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No two private jet flights cost the same, so what exactly are the factors affecting the charter cost of a private jet?

While it is possible to estimate the rough hourly cost of chartering a private jet, there are many variables that can impact the price. Furthermore, when you seek out a private jet charter, every single itemized cost is unlikely to be itemized. So, what are these cost?

HondaJet Exterior on the ground with a family of four and a dog walking away from the aircraft

Aircraft Category

The aircraft category refers to the size of the aircraft. The main categories for aircraft are Very Light Jets, Light Jets, Midsize Jets, Super Midsize Jets and Large Jet. Beyond this you have airliners and Heads of State aircraft.

The bigger the jet is, then the more expensive it is to charter. Reasons for this are due to a increased purchase price, increase fuel consumption, there is more to maintain, more to clean, more to store and requires bigger airports.

Aircraft Type

Within each category of aircraft you have the individual aircraft itself. Within a category of aircraft some may be more expensive than others. This can be due to market demand but also maintenance requirements, fuel burn and size.

The type of aircraft that you charter is often dictated by two things: the number of people traveling and the distance that needs to be flown.

For example, the Bombardier Challenger 650 is a large jet. The Global 7500 is also a large jet. However, while the Challenger 650 is estimated to cost $6,600 per flight hour, the Global 7500 is estimated to cost $15,900 per flight hour.

Age of Aircraft

The next factor that affects the cost of a private jet charter is the age of the aircraft. Generally speaking the older the aircraft the less expensive it is to charter versus a brand new aircraft.

However, keep in mind that the older the aircraft the more fuel it will burn. This will drive up the cost of charter if it is a long flight and the aircraft is particularly inefficient.

Gulfstream G550 Exterior

Distance Traveled

Distanced traveled is perhaps the most obvious reason that one charter flight costs more than another.

Simply put, longer distances traveled require larger aircraft and more fuel. It also means that crews will be working longer hours and the aircraft eating into its maintenance schedule.

One way to alleviate this concern is to fly an aircraft that needs to refuel along the way. However, as we shall see with other factors affecting the price of charter, this many incur other, additional costs.

Inflight Services

When chartering a private jet you will have the the option to have food provided for you. You will also have the option of a flight attendant on larger aircraft.

These both cost extra.

If you wish to have food and drink onboard provided, this will cost extra. If you want to be greeted by a bottle of Champagne when you board the plane, this will cost extra. It can all be arranged by your charter broker/operator, but it will cost more.

Total Flight Time

The total flight time differs from distanced traveled as you will be paying for the aircraft to get to you in the first place. This is where notion of empty legs come from.

Unless the aircraft is already at the airport you wish to depart from, at the exact date and time, you will need to pay to get the aircraft to the starting point.

Man sitting looking out window of Dassault Falcon 6X

Landing Fees

Whenever you land at an airport in an aircraft you need to pay landing fees. Airports charge these fees in order to maintain their facilities.

Landing fees vary from airport to airport and by aircraft type. The larger the aircraft, the larger the landing fee.

Landing fees typically cost between $150 and $500. However, busy airports can charge into the thousands of dollars area.

Handling Fees

Handling fees are charged by the FBO (Fixed Base Operator) in order to handle and park the aircraft. For example, loading and unloading of bags if performed by the ground staff.

In some cases these fees can be waived if a minimum amount of fuel is purchased.

Crew Over Night Fees

In some cases, depending on your charter schedule, you will need to pay for the crew to stay overnight. These fees are to cover food, lodging and other expenses that are related to being away from home.

These fees will typically cost between $200 and $400 per crew member.

Pilatus PC-12 red landing on dirt runway

Short Leg Fees

A short leg fee applies more so to larger aircraft than smaller ones. These fees are set by the owner of the aircraft for flights under a certain duration. The indsutry standard daily minimum flight time is 2 hours per day.

Aircraft Positioning Costs

These fees relate to the total flight time mentioned earlier. In order for the aircraft to get from your point of origin to destination, the aircraft needs to be appropriately positioned.

The aircraft positioning costs are based on the amount of time that is accumulated to position the aircraft to pick you up. The fees also apply to the aircraft to fly back to its home base. These are empty legs.

Hangar Fees

Hangar fees occur normally in icy conditions. The aircraft is hangared in order to prevent ice, snow and frost accumulating on the aircraft surfaces.

Hangar fees can range from $500 to $1,500 per day. These fees depending on the aircraft size and airport. However, it is a lot cheaper than de-icing the aircraft.

Cleaning Fees

Cleaning fees are not billed prior to a charter. They will most likely occur if that has been damage to the aircraft. Normally from a spilled drink or vandalism. Prices will vary depending on the level of deep cleaning required. Generally speaking, prices will be in the $500 and up region.

Deicing Charges

Deicing is a factor that can’t be applied ahead of time. It is also something that is mandatory for safety. Therefore, there is no getting round this fee if your aircraft needs to be deiced. Unless, of course, you opt for deicing insurance which some operators offer (e.g. GlobeAir).

Deicing costs can range from about $1,500 for a small aircraft to over $10,000 for a large aircraft.

Fuel Surcharge

Finally, fuel surcharges occur when there is a surge in fuel prices in the market.

When you book a charter flight, the prices will charge the fuel cost at the current market rate. Fuel surcharges can add $600 to over $1,000 more per hour depending on the price charge.

However, some brokers provide prices inclusive of fuel charges, so you don’t need to always be concerned with this factor.

Alternatively, if fuel prices decrease by the time your flight comes around, don’t expect to get a discount!


Benedict is a dedicated writer, specializing in in-depth discussions of private aviation ownership and its associated topics.


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