the safe, orderly and expeditious flow of air traffic.
Aircraft: Any machine that gains support or lifts from the reaction of the air.
Aircraft Hourly Rate: an hourly rate of time that the aircraft is in use during a charter.
Aircraft Tail Number (#): A number is given to each aircraft by the FAA to be used to identify the aircraft.
Airport: An area (on land or water) that is used for takeoffs and landings of aircraft.
Airspeed: Speed of an aircraft relative to its surrounding air mass.
Airway Distance: The actual (as opposed to straight line) distance flown by aircraft between two points, after deviations required by Air Traffic Control and navigation along published routes.Average figures would be between 5–9%.
Alternate Airport: An airport that will allow aircraft to land when the original destination is unable to allow the aircraft to land, typically due to safety reasons.
Altitude: Vertical distance between an object and mean sea level.
Amphibious Floats: FLOATS or "pontoons" equipped with retractable wheels that permit the aircraft to operate from paved airports.
AOC: An Air Operator's Certificate is the approval granted by a national aviation authority to an aircraft operator to allow it to use aircraft for commercial purposes.
Apron: See “Ramp”
Approach (departure) Control: Radar-based Air Traffic Control, associated with the tower at larger airports. Provides traffic separation services from outside the immediate airport area to a distance of about 40 miles.
ARGUS: ARG/US is by far, the most well known of the air charter safety standards organizations and facilitates a broker program that promotes and addresses the implementation of standard safety practices within the business. Charter flight providers are then rated with DNQ (does not qualify, Gold, Gold Plus, and Platinum categories.
ARO: Airport reservation office. Staffed by the FAA, this entity allocates landing and take-off reservations for unscheduled aircraft in and out of the following airports: JFK, LGA, EWR, DCA, ORD (see airport identifier listings for codes).
Aviation: The operation, development, production, and use of aircraft.
Avionics: The electronic control systems airplanes use for flight such as communications, autopilots, and navigation.
Block Flying Time: The time from when an aircraft is stopped in its parking place with it’s engines off to when it has landed, in its new parking space with all engines off.
Block Rates: A lower "contract rate" for scheduling significant amounts of charter time in advance on a prearranged agreement.
Block Speed: The average speed over a specific distance "block-to-block", or door-to-door with respect to the airport gate.
Business Jet Charter: An aircraft that is chartered for the purpose or use of business transportation.
Carbon Credit: Key component of national and international emissions trading schemes. They provide a way to reduce greenhouse effect emissions on an industrial scale by capping total annual emissions and letting the market assign a monetary value to any shortfall through trading. Credits can be exchanged between businesses or bought and sold in international markets at the prevailing market price. Credits can be used to finance carbon reduction schemes between trading partners and around the world.
Carbon Emissions: The principal greenhouse gas emission.
Carbon Offset: Contributions made, typically in the form of money, to renewable energy research and production projects to mitigate the carbon footprint emitted by aircraft.
Cardinal Altitude: Thousand foot flight levels or altitudes.
Catering: The provision of flight meals for luxury jet charters.
Ceiling: Heights above the earth's surface of the lowest layers of clouds or obscuring phenomena that are reported as broken, overcast, or obscuration, and not classified as thin or partial.
Certificate: FAA-issued license (in this context sometimes referred to a ticket, part 135 license, etc.) to carry passengers for hire.
Charter Broker: A company or individual that holds aircraft charter certificates and provides charter services to retail and wholesale customers. The broker is responsible for payment to the charter provider, for assessing end-user taxes and fees, and for ensuring their customer's safety and satisfaction.
Charter Card: Pre-paid air charter plan, either for a block of charter hours at a pre-defined fee or a set debit balance in dollars.
Commercial Flight: A "commercial" flight is when the customer has paid for a commercial charter of that aircraft. For commercial private jet charter, the minimum stopping distance for the aircraft is multiplied by 1.6, to create the minimum landing distance required (LDR).
Commuter Operator: A regional, scheduled airline.
Contrails: Streaks of condensed water vapor created in the air by aircraft flying at high altitudes; aka vapor trails.
