When air travelers are asked about the reasons they would prefer to fly aboard private jets, they often mention privacy, security, speed, and convenience. Safety is not mentioned as often because it is implied; in the United States, the private jet and charter flight segment falls under the oversight of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which means that aircraft and flight operations that do not adhere to safety standards cannot be cleared for takeoff.
Safety Statistics in the Private Jet and Charter Flight Segment
When we compare aircraft accident rates and flight safety statistics in the U.S., it is essential to make a distinction between the categories reported by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). This federal agency works closely with the FAA to promote safe air travel, and the reports it generates in this regard are generally split between commercial and general aviation.
Commercial aviation refers to flights operated by traditional air carriers that follow established routes and timetables; these are the kind of airlines that set up hubs at major regional airports. General aviation is a term used to describe flights that do not fit within categories such as commercial, military, cargo, and aerospace research; it is the most common form of aviation because it encompasses everything from privately-owned aircraft flown by pilot-owners to companies that offer private jet memberships.
Since the 1990s, NTSB aircraft accident reports indicate a higher rate of injuries and fatalities in the general aviation field than in the commercial aviation category. This should not be surprising because the number of privately-owned and flown aircraft in general aviation is higher than in commercial aviation. Viewing reports under the general aviation category does not provide a good view of private jet safety; we need to look at the breakdown provided by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).
Private Jet Flights Are Just as Safe as Commercial Flights
According to NBAA statistics compiled since the year 2010, the accident rate for private jets and charter flights is 0.07 per 100,000 flight hours. This rate includes both corporate and business flights; these two kinds of private flight operations belong in the private jet segment but not in the commercial aviation category. The difference between corporate and business flights is that the former is flown by a dedicated crew; for example, the flight crew of a Cessna Citation that takes oil company executives around Alaska would be on the payroll of the company, thus making it a corporate flight.
The accident rate reported by the NTSB for scheduled commercial flights was 0.79 per 100,000 hours in the air. Based on these NTSB and NBAA reports, we can see that private jet services have a lower accident rate compared to commercial flights. If we separate corporate and business flights, the accident rate is even lower for private jets and charter flight operations.
ARGUS Flight Audit and Certification
Jet charter services that are truly serious about the safety of their crews and passengers seek the solutions provided by ARGUS, an international organization dedicated to aviation safety and excellence. When private jet operators wish to fly under conditions that exceed FAA rules and NBAA recommendations, they turn to ARGUS for audit, advice, and certification.
The work of ARGUS begins with an operational safety assessment that goes beyond FAA requirements. The assessment is not only technical but also organizational. The issuance of an ARGUS certification for a charter jet service is contingent upon 10 standards of excellence that include ethics, legal practices, compliance, fiscal integrity, customer service, security, employee relations, and the best attention that can be extended to passengers.
High-profile business travelers make it a point to book private jets operated by ARGUS-certified charter flight operators. Companies that own aircraft and hire aviators and crew members to fly their executives have more than just safety in mind; they adhere to the highest standards of security and privacy so that passengers can be comfortable in terms of discussing confidential business matters and getting work done during the flight.
In the end, private jets and charter operators are required to implement the same safety measures and follow the same practices as major passenger airlines. The safety track record of this civil aviation segment speaks for itself. Passengers looking for the ultimate in private jet safety, security, and excellence should look for ARGUS certifications.