When it comes to private jet ownership there are two main costs to consider – the cost to actually buy the aircraft and the cost to operate the aircraft.
While you may be able to afford the purchase cost of a private jet it is also possible that you may not be able to afford the operating cost of the aircraft.
Therefore, it is critical to consider all the costs involved, along with the depreciation of the aircraft and the length of time to sell the aircraft.
What’s the Average Cost of Business Jet Ownership
The average cost of business jet ownership can vary widely depending on several factors, including the type and size of the jet, its age, usage patterns, and regional variations.
However, for rough estimates take a look at the table below for the average figures per class.
|Aircraft Class||Purchase Cost||Depreciation Over 5 Years||Annual Operating Cost Flying 200 Hours per Year|
|VLJ||$4 million||$900,000||$1 million|
|Light Jet||$9 million||$2.5 million||$1.2 million|
|Midsize||$13.5 million||$3 million||$1.5 million|
|Large Jet||$45 million||$8 million||$4 million|
Generally speaking, VLJs and light jets will cost between $3 to $6 million to purchase and $1 to $2 million to operate annually. If you were to sell these aircraft after 5 years you would expect then to have lost around 30% of their value.
Midsize jets cost around $10 million to purchase and then $2 to $3 million to operate annually. These aircraft hold their value slights better with around 20% of value lost after 5 years.
Finally, large jets. As you would expect, these are the most expensive aircraft with a purchase cost of $20 to $60 million and an annual operating cost of $3 to $5 million. These aircraft, again, lost around 20% of their value over 5 years.
Of course, there are many factors that will influence the costs. As a result, these are very general estimates for North American owners flying 200 hours per year.
Keep in mind that these costs are just averages, and the actual expenses can be significantly higher for larger or more luxurious jets and lower for smaller, more fuel-efficient models.
Additionally, regulatory compliance, upgrades, and other factors can further impact the overall cost of business jet ownership.
Prospective buyers should conduct a detailed financial analysis and consider their specific requirements when assessing the cost of owning a business jet, along with being sure to shop around to find the optimal solution.
New or 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.
Demand for new aircraft remains high, with 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 of buying a private jet, a pre-owned aircraft will not always be less expensive than a new aircraft.
Cost to Buy a Private Jet
The acquisition price 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.
Therefore, when you are calculating the amount that you can spend, it is good to keep a margin of safety for these additional fees.
And, importantly when flying private, 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.
As you would expect, the prices range significantly between aircraft. Prices are influenced by conditions, hours on the airframe, engines, history, and more.
The cost to buy an aircraft will be broken down by aircraft class below, with a range for new and pre-owned aircraft within that range.
- 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 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.
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.
Additional Purchase Price Costs
There are several significant costs associated with the purchasing process of a private jet that are unrelated to its day-to-day operation.
These costs are crucial to consider when evaluating the overall financial commitment of acquiring a private aircraft:
Legal and Administrative Fees
Engaging legal counsel is a common practice in aircraft acquisitions.
Attorneys specialized in aviation law help navigate the complex regulatory environment, draft and review contracts, and ensure that the transaction complies with all relevant laws and regulations.
Their services often come at a substantial fee, which can vary depending on the complexity of the transaction.
Before finalizing the purchase of an aircraft, it is customary to conduct a thorough pre-purchase inspection.
This inspection is typically performed by an independent aviation expert who examines the aircraft’s airworthiness, maintenance records, and overall condition.
The cost of this inspection can vary depending on the scope and complexity of the evaluation but is a crucial step in ensuring that you are acquiring a well-maintained and safe aircraft.
Hiring a professional appraiser to assess the fair market value of the aircraft is essential for both buyers and sellers.
This appraisal helps determine an accurate purchase price and can also be required by lenders if financing is involved.
Appraisal fees can vary based on the appraiser’s qualifications and the complexity of the valuation.
The tax implications of purchasing a private jet can be significant and vary by jurisdiction.