Controlled Airspace: An airspace of defined dimensions within which Air Traffic Control service is provided to IFR flights and to VFR flights in accordance with the airspace classification.
Corporate Operator: A company flight department which has earned a "Part 135" certificate to carry passengers for compensation. A company flight department that has earned a part 135 certificate to carry passengers for compensation.
Crew ‘Day Room’ Charges: The FAA allows a crew to rest at any point to break their duty time. Putting the crew to rest during the day on a charter in order to accommodate later flight times is called ‘Day Room’.In instances where a charter requires longer time on the ground than the standard duty day (usually 12hrs) allows, the crew can be put to rest during the day in order to come back on duty later on, past the standard day cut-off. This additional rest period must last 10 consecutive hours.Day Room charges vary by location, crew, and aircraft but range from $600 - $1200, on average.
Crew Duty Time: The FAA has strict regulations on the number of consecutive hours a charter pilot can be on duty.The standard duty day for a crew is 14 hrs total, which includes the time required to do pre and post-flight routines. The general rule of thumb for a standard duty is that the charterer can have the aircraft under their control for a maximum of 12 hrs, which allows for the crew to perform pre and post-flight checks.There are complexities involved in the FAA crew duty day and details will vary by trip and aircraft.
Crew Fees: Pilot or flight crew pay, this can vary by plane, experience, and situation but generally ranges between three and eight hundred per crewmember.
Crosswind: Winds blowing perpendicular or not parallel to the runway or the aircraft's flight path.
Cruise Speed: When an aircraft is no longer climbing and it reaches altitude, this speed is the one in which it reaches.
Cruising Altitude: A level altitude maintained by an aircraft while in flight.
D-085: Page 85, section D, of an operator's federally mandated Operations Manual. This certified page lists all aircraft that the operator may legally offer for charter.
Daily Minimum Flight Time Adjustments (Daily Mins): In order to protect the owner from losses on such trips, Daily Min fees are imposed. For short trips, it is often more costly for an owner to fly the airplane, pay a crew, devote operational resources to booking/payment/client service/etc. than it is to charge less than 2hrs of flight time to a customer.
De-ice Charges: These charges are made when an aircraft experiences icy or winter conditions while in service during a charter. While de-ice Charges are impossible to predict, they can range anywhere from $100-$600 on small aircraft and up to $2,000+ on large jets.
Dead Head: A leg of a flight in which there is no passengers or cargo being transported onboard the aircraft.
Decision Height: When flying an aircraft, the height at which a decision must be made during an instrument approach to either continue the approach or to execute a missed approach.
Demurrage: Charges that are levied by an operator when a charterer keeps an aircraft after the completion of the flight.
Depreciation: An asset value decrease often seen after an aircraft is created and then flown.
Double Round Trip: This occurs when an air charter itinerary is made and it becomes more expensive to keep the charter away from the home base than it is to return empty.
Duty Time: Time logged when any flight crew member is in service in any capacity.
EFIS (Electronic Flight Information Systems): These modern systems offer enhanced reliability, reduced weight, simplified installation and overall cost savings.
EGPWS (Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System): Uses aircraft inputs such as position, attitude, airspeed and glide slope, which along with internal terrain, obstacles, and airport databases predict a potential conflict between the aircraft's flight path and terrain or an obstacle.
ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter): A radio transmitter activated automatically by the impact of an accident. Emits a warbling tone on the international emergency frequencies of 121.5 MHz, 243 MHz and (newer models) 406 MHz. ELT signals can be received by nearby FAA facilities, aircraft overhead, and search and rescue (SARSAT) satellites.
Empty Legs: These re-positioning flights are those in which a one-way flight has been scheduled and must return to its home airport. Due to having to return “empty”, the chartering of these flights is generally cheaper than a traditional charter.
Executive Jet Charter: An air charter utilized specifically by executives.
FAA (Federal Aviation Administration): The US Department of Transportation's agency for aviation in the United States. In addition to regulating airports, aircraft manufacturing and parts certification, aircraft operation and pilot certification, the FAA operates Air Traffic Control, purchases and maintains navigation equipment, certifies airports and aids airport development, among other activities.
