Access all areas: The rise of private jet travel
One of the most time-consuming and inconvenient aspects of developing a Europe-wide property portfolio is simply the laborious business of flying around the continent while getting bogged down in big airports.
Even the best-planned reconnaissance rips, tend to involve motorway traffic jams, overcrowded airport lounges, delays, queues and other operational trivia. But for the jet setting property seeker, there is a better, sleeker way of doing things, in the form of a private air charter.
Whether you are taking a European tour of potential property acquisitions, or simply ticking off the musts on this season's list of the hottest European getaway destinations, the trend is definitely moving towards this more exclusive alternative to commercial air travel. Going private can make a huge difference not only to the level of privacy and luxury experienced, but it can also make big time savings when it comes to airport parking, security and administration.
Companies such as Jetfly, Luxaviation, Global Jet Concept and Privatefly are just some of the myriad operators offering tailored packages that concentrate on getting in and out of small and secluded airports all over Europe.
Jetfly is one of the pioneers in offering the fractional ownership business model that provides clients with the option to buy a share in the plane, creating proprietor benefits such as 12 hour notice booking, 365 days of the year. Jetfly says that if your own personal plane is not available (perhaps a co-owner is using it that day), they will provide an identical alternative from their fleet.
Whether you are checking out a chateau in the Champagne region or viewing a summer villa close to Venice, there are small, discrete airports nearby serviced by private jet companies flying into classic destinations such as Nice, Palma de Mallorca and Ibiza. This year is seeing the competition heating up in the form of Mykonos in the South Aegean, Split on Croatia's Adriatic coast and Italy's Naples all becoming favourites with the jet set.
Most of the private charter companies provide a concierge-style service starting with a limousine transfer that can be expected to pull up alongside the waiting aircraft. Paperwork, such as passport inspections, are handled quietly, unnoticed as the champagne arrives.
The big concept behind private charter flying is to get the client closer to their destination than commercial services could. To do this, operators access smaller, often remote airfields using business aircrafts.
Jetfly operates a fleet of PC 12 turboprop light jets with a luxurious interior that has the look and feel of a five-star hotel room. As well as seating for eight passengers, there is a luggage compartment with a large cargo door, meaning that clients going skiing in the Alps, surfing in Bordeaux, or playing a round of golf in the Scottish Highlands can get plenty of equipment on board.
Planes such as the PC-12 typically have a range of four hours, meaning that most of Europe is within reach whether you start off from, or are travelling to the likes of Courchevel, St Tropez or London. One of the vital characteristics of smaller aircraft is that they can take off and land at much slower speeds than commercial airliners, meaning they need shorter runways. The PC-12 requires less than 700m to come to a complete standstill (or take off), compared with the usual 1000m required by most private business jets. This opens up as many as 3,000 airstrips in Europe for the operator, a benefit that can be handed on to the client in terms of reducing on-the-ground commuting, increasing privacy and having the ability to land on grass and snow runways.
Such challenging, remote and small airstrips require skilled pilots as well as state of the art technology. Jetfly says its pilots are specially trained to handle the sort of terrain that you don t see in big commercial airports, landing on an uphill, adverse camber gradient next to a precipice high in the French Alps is all part of the adventure of exclusive private air travel.
Apart from the convenience, time-saving and economic benefits of co ownership, personally tailored aviation around Europe is simply one of those things that is eternally fashionable. There is something unquestionably stylish about boarding a private jet, with their sleek lines and high-end technical performance it's the way to get around.