Last Updated: February 2, 2023
They say it’s not the destination but the journey. Cramped seats, long queues, and bland food can ruin the excitement, especially for air travel.
If you’re a little more privileged than most and are willing to spend extra bucks, upgrading to business or first class can maximize the comfort of flying. But if that’s not enough for you, the next best thing is to consider getting your own private jet. That is, of course, if you’re prepared to make the hefty investment.
So how much is a private jet? In this article, we’ll fill you in on the cost of owning your own airplane. We’ll cover:
- different kinds of private jets
- how much they cost and what it takes to maintain them
- other important things to consider as a prospective private jet owner
How Much Does a Private Jet Cost?
The private jet cost can vary greatly and ranges anywhere from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. This depends on whether the plane is used or new, the size, age, make, model, and other specifications of the plane. You can get a better bargain if you’re buying secondhand. The prices we’ll mention here are only for comparative purposes, as actual prices will still depend on sellers and other variables.
The first thing you have to consider when deciding to buy a private jet is the size. The smallest in the class are the turboprops. These are technically not jets as they are driven by a propeller, but they are still worth mentioning if you’re considering small aircraft. These planes can accommodate up to eight people and can fly to areas not always accessible to commercial airlines due to their relatively smaller size and build. A Piper Meridian can cost about $900,000 to $1 million.
Heading over to the jet category, the smallest in size are the very light jets. They can carry up to seven people and have a flight time of up to 3 hours making them ideal for short domestic flights. Because of their small size, they can also take off and land on shorter runways. The cost of a private jet in this class like The Embraer Phenom 100 would be around $1.6 to $2.2 million.
Next in line are the small light jets. They are much like very light jets in size and specs but can carry up to eight people and travel longer distances. A model which is popular in this class is the Hawker 400XP which can range from $1.7 to $2.4 million.
Last in the light jets class are the super light jets. These can typically carry up to eight people, with some models able to carry as much as 11. As light jets, they can easily navigate through small airports and take off and land on short runways. An Embraer Phenom 300 can cost about $7 to $8 million.
Midsize Cabin Jets
Next come the midsize cabin jets. This aircraft has longer flight capacities of up to 2,200 nautical miles. That would be around 4 to 5 hours of travel, non-stop. They’re more spacious than light jets, offering more headroom and luggage space. Midsize cabin jets offer a little more luxury:
- can accommodate two pilots and a flight attendant
- have stylized interiors
- some are even able to be fitted with a small shower
These touch-ups increase the cost of a private jet but will definitely give you more comfort and style. The Cessna Citation Latitude can come in at around $10 to $11 million.
Next to the midsize class are the super-midsize cabin jets. In general, they have larger cabins, longer flight distances of typically around 3,200 nautical miles, and more feature enhancements. A popular model in this class is the Cessna Citation Sovereign which has a price range of $12 million to $14 million. Midsize cabin class jets can still navigate through small airports and use short runways.
Heavy jets can accommodate up to 19 people. These jets offer the luxury of space, allowing for entertainment facilities, more spacious lavatories, and showers, and they can even allow for in-flight catering. They also have room for up to two flight attendants. The distance they can fly non-stop is from 3,500 to almost 3,900 nautical miles. This aircraft requires longer runways though. Private jet prices in this class, like the Bombardier Challenger 605, can cost about $27 to $35 million.
Ultralong heavy jets are next in line and they come with even more generous cabin space for passengers and more luxury touches. They are meant for longer flights. Depending on the model of the plane, they can cover a distance of up to a little over 6,000 nautical miles. Because of their large cabin space, they can easily be fitted with lounge areas, private rooms, and crew areas with separate lavatories. A typical plane in this class is the Gulfstream V. This can cost around $30 to $45 million.
At the top of the private jet category are the executive liners, also often called the bizliners. These planes are what you’d normally see on most commercial flights, typically represented by the Boeing 737 and the Airbus ACJ 319. These jets can carry up to 48 passengers depending on how you layout the cabin with facilities and preferred luxuries. Here’s where you can go overboard with how functional or opulent you want your plane to be, whether you want a simple multipurpose people carrier or a 5-star hotel in the sky. Bizliners can fly at high altitudes and can withstand any weather conditions making them perfect for intercontinental and international flights. Prices of jets such as the Boeing 737 can set you back around $65 to $130 million.
Other Things to Consider Before Buying a Private Jet
Once you’ve figured out how much is a private jet worth and which type of private jet fits your budget, the next thing to consider is its maintenance. Owning a private jet involves fixed and variable ongoing expenses which include salaries of the flight crew, regular maintenance and unforeseen repairs, insurances, and hangar rental.