Depending on the tax laws in your country, you may incur sales taxes, use taxes, or other levies upon acquisition.
Proper tax planning and consultation with tax professionals are crucial to minimize these costs and ensure compliance with tax regulations.
Many transactions involve the use of an escrow service to facilitate the transfer of funds and ensure a smooth transaction.
Escrow services come with fees, which can include holding and disbursing funds, managing the legal transfer of ownership, and ensuring that all conditions of the sale are met.
While not directly related to the operation of the aircraft, you may need to secure insurance coverage during the purchase process.
This can include insurance to protect against potential issues discovered during the pre-purchase inspection or to cover the aircraft while it is in transition to your ownership.
If you choose to finance the acquisition of your asset, there will be fees associated with securing the financing, including application fees, loan origination fees, and interest charges over the life of the loan.
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.
Moreover, aircraft have varying operating costs. When you are flying 300 hours per year, a minor difference in fuel consumption can add up quickly.
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. 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.
Ongoing Costs – Fixed and Variable
The cost to own and operate a business aircraft varies from owner to owner, aircraft to aircraft, and region to region.
This is because the total cost will be influenced by the flight time and hours a year that the aircraft flies. Typically, aircraft ownership is only really considered when flying 200 hours a year.
There are two categories of costs to consider – fixed and variable costs.
Fixed costs are all the costs that you absolutely have to pay in order to keep your aircraft just sitting there. This is before you ever fly it.
For example, you will have to pay for crew, storage, aircraft mortgage, and insurance.
The variable costs are the costs that you pay for every hour that you fly.
Variable costs include fuel, landing fees, crew overnight fees, and internet.
The more hours you fly per year the lower the hourly cost for all operating costs.
For example, let’s say you own a Nextant 400XTi.
The estimated annual fixed costs are $355,282 per year, with an hourly variable cost of $1,495.
Therefore, if you fly 100 hours per year you will have an annual operating cost of $504,782. This results in an actual hourly cost of $5,047.
However, if you were to fly 400 hours per year you would have an annual operating cost of $953,282. Consequently, you will have an hourly cost of $2,383.
Therefore, the more hours you fly the lower the overall hourly cost.
Fixed Costs When Owning a Private Jet
Owning a private aircraft involves a range of fixed costs that remain relatively consistent over time, regardless of how frequently or infrequently the aircraft is used.
These costs are essential to maintain the aircraft’s airworthiness and legal compliance.
Here’s a detailed breakdown of the key fixed costs associated with airplane ownership:
As is the case with everything in aviation, costs depend on a variety of factors. Additionally, costs differ in virtually every scenario. Insurance is the epitome of that statement.
Insurance is also crucial to aircraft ownership. And, as you would expect, private jet insurance can be a minefield.
Essentially there are two forms of insurance that are required if you own a private jet. Hull insurance and single-limit liability insurance. Be aware that there are many nuances to this statement. Such as smooth limits versus sub-limits.
However, for the purpose of calculating private jet ownership costs, we will keep it to just hull insurance and single-limit liability insurance.
As to be expected, there are a variety of factors that influence this price. Factors such as the aircraft’s value, usage, pilot experience, and coverage limits.
However, there are other more complex factors that will affect the total insurance cost.
Hangar or Parking Fees
When your aircraft isn’t being flown it needs to be stored somewhere.
Most likely at your local airport. Of course, there will be some nights that your aircraft is being stored away from base.
However, those will not be considered in the annual storage cost.
This estimated cost will be working on the assumption that the aircraft spends every night back at base.
With storage, there are two options. Inside or outside. It is assumed that if you have just bought a multi-million private jet you aren’t going to store it out in the rain. So the hangar it is.
Depending on the airport that you wish to base the aircraft at you will pay different rates. In this scenario, we will assume an average hangar cost.
Crew Salaries and Benefits
You are going to need someone to fly your aircraft.
You’ll need to cover the salaries, benefits, and related expenses of your crew.
This includes the compensation for pilots, flight attendants, and maintenance personnel.
