The value of private jets fluctuates over time, similar to other assets, therefore affecting the cost to buy a private jet.
Depending on the market conditions, the age of the aircraft, hours on the engines and airframe, along with new aircraft coming to market, the values will all be impacted.
Pre-owned private jets can be purchased for as little as a quarter of a million dollars ($250,000), while ranging up to $75 million for a brand-new example of the latest and greatest aircraft.
And, of course, you have aircraft priced in between these two extremes.
New Vs Pre-Owned
When it comes to buying a private jet, a consideration that needs to be made is whether you are looking to buy a new or pre-owned aircraft.
Of course, this concept will be familiar to most people. Similar to purchasing a car, there are benefits and drawbacks to each example.
And, similar to high-end, high-demand cars, a pre-owned example isn’t necessarily cheaper.
At the time of writing, private jets are in high demand. There is a significant backlog on new aircraft deliveries.
Therefore, aircraft that hit the market within the first year or two since their year of manufacture will often carry a high asking price compared with their new price.
Moreover, if you wish to purchase a new aircraft you will be waiting a significant amount of time in order for it to be delivered. Therefore, purchasing a pre-owned aircraft will allow you to get in the sky in your very own aircraft sooner.
Therefore, if you are thinking of purchasing a private jet it is critical to consider how long you are willing to wait for delivery, the premium you will be paying for a like new pre-owned example, and whether or not you can actually get a delivery slot.
Therefore, in terms of affecting the cost to buy a private jet, pre-owned aircraft will not always be less expensive than a new aircraft.
This is an important consideration to make when looking at the cost to buy a private jet.
The acquisition price of a private jet is the amount that you need to pay in order to buy just that aircraft.
It doesn’t include costs such as legal fees, pre-purchase inspections, test flights, registration, etc.
It is just the sale price of the aircraft.
For example, when you look to buy a car you have the cost of the car. And then, once purchased, you have other expenses that you must pay in order to actually own the car and register it for road use.
Private jets operate in a similar way, albeit with more complexity and higher costs involved.
Therefore, when you are calculating the amount that you can spend on purchasing a private jet, it is good to keep a margin of safety for these additional fees. And, importantly when flying by private jet, have a financial margin of safety for any unexpected events.
As a result, when prices are mentioned for the cost to buy a private jet, this refers to just the aircraft itself and nothing more.
Actual Cost to Buy a Private Jet
So, what are the actual numbers to buy a private jet? The cost to buy a private jet will be broken down by aircraft class below, with a range for new and pre-owned aircraft within that range.
There is then a complete list of the current market average pre-owned cost for the most popular 50 private jets.
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- Very Light Jets
- Very Light Jets (VLJs) are great for short missions that are typically 1-2 hours long, usually being able to comfortably carry 4 passengers. New prices for in-production VLJs start from $3 million for the Cirrus Vision Jet and go up to $5.5 million for the HondaJet Elite S. The cost to buy a pre-owned VLJ ranges from around $1 million to $5 million, with the Eclipse 500 being the cheapest VLJ on the pre-owned market.
- VLJs are a relatively new class of aircraft. They don’t have the benefit of having been around for multiple decades like the other classes. Therefore, when presented as a value range per class this is abnormally high as there aren’t older aircraft to bring the price down. However, the VLJ class has relatively few models and isn’t quite as popular as light jets. Therefore, in the future, these values will likely come down quite significantly.
- Light Jets
- Light Jets are your staple aircraft. These can easily carry 6 passengers in comfort for slightly longer missions than VLJs. Prices start from $5.2 million for the Nextant 400XTi, a re-manufactured aircraft. Prices then top out at around $10 million for a brand-new Cessna Citation CJ4. In terms of the pre-owned market, you can scoop up a Mitsubishi Diamond 1A for around $250,000.
- Prices then range from this $250,000 all the way to just under $12 million for the Learjet 75 Liberty. Given the number of years that light jets have been around, you are more likely to find an aircraft that suits your budget compared with Very Light Jets.
- Medium Jets
- If you need something with more space, more range, and more features, a midsize jet will be able to deliver. However, it will cost more than the smaller light jets. Prices start at approximately $11 million for a brand-new Pilatus PC-24. The Pilatus PC-24 is a highly versatile aircraft that can operate at high altitudes and isn’t restricted to paved runways. This, therefore, has led to Pilatus naming the PC-24 an SVJ – Super Versatile Jet.
