Be a Master of the Air with JetCard by Air Partner

Words by
Jemima Sissons

5th March 2024

JetCard by Air Partner, the UK’s leading provider of private flights, will get you where you need to go, on time and unstressed.

It is a refrain increasingly heard over many Mayfair members’ club cocktails and at the ninth hole: “We wanted to actually get there on time, so we ended up flying privately.” With commercial aviation in a state of flux — schedule chaos, cancellations, rerouted journeys, missed meetings, ruined holidays — it is no wonder that the smart one-percenters are turning to private flights.

At the forefront of this enviable shift is Air Partner. Founded in 1961 to assist ex-military pilots qualified to fly civilian aircraft, and a broking business since 1980, Air Partner is one of the world’s largest aviation services providers. You want to fly your bichon frise to surprise the children in Nice for lunch? No problem. Your best man is stranded in icy Sweden on the eve of the wedding? A few calls later, Air Partner has you covered, and he’s safely on a plane, sipping a chilled glass of Blanc de Blancs.

JetCard by Air Partner - working on a plane
Work in comfort during your flight

Air Partner has a proud history. From humble beginnings as a small helicopter service in Gatwick, it grew into turboprop planes and jets catering to royalty, HNWIs, politicians and business travellers across the globe at (almost) the drop of a hat. Unlike private jet operators, Air Partner is asset-light and independent, boasting an extensive global network with operations involving between 10 and 50 aircraft a day (completing over 12,000 flights annually), from footballers holidaying in the Maldives to entrepreneurs signing on the dotted line in Malta to 50th birthday celebrations in Ibiza.

One of the services of which the company is most proud (alongside transporting PPE and medical supplies during the pandemic) is its JetCard, which is one of the areas it is most focused on growing in the coming years. Launched in 2006, JetCard by Air Partner offers an exclusive membership programme centred on bespoke service, dedicated account managers, and attractive features such as guaranteed aircraft availability across five categories, flexible cancellations, and back-up assurances.

JetCard by Air Partner - Dubai
City stopover for a vital last-minute meeting? Air Partner has you covered

JetCard allows members to book well in advance, securing best-in-class aircraft and sought-after airport slots way ahead of occasional private jet users, who tend to book closer to departure. Alternatively, JetCard members can take advantage of fixed rates with no additional fees when booking at short notice.

Membership activation begins with purchasing a card, which enables the member to secure 25-hour blocks or more of flying, with an endless expiry date on hours used. Members can choose from an entry-level light cabin jet (for up to six passengers), such as the Phenom 300 and Pilatus PC-24, or opt for more spacious Global-category cabin aircraft like the Gulfstream G650 for long-range flights that can accommodate up to 14 passengers.

“Our plans for JetCard by Air Partner revolve around delivering high-end service, optimising efficiency, and upholding excellence,” explains Ty Smith, director of JetCard UK. “We’ve recently made significant strides and have clear future objectives. We’ve dedicated ourselves to enhancing the personal service experience for our members, with a particular focus on fleet quality to ensure state-of-the-art aircraft for our members.”

JetCard by Air Partner - Ty Smith
Ty Smith, director of JetCard UK, aims for the company to be the best in the private aviation field

Air Partner has streamlined its operations and this has allowed it to scale up its programme. “We continuously adapt to industry changes, aiming to be the best in our field,” explains Smith.

The profile of the private voyager has shifted from mainly business passengers to a surge in leisure and vacation travellers. For those seeking winter sun, AlUla in Saudi Arabia, Mallorca in Spain, and Marrakesh in Morocco are popular choices. Dedicated skiers tend to favour perennial favourites such as Zermatt, Val d’Isère and Courchevel. However, Air Partner has noticed a growing interest in destinations that offer pristine powder slopes, such as those found in British Columbia, Canada. The most popular destinations by volume are, surprisingly, not Monaco and Geneva but Palma and Ibiza, revealing the surging trend for mixing business with pleasure. Many cardholders fly out for work, then bring family for the weekend. And those last-minute meetings in far Mongolia? As long as airfields adhere to commercial safety standards, including suitable runway length and facilities for safe operations, Air Partner will get you there. Being able to access such airports is a significant lure to many JetCard holders.

JetCard by Air Partner - Beach
For vacationers, the holiday starts on board the plane, before they set foot on the beach

The reason many delay-weary travellers have shifted to private is the seamless experience that starts as soon as the booking is secured. This means arrival as little as 20 minutes before your flight at one of the elite terminals such as sleek, slick Farnborough (the most popular airport for members — no pesky shifting your miniature shampoos into a plastic bag here).

In the lounge, over a glass of Champagne or freshly pressed juice, you are free to focus on meetings in private conference rooms or peruse the magazines on offer. Ten minutes prior to departure, passengers are personally greeted by the captain and chauffeured directly to the aircraft doors. On board, the food order is taken over a glass of Gusbourne Brut Reserve, with anything from fresh Nobu sushi to slivers of artisan cheese served after take-off. Aircraft are stocked with the guests’ favourite soaps, hand creams, sparkling waters and treats (and that includes for children and canine friends too).

JetCard by Air Partner - Dog on plane
All passengers can enjoy the height of luxury and travel in style with Air Partner

What sets Air Partner apart from others? “Our deep-rooted commitment to excellence,” says Smith, “underpinned by an aviation heritage dating back to 1961, a member-centric approach, transparent and highly flexible programme solutions, a global infrastructure, and our pioneering status in the aviation services industry.”  

As a trusted provider, with a historic brand Air Partner is keen to grow holistically and attract companies and individuals who are new to the aviation market. “We are particularly interested in serving those who may have grown disheartened with the wide-open charter market,” says Smith. “We empathise with the frustrations that arise from inconsistent aircraft quality, decisions driven by pricing, and the lengthy booking process. This is where JetCard by Air Partner comes into its own.”

JetCard by Air Partner - stepping off private jet
The VIP experience lasts until passengers step off their flight

Ideal members, he adds, also include “those who have recently sold their aircraft or are working directly with operators, either through chartering or with a card programme that is due for renewal; and those who have become dissatisfied with the restrictive and inflexible nature of fractional ownership and who are unwilling to commit to long term penalising deals.” Air Partner, he says, caters to “well-seasoned travellers who possess a clear understanding of their preferences and remain open to exploring new aircraft types, destinations and continents.”

Air Partner has saved the day more than once. On one occasion the company was asked to get a company director to his daughter’s wedding in Biarritz, with just three days’ notice. The member had planned to get travel by other means but subsequently had to change his plans to attend a last-minute board meeting in Ireland. The flight was arranged promptly, giving him time to attend the meeting in the morning and then fly to Biarritz in time for the wedding the next day. All went smoothly and the light jet that was booked meant both events could be attended, despite the distances involved.