The crew expense is one of the largest annual costs of owning a private jet. In some cases, you can get away with just one pilot – think turboprops, VLJs, and light jets.
However, with aircraft like the Falcon 2000EX and Challenger 604, two pilots will be required. With larger aircraft, you may even require three crew members on long flights.
Crew sourcing and training is something that can be arranged by your private jet management company. Crew costs vary depending on region, aircraft type, and aircraft size.
The general rule of thumb is that the larger the aircraft, the more expensive the crew.
Aircraft Financing Costs
Many customers seeking to purchase a private jet will obtain a loan in order to purchase their jet.
And, much like any money that you borrow, there will be interest to pay.
Aircraft financing, in its most basic form, is borrowing the additional cash that you require in order to purchase your jet. In doing so, the company loaning the money will charge you interest. The level of interest will vary depending on the company, economic climate, loan term, and amount borrowed.
There are a variety of companies that support aircraft financing. For smaller aircraft, you can even use a loan calculator. If you know the interest rate that you are paying you can calculate for a jet here.
However, in this scenario, we will use some numbers that are typical within the industry. In this case, we will assume a 25% down payment on the aircraft.
Furthermore, most private jet owners change their aircraft every 4 or 5 years. Therefore, we will use 60 months as our loan term.
Interest rates vary depending on a variety of factors.
At the time of writing, US Aircraft Financing offers a 7.99% interest rate on selected aircraft.
Aircraft Maintenance Programs
Private jets require regular maintenance to ensure safety and airworthiness.
Many aircraft owners opt for maintenance programs offered by manufacturers or third-party providers.
These programs cover scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, parts, and repairs at a fixed annual fee.
Compliance with aviation regulations and standards is crucial.
Fixed costs in this category include fees for obtaining and renewing permits, licenses, and certifications, as well as expenses related to compliance audits and inspections.
Some owners subscribe to various services for flight planning, weather forecasting, and aviation information.
These subscriptions provide access to critical data and tools necessary for safe and efficient flight operations.
While depreciation is primarily an accounting concept, it represents the reduction in the aircraft’s value over time.
Though not a cash expense, it’s essential to account for depreciation when assessing the overall cost of aircraft ownership, as it can affect the aircraft’s resale value.
Administrative and Legal Expenses
Private jet ownership involves administrative tasks and legal responsibilities, including record-keeping, contract management, and compliance with tax and regulatory requirements.
Legal and administrative expenses can include fees for legal counsel, accountants, and administrative staff.
Subscribing to various aviation-related services, such as flight planning software, weather data, and communication services, is a fixed cost.
These services enhance the safety and efficiency of flight operations.
Aircraft Management Fees
Private jet management is essential for nearly every owner. Unless you are willing to deal with all the admin yourself. However, that would likely reduce the amount of time that you save from flying by private jet.
Private jet management companies look after the aircraft for you.
They make sure that the aircraft is maintained. They arrange the storage of the aircraft. Private jet management companies essentially ensure that your aircraft is airworthy and ready to fly.
For example, Zenith aviation states that “we can hire pilots, manage their training, arrange all flights, perform maintenance, and sell your aircraft for charter as required.”
If you own a jet or are thinking about ownership, jet management is essential.
Furthermore, by employing a company such as Luxaviation, they are able to negotiate special deals on maintenance, insurance, fuel, and more.
The total cost of the jet management will vary depending on how much you use it and the size of the aircraft.
Variable costs in private jet ownership are expenses that fluctuate based on the level of aircraft usage and various operational factors.
These costs are directly tied to the frequency and distance of flights, making them variable in nature.
Here’s a detailed breakdown of the key variable costs:
Fuel costs are a major variable expense and one of the most significant operational costs.
The amount spent on fuel depends on the aircraft’s fuel efficiency, distance traveled, and the prevailing price of aviation fuel.
Longer flights and larger aircraft typically incur higher fuel costs.
Maintenance and Repairs
All aircraft need to be maintained in order to be safe and airworthy.