FAA Part 91 Certificate: The certification required for aircraft to perform ‘owner-operated’ flights.
FAA Part 135 Certificate: The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) grants a Part 135 certification to private jet operators that are permitted to fly commercially, including non-scheduled charter and air taxi operators and generally includes an audit of areas such as company safety policy; management and organizational competence; crew training; aircraft maintenance; aircraft loading; flight planning; and fuel planning. Also, the FAA continuously oversees inspections throughout the year, base inspections annually, when adding a new aircraft to the certificate during a conformity inspection and semi-annually for pilot checks.
FBO Fixed Base Operator: Provides ground services for air charter clients such as onsite mechanic, fuel service, catering, ground transportation and other services.
Featured Charter: A charter to a specific destination that may include the hotel, ground transport, and additional packages.
Ferry Flight: A flight for the purpose of returning an aircraft to base, delivering an aircraft from one location to another, moving an aircraft to and from a maintenance base.
FET Tax: Federal Excise Tax (FET) of 7.5% is paid to the IRS for all domestic Air Transportation charges.
Floats: Pontoons, or flotation devices, that enable an airplane (or helicopter) to land on water.
Fleet Manager: A commercial aviation entity or representative in charge of subcontracting maintenance and operation of a corporate aircraft.
Flight Plan: Filed with an Air Traffic Control Facility, a flight plan is the specific information regarding the flight or intended flight of an aircraft.
Flight Time: The time in which the aircraft is in flight between two points.
FMS (Flight Management System): A regional office of the United States Federal Aviation Administration that concentrates on enforcing regulations.
FOD: Any object on the runway that may be hazardous to the aircraft or people on the ground. This stands for Foreign Object Debris.
Fractional Ownership: When an individual or organization enters into an agreement to purchase a “share” of an aircraft. Fractional owners are not guaranteed access to the same aircraft each time and typically pay a fixed monthly maintenance fee as well as an hourly fee.
Fuel Surcharge: A charge covering the increase in fuel price.
Fuselage: The main body of the aircraft that carries passengers, flight crew, and cargo.
GADO: General Aviation District Office of the FAA.
General Aviation: A strict reference to private aviation not for hire.
Global Positioning System (GPS): Highly accurate navigation aid in satellite positioning, velocity and time systems.
GPWS (Ground Proximity Warning System): Also called a Ground-Collision Warning System, this system is designed to alert pilots if there is an immediate danger of flying into the ground.
Great Circle Distance: The shortest distance between two points on a globe.
Ground Speed: The speed of an aircraft relative to the surface of the earth.
Ground Transportation: Ground transportation is an additional service to air charters that provides a car or limousine to and from the airport.
Hangar: An enclosed and secure structure for which to place aircraft when not in use.
Heavy Jet: An aircraft with a minimum takeoff weight of 255,000 lbs.
Helicopter: A rotor driven aircraft that uses vertical axes with pitched blades to generate lift and stability.
Helipad: A helipad is used for takeoffs, landings and occasionally for parking of helicopters.
Heliport: The area of land or water used for the landings and takeoffs of helicopters, the buildings, structures and grounds.
Horsepower: The motive energy required to raise 550 lbs. one foot in one second, friction disregarded.
IATA Code: International aviation codes for international airports.
ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization): The IACO is an agency of the United Nations and is charged with the development of principles and techniques of international air navigation.
IFR (Instrument Flight Rules): Rules of the road for flights permitted to penetrate clouds and low visibility conditions by reference to cockpit flight instruments and radio navigation. Aircraft must be equipped and pilots qualified and current for IFR flight. Flight plans and ATC clearances are required. Flights are monitored and traffic separated by Air Traffic Control, usually by radar.
ILS (Instrument Landing System): A precision instrument approach system utilizing radio transmitters at the runway ends which provide precise left-right and up-down indications to the pilot permitting aircraft to land during periods of low ceilings or poor visibility.
Indicated Air Speed: The speed as indicated by a specialized airspeed device on the aircraft.