To give you an idea of the potential operating costs, a private pilot’s salary averages around $80,000 per year, while a flight attendant receives around $35,000 per year. Preventive maintenance and repairs can cost you $3 million to $4 million per year considering an average flight time of 400 hours. Also:
- Insurance can cost around $47,000
- Hangar rental can range from $80,000 to $160,000 depending on where you want to park your plane
It’s also best to evaluate your current situation to see if you can afford the additional expenses as well as the private jet prices. Before you decide, here are a couple of things you should consider:
Buying New vs Buying Used
Just like buying a car, buying a used plane is definitely a lot cheaper than buying a brand new one based on initial output. However, as the plane gets older, keep in mind that the maintenance costs will increase.
Aside from regular maintenance, unforeseen repairs can be very expensive. Blown tires and cracked windshields can cost thousands of dollars. Parts for older planes can cost more because they can be hard to source. Here’s where you shouldn’t cut costs as this directly involves the safety and airworthiness of your aircraft.
Number of Onboard Crew Members
Starting with midsized jets, all of these planes can have a flight crew rather than just one pilot. Consider how many crew members you will need. Do you need two pilots? Is one flight attendant enough, or do you need a full-service team? More members equal more costs. All of these increase the overall private jet flight cost.
Number of People Who Will Use the Plane
The number of people who will use the plane will determine the size of the plane you will need. If you’ll mostly be flying solo, perhaps with a family of three or an assistant at most, then light jets should be a practical choice. If you plan to be flying with an entire group of colleagues and associates, then bigger is always better.
How Often Will You Use the Plane?
Given the high cost of private jet ownership with all of its associated expenses, you should consider how often you will actually be using the plane. The frequency of use is a good way to justify the purchase of a plane cost-wise. If you will not be using it very often, consider commercial flights, chartering, or other schemes that let you enjoy the benefits of a private jet without actually having to fully own one.
|The bigger the plane, the more you can customize the interiors|
|You can save on ownership expenses by getting fractional shares or private jet memberships|
|Get a smaller plane if you’ll be frequently landing on shorter runways|
Alternatives to Owning a Private Jet
If you’re still unsure whether owning an entire aircraft is the way to go, you might want to check out other alternatives.
These alternatives will let you enjoy the benefits of a private jet without having to pay the entire cost associated with fully owning one.
If you’re not really going to fly that often, perhaps five times a year max, you might be better off with just chartering a plane. Chartering simply gives you a one-time use of a plane where you pay based on the hours of flight or distance covered. This gives you no other financial commitments aside from the agreement on each trip. A private jet charter cost is more expensive per trip, but this way you only have to spend on each flight.
Much like chartering, leasing is more long-term. You can lease a plane for a specific period, giving you multiple flights within an agreed timeframe. You can lease an aircraft with a crew (wet lease), or you can lease just the aircraft itself (dry lease).
Fractional jet ownership is a great solution for those who fly about 25 to 300 hours in a year. Fractional shares let you pay only for what you need. You can customize your share size to fit your travel dates. This guarantees that you’ll be able to use the plane whenever you need it according to the fraction of your share.
Private Jet Membership
Private jet memberships require an annual due for the privilege of using a jet from a membership fleet. This can be similar to fractional ownership in the sense that you have an aircraft dedicated for your use, except that with a membership, what you own is the right to use an aircraft for a certain time during the year, and not the aircraft itself. This also means you’re not limited to a single specific plane since an entire fleet can be available for you to choose from.
Jet cards work more like chartering flights, except that you prepay a huge amount which pays for every time you use the plane. They are like prepaid cards where different companies have programs tailored to specific needs.
If you’re a frequent flyer with all the means to own an aircraft, purchasing a private jet can be a practical choice. Just make sure you consider the other costs associated with aircraft ownership. If you’re not sure that you can fully use all the benefits of owning a private jet, check out the other options, such as a private jet club membership, which allows you to use all the perks without taking on too many commitments and regular expenses.
If you’re seriously thinking of getting your own private jet, you could consider checking out some of the most popular personal loans that can help you get started. Or in case you’re getting a private jet for business use, there are also fantastic business loans that can serve that purpose. We also recommend that you sign up for credit cards with travel perks so you can get more rewards with every trip.
The turboprop is the cheapest private jet. Engine-wise, they’re not jets, but they can save you cash while giving you the convenience of being able to land on short runaways. If you want a plane with a jet engine, the Cirrus Vision Jet is among the cheapest alternatives.
The price depends on what type of plane you will be chartering. To give a basic idea, a turboprop that can carry six to seven people costs about $2,000 to $3,100 per hour of flight. On the opposite end of the spectrum, large bizliners can cost $16,000 to $30,000 per hour.
Aside from knowing how much is a private jet going to cost you, you’ll also need to evaluate how much does it cost to maintain it. You should be ready to prepare about $3 million to $4 million per year for preventive maintenance, insurances, fuel, hangar rental, and staff salary.