Air charter is the business of renting an entire aircraft (i.e., chartering) as opposed to individual aircraft seats (i.e., purchasing a ticket through a traditional airline). As opposed to traditional scheduled air services which sell transportation by the seat, air charter services focus on individual private aircraft and itineraries, urgent or time-sensitive cargo, air ambulance service, and other forms of ad hoc air transportation. Many airlines offer both scheduled service and charter service. Some air charters brokers have been given economic authority to sell seats on private jets with mixed success. Some air charter companies offer a large variety of aircraft, such as helicopters and business jets. Charter jet categories include turbo props, light jets, mid-size jets, super mid-size jets, heavy jets, long-range jets and VIP airliners.
There are an estimated 15,000 business jets available for charter in the world. The US market is the largest, followed by the European market with growing activity in the Middle East, Asia, and Central America.