Independent Operator: A charter operator that does not meet the definition of FBO or commuter, but may not be involved in contract management of aircraft.
Instrument Meteorological Conditions: Conditions such as visibility, the distance between clouds, and ceiling level that does not meet the standard for VMC.
International Airport: An airport designated by it’s contracting state to carry out, on top of traditional operations, those duties in relation to customs and immigration.
IS-BAO: The International Standard of Business Aircraft Operations is a code of best practices and encompasses global aircraft charter standards. The IS-BAO was introduced by the International Business Aviation Council and has been endorsed by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) as well as multinational organizations worldwide. This standard has been widely recognized as the “gold standard” for air charter safety and operations globally.
Jet Charter: Leasing a jet and hiring a crew for the purpose of private air transportation.
Jet Charter Broker: An individual who facilitates the lease, rental or purchase of a jet charter aircraft.
Jet Stream: winds at a high altitude and speed that in the US blow from West to East.
Joint Ownership: The purchase or lease of an aircraft by a relatively small number of owners.
KNOT (nautical mile per hour): Most common measure of aircraft speed equaling 6,080 feet or about 1.15 miles.
Landing Fees: Landing fees are those paid to airports that an air charter client lands at, generally smaller rural airports are less expensive than those commercial facilities.
Layover: During one itinerary or scheduled flight, a night spent overnight that is not at the home base of the jet charter aircraft or crew.
Leg: In an aircraft itinerary, the single direction of travel between two points but may not include all landings and fuel stops.
Lift: A term used for any aircraft engaged in the transport of passengers or cargo.
Match Speed: The ratio of an aircraft’s true airspeed in relation to the speed of sound.
Medevac: Private jet, helicopter, and turboprop aircraft that are certified to provide medical transport for those injured or otherwise medically compromised. See also Air Ambulance.
National Airspace System: National Airspace System is the United States network of airspace, navigational services facilities, and equipment along with their associated information, services, rules, regulations, policies, procedures, and personnel.
Nautical Mile: A unit of measurement defined as 1,852 meters (6,076.1 ft; 1.1508 mi).
NAVAIDS (Navigational Aid): GPS (Global Positioning System), maps, beacons or compasses that can be used to provide guidance, location, and direction to a pilot and his aircraft from one point to another.
Navigation: The control and logistical planning of the movement of an aircraft or other vehicles.
NATS: Provides ATC to aircraft flying in the United Kingdom.
NBAA National Business Aviation Association: A nonprofit trade association that represents more than 11,000 companies in an effort to lobby for the rights and interests of private and corporate jet aircraft owners.
Net/net: Also known as wholesale quote, this is applied to rates not including taxes, or other end-user fees.
Non-Towered Airport: An airport without a control tower.
Operator: Responsible for the licensing, maintenance, safety and operations of one or more private charter aircraft. The operator is not always the owner of the luxury jet, business jet or private jet that is available for charter.
One-ways: When an aircraft is chartered for a flight for one leg, without a known return, of a specified itinerary.
Overnight Fees: These are fees assessed when an aircraft and crew are kept at a location overnight, they may include hotel stays and hangar fees but vary by location and situation.
Pattern: Typically supervised by air traffic controllers at airports, the pattern is a path of air traffic control around an airfield.
Payload: Any cargo, passengers or otherwise, in which payment has been made for its conveyance that is carried by aircraft beyond what it typically carried when the aircraft is empty.
Pilot In Command: The pilot in charge of the safety, operation, and flight of an aircraft, also known as a PIC.
Point To Point Pricing: This occurs more often as a result of when an individual or organization reserves a transient aircraft charter for a jet or other aircraft from a departure point that is not where the aircraft is physically located. Typically seen in empty leg flights, this price is negotiated when individuals charter only part of the original aircraft’s itinerary and an additional unscheduled stop is made.
Positioning: Ferrying aircraft for departure or return from other than the originating airport.
Positioning Time: Time estimated for an aircraft to travel to the trip departure position.
Precipitation: This can be rain, sleet, hail or snow, but generally is in the form of water particles that fall from the atmosphere.