While some maintenance costs are fixed, variable maintenance expenses arise from unscheduled repairs and wear and tear.
Aircraft maintenance is based on the number of hours flown. Therefore, maintenance is heavily dependent on number of hours flown per year.
And, of course, depending on the type of aircraft, the number of hours flown will vary significantly. Therefore, the following assumptions have been made.
Additionally, not only do all aircraft have different maintenance schedules but all aircraft also require different levels of maintenance.
Therefore, the estimated annual maintenance cost for our chosen aircraft are as follows, in thousands of dollars.
Variable crew expenses include salaries, per diems, and overtime pay for pilots, flight attendants, and maintenance personnel.
The more frequently the aircraft is flown and the longer the trips, the higher the crew-related costs.
Landing and Handling Fees
Private jet operators are often required to pay landing and handling fees at airports.
These fees vary widely depending on the airport’s size, location, and services provided.
Frequent landings and international flights may result in higher costs in this category.
Navigation and Air Traffic Fees
Air navigation and air traffic control fees are variable costs associated with flight operations.
They are based on factors such as flight distance, airspace usage, and the complexity of flight routes.
International flights may involve additional navigation fees.
Catering and In-Flight Services
The cost of catering, in-flight meals, and passenger services like ground transportation can vary depending on the level of service and the preferences of the passengers.
Longer flights or flights with more passengers may result in higher catering expenses.
Hangar and Parking Fees
While hangar fees are primarily fixed costs, parking fees at airports can be variable.
Depending on the duration of stay at an airport and the facilities used, these fees may fluctuate.
Cleaning and Interior Maintenance
The frequency of cleaning and interior maintenance depends on the number of flights and passengers.
More usage often results in higher costs for maintaining the aircraft’s interior in a pristine condition.
De-icing and Anti-Icing
In colder climates, de-icing and anti-icing procedures may be necessary to ensure the safety of flights.
These costs can vary depending on weather conditions and the need for de-icing chemicals or services.
Crew Training and Recurrent Expenses
Pilots and flight attendants require ongoing training and recurrent certifications to maintain their qualifications.
These costs are variable and depend on the training frequency and the type of training required.
Flight Planning and Weather Services
The cost of flight planning services and weather data can vary based on the complexity of flight routes and the level of detail required for planning.
Longer or more intricate flights may result in higher expenses in this category.
Regional variations in aircraft ownership costs are significant and can substantially impact the overall financial feasibility of owning and operating an aircraft.
These variations arise due to differences in factors such as fuel prices, labor costs, climate conditions, airport fees, and other location-specific factors.
Here’s an explanation of how regional variations can affect ownership costs:
Fuel Price Variations
The price of aviation fuel can vary dramatically by region and country.
This variation is primarily due to differences in taxes, supply and demand dynamics, and exchange rates.
For example, remote or isolated regions may experience higher fuel prices due to the challenges of fuel transportation, while regions with abundant fuel resources may offer lower prices.
Labor costs associated with aviation personnel, including pilots, flight attendants, and maintenance technicians, can vary significantly based on regional labor markets.
Major metropolitan areas with higher living costs and wages generally entail more expensive aviation personnel.
Regional climate conditions can have a substantial impact on ownership costs.
In colder environments, where de-icing and anti-icing procedures are necessary to ensure flight safety, aircraft owners can incur additional expenses.
Additionally, regions with extreme weather conditions may necessitate more frequent maintenance to protect the aircraft from environmental wear and tear.
Landing Fee Variations
The fees charged for landing at airports vary widely depending on factors such as airport size, location, and passenger capacity.
Major international airports typically impose higher landing fees, while smaller regional airports often offer more cost-effective rates.
Hangar Cost Variations
Hangar fees can vary based on the location and facilities provided by the hangar.
Airports in popular travel destinations or urban centers typically have higher hangar fees compared to less congested, rural airports.
Airport Handling Fees
Airports may charge handling fees for services such as refueling, ground handling, and passenger services.
