How are Private Jet Charter Flight Routes Determined?

More and more people are choosing private jet charter flights because of the convenience they offer, combined with luxury and superior service. When setting off on their journeys, one of the things flyers tend to wonder about is how exactly the route to their destination has been decided.

This article explains some of the reasoning and processes behind the selection of private charter flight routes.

General Flight Pattern Given to Air Traffic Control

A licensed flight dispatcher, especially with the aid of the pilots, is often responsible with charting a general course for the flight. It doesn’t have to be too specific, but it contains details such as the speed, general direction, altitude and the airspace that the flight will pass through.

The factors that go into deciding the route at this stage usually involve the shortest flight time possible, the best weather, and ensuring that the private charter jet avoids restricted airspace.

Not only does this ensure the most efficient route for the benefit of the customer, but it also helps to maximize safety and provide the most comfortable flying experience possible.

On their own end, Air Traffic Control tends to have their own preferred flight path. They typically accept the flight path that has been proposed by the private charter flight, but they can make modifications under certain circumstances.

The changes they make are mostly to ensure the smooth flow of traffic and reduce the risk of collisions. Once Air Traffic Control confirms or alters the route, the final one they send back is the one that the flight follows.

The flight dispatch office typically chooses from an already specified flight path that’s known as an airway.

Air Traffic Control

Use of Geo-Positioning Coordinates

The pilots also receive geo-positioning coordinates that help to memorize the flight path, and they also make it quick and easy to relay the route from waypoint to waypoint as the flight progresses.

The geo-positioning coordinates usually come in five-letter combinations that include Latin consonants and vowels. Sometimes the letters are randomly picked to be used for the single flight path, though they can also be arranged to resemble a large city that’s near the starting point of the journey.

There’s also a system that ensures that planes fly at different altitudes to avoid collisions. A private charter flight going eastward, for example, would travel be designated an even number such as 300, 320 or 340 to reflect its altitude and also the direction in which it’s flying.

For a plane traveling westward, odd numbers are used. Examples include 330 and 350.

Fuel and Weight Considerations

Another factor that’s taken into account is how much fuel each possible route will require. The one that consumes the least fuel is usually the one that’s chosen.

The fuel consumption is also determined by several other weight factors. These include the weight of the jet, along with the flight of the baggage and passengers if the private jet is a bigger one that can carry numerous passengers.

The weight of the jet changes as the amount of fuel in the tank decreases, which is something that’s also taken into account. And the rate of fuel consumption for the particular jet is also considered.

There may also be instances where the flight can stop to refuel, which factor into the flight path that’s eventually chosen.

If the jet has two engines, Air Traffic Control only approves a route that ensures that there’s an emergency airport at several points throughout the journey.


The weather is an important factor when flight routes are being determined, and the route that’s chosen is usually the one that appears to present the most favorable weather. That includes the slightest chance of rain and snow and relatively weak and slow wind.

Choosing a route with these qualities ensures that there’s a minimal chance of turbulence, resulting in a flight that’s more enjoyable for the passenger.

It also ensures that the flight consumes less fuel, since consumption increases when flying opposite to the direction of the wind or under the weight of snow.

In certain instances, however, private charter flights are able to fly above the weather, which is one of the factors that make them safer than commercial flights. This is something they tend to do when the weather gets too rough.

Private jet in cold weather


There are also special zones that private jet charter flights may avoid, even if passing through them allows for a shorter flight path. This mostly applies to southern polar routes, which very few flights — both commercial and private charter — choose to use.

For some of these, specially qualified planes are needed, along with certain licenses that go beyond the typical ones a pilot may need. The cost of these licenses typically doesn’t justify the demand for those zones of airspace, so most flights avoid them altogether.

Another exception is if the shortest flight route doesn’t offer enough alternative airports along the way. Though it may be the one that takes the least time, Air Traffic Control or the flight’s dispatch office may decide to settle on another one instead if there’s a greater and more strategic number of alternative airports along the way.

Seeking Mid-flight Route Alterations

There are cases when the pilots may need the route changed mid-flight. This may be because of adverse weather, an emergency, or simply a change of plans. During times like this, the pilots request permission from Air Traffic Control.

If it’s possible for the flight to change routes without affecting the smooth flow of air traffic, or even to land at one of the alternative airports on the way to its final destination, Air Traffic Control grants the request.

Pilots rarely seek amended clearance, however, because of the highly accurate detail, careful planning, and exact weather predictions that go into deciding each flight path.

private jet charter

If you’ve been wondering about private jet charter flight routes because you’re planning a journey, make sure to get it taken care of by an agency that can assure a pleasant, highly comfortable and convenient flying experience. Airacer ensures that your flight carries all those benefits, so get in touch and request a free quote.