Preferred Vendors: Preferred vendors are those on the list of air charter or private jet charter operators that any one agency or brokerage uses to facilitate their services in any one region or worldwide.
Private Airport: An airport that is utilized for private aviation or general aviation but not commercial flights.
Private Flight: A private flight is when an owner of an aircraft utilizes the aircraft for personal use and does not accept money for that particular flight, most of the time this is used in the case of a friend or family flight by the owner.
Private Jet: Aircraft owned by a private company, organization or individual.
Private Jet Broker: An individual who facilitates the reservation of a private aircraft for charter purposes.
Private Jet Charter: Hiring a full private jet aircraft for a specific itinerary as opposed to ownership of the aircraft.
Prohibited Area: Unless specified and arranged with the controlling agency, an airspace area in which flight is prohibited.
Propjet: An airplane that is propeller driven and whose engine is a jet turbine rather than piston operated.
Radar: Similar to “echolocation” this form of transmission sends out radio pulses to map the location of objects within the range of the transmission. As the pulses reach objects within range, the pulse bounces off the object and returns to the transmission device allowing for the device to recognize there is an object there.
Radio: A communication device used by aircraft operators and air control operators.
Ramp: Used for deplaning, parking of aircraft, etc, the apron or open "tarmac" is located in front of an FBO or terminal facility.
Release Time: When necessary to separate a departing aircraft from other air traffic, a departure time is restricted by ATC.
Repositioning Fees: Fees are related to flight time charges incurred when there is either no aircraft at the location in which you are flying from or if you are responsible for the return flight of the aircraft to its base of operation.
Repositioning Time: This is the time it takes for an aircraft to arrive at the destination in which a private jet charter client is flying from as well as the time it takes the aircraft to return to its base of operation.
Retail Customer: A client or “end user” who charters an aircraft for personal use and is assessed a Federal Excise Tax (FET) and segment fees as required.
Retail Quote: Quote including taxes and end-user assessed fees given to a retail customer.
Restricted Area: Airspace excluding civilian aircraft.
Rudder: Aircraft component located on the tail of the aircraft to the rear of the vertical stabilizer (fin) that forces the tail left or right, correspondingly "yawing" the aircraft right or left and "coordinates" with the banking of wings to balance a turn.
Runway: Smooth area or strip used for the landing and takeoff of airplanes.
Scheduled Air Transportation: Transportation by airlines requiring the FAA part 121 certification.
See And Avoid: requirement enforced by the FAA that hold pilots ultimately responsible for separation from other aircraft when visual conditions permit spotting traffic.
Segment (leg): Unit of measure in reference to the flight between takeoff and landing.
Segment Fees: Segment Fees are paid to the IRS on a per-passenger basis for each leg of every trip. The percentage tax is 7.5% for passengers and 6.25% for a property as of 2017. The head tax for Alaska/Hawaii is $9.00. Domestic flights are $4.10 per passenger (as of 2017). International Segment Fees are $18 per passenger (as of 2017).
Short Leg Fees: When an aircraft travels up in the air and back down, in aerial terms, this is referred to as a ‘cycle’. Like motor vehicles, once a cycle has been made it affects the wear and tear of the aircraft subsequently lowering its value. Short Leg Fees are assessed to make up for the wear and tear on an aircraft when said aircraft is made to fly from 10-90 minutes. These are typically seen in private jet charters (not turboprops) and can range from $200-$500 per flight.
Sigmet: A severe weather-related advisory issued when conditions affect the safety of ALL aircraft.
Speed Of Sound: The speed of sound is equal to 769 mph.
Sports Jet Charter: A private jet charter or air charter specifically used to transport sport’s teams and sporting event participants to events.
Stage Length: Distance during withering the entire itinerary of one private jet charter client’s itinerary or one non-stop leg.
Statute Mile: Unit of length equal to 5,280 feet.
Tail Number: the registration number given to an aircraft.
Tailwind: Winds that are more than 90 degrees to the longitudinal axis of the runway.
TARMAC: Airport surface paved with the substance such as the runway or ramp/apron.