These fees can differ significantly from one region to another and can influence overall operating costs.
Regulatory and Tax Differences
Regions and countries have distinct regulatory requirements and tax policies related to private aviation.
Compliance costs may vary depending on the specific regulations in place, while tax policies can impact sales taxes, use taxes, and property taxes on hangars and aircraft.
Availability of Support Services
The accessibility of support services such as maintenance facilities, spare parts suppliers, and qualified aviation professionals can vary regionally.
Limited access to these services in certain areas may lead to higher costs and longer downtimes for maintenance and repairs.
How Much Does it Cost to Own and Operate Every Private Jet?
Here is a complete list of the estimated ownership costs for every private jet jet model.
Of course, there are many nuances to this.
For example, the average acquisition cost, estimated flight hours, no regional variation, etc.
Therefore, if you would like a more complete, accurate, and personalized ownership cost then sign up for our premium service.
Cost of Owning a Jet Versus Charter a Private Jet
The decision to own your own corporate aircraft versus chartering one depends on various factors, including your travel needs, financial resources, and usage patterns.
Private jet rental is at the other end of the spectrum when it comes to flying private.
Private jet charter services are advantageous when flying only a few hours per year and give you access to different types of jets.
Each option has its advantages and disadvantages:
Cost of Owning
- Upfront Acquisition Cost: The initial cost can range from millions to tens of millions of dollars, depending on the type, age, and condition of the aircraft.
- Fixed Costs: Ownership comes with fixed costs, including insurance, hangar fees, crew salaries, maintenance programs, regulatory compliance, and financing costs if you opt for a loan. These costs remain relatively consistent regardless of how often you use the aircraft.
- Variable Costs: Variable costs, such as fuel, maintenance, landing fees, and catering, fluctuate based on usage. The more you fly, the higher these costs will be.
- Depreciation: Private jets depreciate over time, meaning their value decreases. While this is not a cash expense, it affects the overall cost of ownership and must be considered.
- Control and Convenience: Owning a private jet provides ultimate control and flexibility over your travel schedule. You can use the aircraft whenever you need it without prior booking, and you can personalize the cabin to your preferences.
- Privacy: Ownership offers enhanced privacy and security compared to chartering, as you have complete control over who travels on your aircraft.
- No Upfront Acquisition Cost: Chartering does not require a substantial upfront investment. You pay for each flight on a per-hour basis, which can be more cost-effective for occasional travelers.
- No Fixed Costs: You don’t have to worry about the fixed costs associated with ownership, such as insurance, hangar fees, and crew salaries. These expenses are borne by the charter provider.
- Variable Costs: Chartering incurs variable costs, primarily fuel and hourly flight rates. You only pay for the flights you take, making it cost-efficient for those who fly infrequently.
- No Depreciation: There is no depreciation cost to consider when chartering since you’re not responsible for the aircraft’s long-term value.
- Limited Control: Chartering provides less control over the aircraft’s availability, as it may be booked by other customers during your desired travel times.
- Flexibility: Chartering offers flexibility in terms of aircraft selection. You can choose different aircraft types and sizes depending on your specific travel requirements.
- Privacy: While chartering provides a level of privacy, it may not be as high as that offered by owning a private jet, as you won’t have exclusive access to the aircraft.
Summary – The Real Cost of Owning a Jet
Owning an aircraft will set you back millions of dollars per year and is influenced by your personal annual flight hours.
Other ways to fly privately are via fractional ownership programs or to charter a jet.
The true cost to own a private jet encompasses various factors, including the upfront acquisition cost, fixed expenses like insurance, maintenance, and hangar fees, variable costs such as fuel and crew salaries, regulatory compliance, and depreciation.
These costs can add up to millions of dollars annually. Owning a private jet is a significant financial commitment, suitable for frequent travelers who prioritize control and convenience. Careful financial planning and consideration of regional variations are essential to accurately assess the total cost of ownership.
For occasional travelers, chartering a private jet may be a more cost-effective alternative.