- The most expensive brand-new medium-sized private jet that you can buy is the Cessna Citation Sovereign+, with a new list price of $19 million. However, if you are seeking out a pre-owned medium jet then prices start from as little as $300,000 for a Westwind 1 by IAI. Prices then steading increase until the top end with the Embraer Praetor 500, a medium jet with an average pre-owned price of $16.3 million. The Praetor 500 is an aircraft that delivers incredible value for money.
- Large Jets
- Large jets are ideal for long missions where you need maximum comfort. This category is home to the flagship aircraft with the latest innovations with aircraft such as the Gulfstream G700 and Bombardier Global 8000. Therefore, aircraft in this category cost considerably more than smaller aircraft. The Nextant 604XT is the least expensive in-production large jet currently on the market with a list price of just $8 million. However, much like its smaller brother the Nextant 400XTi, the 604XT is a remanufactured aircraft. This, therefore, gives it a deceptively low price tag.
- Above this, there is the Embraer Praetor 600 with a new list price of just $21 million. Much like the Praetor 500, this represents incredible value for money. At the top end of the list, there is the Gulfstream G700 and Dassault Falcon 10X, which both have a list price starting from $75 million. If you are looking for a pre-owned large jet you can find a Gulfstream GIII for around $500,000. Prices for pre-owned large jets then continue until over $70 million. This, therefore, means that most buyers will be able to find a large jet that suits their budget.
Now, let’s take a look at the average pre-owned price for the 50 most popular private jets.
Other Costs Involved in Private Jet Ownership
When looking at these values there are some considerations that should be made when just thinking about the cost to buy a private jet.
Firstly, there are pre-owned aircraft that will be able to fit into the budget of most private jet owners. With prices starting from as low as $250,000 and continuing up to over $70 million, there are plenty of options. However, where this is deceptive is the spread of average aircraft pre-owned prices.
13% of aircraft models have an average pre-owned value of less than $1 million. Whereas 34% of aircraft models have an average pre-owned value of $1 million to $5 million. At the top end, only 6% of aircraft models have an average pre-owned value above $50 million.
Therefore, the majority of aircraft sit between the $1 million and $5 million pre-owned value. That’s not to say that the majority of aircraft currently on the market have a value within that range. This is because some aircraft transact more often than others. Moreover, aircraft that are less expensive are likely to be older. As a result, there are likely to be fewer of them in service and therefore on the market. The percentages above are just for the model.
As a result, the cost to buy a private jet is not as simple as an equal distribution up to $70 million.
Second, focusing just on the acquisition cost of an aircraft can be a significant financial mistake. Aircraft depreciation is significant and varies heavily from model to model.
For example, a Learjet 36A currently loses around 8.5% of value every year compared with just 3% for an aircraft like the Cessna Citation CJ3+. Moreover, aircraft have varying operating costs. When you are flying 300 hours per year, a minor difference in fuel consumption can add up quickly. Read this article to learn more about the depreciation rate of private jets.
Therefore, when looking at the cost to buy a private jet with a lower price you need to consider the actual costs in terms of depreciation and running costs. Additionally, you need to keep in mind reliability, comfort, increased maintenance checks, and certifications. As a result, the “cheaper” aircraft may actually cost you more in the long run.
Additionally, the more that a private jet is used, the lower the value. While the usage of a car is measured by miles, an aircraft is measured by hours. Typically this is split into two kinds of hours – airframe hours and engine hours.
The higher these hours, the lower the cost to buy a private jet. However, more maintenance will likely be required and the closer the engines will be to needing an overhaul. As a result, the average pre-owned values that have been stated are assuming the fleet’s average number of hours.
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When looking at the cost to buy a private jet the question doesn’t produce just a single number. There are many subcategories, such as class, age, and condition. Therefore, the range of just $250,000 to over $70 million isn’t particularly useful.
However, knowing the new and pre-owned bands is useful when finding the value of these aircraft and understanding the cost to buy a private jet.
Therefore, the best way to summarize the cost to buy a private jet is the simplify it to the average pre-owned cost per aircraft class.
VLJs have an average pre-owned value of $1 million to $5 million.
Light jets have an average pre-owned value of $250,000 to $12 million.
Medium jets have an average pre-owned value of $300,000 to $16 million.
Large jets have an average pre-owned value of $500,000 to over $70 million.
Again, within these bands, there are strong variants. Some of these aircraft will date back to the 1970s. Meanwhile, some of these aircraft will be less than 6 months old.
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