TAWS (terrain awareness and warning system): An advanced type of GPWS that provides the flight crew earlier aural and visual warning of impending terrain, forward-looking capability and continued operation in the landing configuration.
Taxi Time: The time an aircraft is in transit between the gate, terminal, or RAMP and runway leading up to take-off.
TCA (terminal control area): An area of controlled airspace within the vicinity of major airports to protect air traffic during departure and arrival to the airport.
TCAD: A proprietary low-cost anti-collision system detecting and alerting pilots to nearby transponders but not providing evasive instructions or coordination with other aircraft.
TCAS (traffic alert and collision avoidance system): A system located within the cockpit of a transponder-equipped aircraft that alerts the pilot, ATC, and command of an evasive action needed between aircraft.
Third Party Verification: Verification of safety measures, maintenance reports, and operations by an independent auditor.
Traffic Pattern: A standard rectangular flight pattern around the landing runway at an airport. Includes 45-degree or crosswind entry to the rectangle, with downwind, base and final legs as sides of the rectangle. Standard are 90-degree left turns around the rectangle (non-standard right-hand traffic pattern is noted in Airport Facility Directories) with downwind flown at a specified altitude, usually 1,000 or 1,500 feet above the airport elevation. At airports with a control tower; the pattern may be modified or short-cut according to ATC instructions.
Transponder: In response to ground-based interrogation signals, provides ATC with an aircraft’s altitude and more precise position.
True Air Speed: Speed of an aircraft relative to undistributed air, or in other words, without wind.
Turbine: An engine using compressed air to generate thrust to spin a metal shaft inside the motor.
Turbo Jet Aircrafts: An aircraft with jet engines that operate turbines which operate air compressors.
Turboprop Aircraft: A jet engine powered turbine and propeller aircraft.
U - Z
UNICOM (Universal Communication): This common radio frequency is used at controlled (non-tower) airports and by fixed base operators for local pilot communication, fuel orders, parking instructions etc.
VFR: Visual Flight Rules (flight out of clouds).
Visibility: Having the ability to identify or see prominent un-lit objects during the day or lit objects at night.
Visual Meteorological Conditions: Visibility, the distance between clouds or a ceiling that is equal to or higher than the specified minimums.
VLJ: A Very Light Jet also referred to as entry-level jet, can be operated by a single pilot and seats 2-4 passengers.
Wait Time: Time in which a private jet charter, crew, and aircraft, is waiting on the tarmac in preparation for a new departure or next travel leg in the itinerary.
Wake Turbulence: A condition of turbulent air caused by trailing winds across an aircraft’s wingtip vortices.
Waypoint: Predetermined geographical position or an endpoint of the leg of a course, especially one defined relative to other navigational aids whose coordinates have been generated by a computer.
Weather Minimums: The absolute minimum visibility conditions in which an aircraft may be flown as per VFR, if visibility is less than the specified minimums, an aircraft may be flown under IFR or not at all.
Wholesale Buyer: Individual either employed as a charter broker or charter operator that has been given allowance by an aircraft owner to represent their aircraft to air charter clients.
Wholesale Quote: Also known as a net quote, this is provided to wholesale buyers for the purpose of resale and does not include taxes or end-user assessed fees.
Wholesale Rates: Hourly rates that have been discounted to wholesale buyers for purpose of resale. While the industry average is a 5% discount this may vary between individual charter operators and charter brokers.
Winglet: A small rudder-like addition to the tips of an aircraft’s wing that controls or employs air movement and through this, increases fuel economy.
Wyvern: Wyvern, a well known and respected organization in the charter industry, conducts strict audits to determine if a charter flight operator is “recommended” or not. This result is published in what is known as the PASS (Pilot and Aircraft Safety Survey) report according to the Wyvern Wingman Standard.
X-1: Bell X-1, also called X-1, is a U.S. rocket-powered supersonic research aircraft built by Bell Aircraft Corporation, the first aircraft to exceed the speed of sound in level flight on October 14, 1947.
Zulu: The phonetic pronunciation of the final letter of the NATO.