Common opinion suggests that you should consider buying a private jet, if you charter more than 300 hours per year, and leasing is recommended, if you charter more than 100 hours yearly.
But since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and its accompanying heightened need to fly safely, private jet flights have become more in-demand and have started to transition from an uber-luxury-lifestyle feature to an expensive but necessary service.
So, we decided to dive deeper into the nuances of private jet pricing. In our article, you’ll find the full picture of costs for buying, leasing, or chartering a private aircraft.
How much does it cost to buy a private jet?
More than 80% of private jets arrive on the market with a “price on request” tag. So, for this article, we requested price information from our partners and also consulted our own internal data.
It is also worth mentioning that, with private jets, price can be highly contingent upon such factors as maintenance requirements or the aircraft’s marketability. Before launching into the nuances of private jet valuation, let’s take a look at the price ranges by aircraft type.
Buying a heavy private jet (12-19 seats, 5000-7000 nmi): $25-54 million
According to press reports, the most expensive private jets can cost up to $100 million. But, if you look at the market, the highest-priced aircrafts available for private buyers generally sell for about $50,000,000 (2020 data). All of these impressive aircrafts are, of course, heavy jets.
Gulfstream leads the list of the most expensive private jets, with a price of $29-54 million for a Gulfstream G550 built in 2016-2020. Dessault is another player at the highest end of the private jet market with a price for Dassault Falcon 7X (2016-2020) ranging from $32 to $53 million. And a Bombardier Global 5000 built in 2016-2020 will cost you around $25-50 million.
Buying a super-midsize or midsize private jet (8-12 seats, 3,000-4,600 nmi): $2.5-21 million
Super-midsize jets can be compared to heavy, long-range aircrafts not only in specification but also in price. The Embraer Legacy 650 (2015-2020) comes to the market with a price tag of $15-20 million. A Gulfstream 450 (2013-2017) will cost you $16-21 million. The Dassault Falcon 2000EX EASy built in 2005-2009 can be purchased for $8.5-11 million.
In the midsize category, the Bombardier Challenger 350 (2016-2020) is one of the most expensive jets with prices ranging from $14-27 million. The Cessna Citation Latitude (2015-2019) comes with a price of $10-15 million. Older midsize jets cost several times less. For instance, you can buy a Gulfstream IV built in 1991 (the predecessor of the Gulfstream 450) for as much as $2.5-3 million.
Buying a light or very light private jet (4-11 seats, 1,000-2,900 nmi): $1.8-8 million
When speaking of light private jets, Cessna often is the first brand that comes to mind. A Cessna Citation CJ3 (2011-2015) will cost you around $4.5-5.3 million. A Citation Mustang (2013-2017): $1.8-2.65 million.
One of the most expensive light jets is the Embraer Phenom (2015-2019) with a market price of about $6.9-8 million.
The full cost of owning a private jet: annual expenses
Ownership of a private jet includes fixed and variable costs, explains The Private Jet Company representative.
Fixed costs remain constant, regardless of the number of hours in the air and the number of takeoffs and landings. These are expenses such as hangar fees, crew salaries, and insurance premiums.
Variable costs are directly dependent upon the amount of time the aircraft is operated, the distance flown and flight conditions. Some examples of these variables are fuel costs, engine programs, landing fees, and de-icing fees.
To reduce fixed costs per flight hour, jet owners often opt to rent out an aircraft or even to lease it to a charter company in exchange for monthly lease fees.
How much does it cost to charter a private jet?
Renting a private jet is, in most cases, a more cost-effective and flexible way to travel than jet ownership.
According to Air Charter Service, the price of hiring a jet depends upon factors such as jet type and size. When contemplating the price per flight, it is important to note that a one-hour trip in a light jet can cost $4,000; a seven-hour flight in a heavy jet can cost around $140,000.
Although costs may vary between the USA and Europe or from one company to another, the private jet charter price mostly depends on the following factors:
- Jet size and type
- Flight distance
- Aircraft availability
- Number of passengers
- Amount of luggage
- Airport fees
- Refueling and jet repositioning costs
Empty leg flights are also available at heavily discounted prices of up to 75 percent.
These flights are offered when a jet must be returned to its original airport after a one-way charter. Rather than fly empty, the ticket price is discounted, making empty leg flights a good choice for last-minute trips.
Now, let’s take a detailed look at private jet charter prices, based upon typical flights inside and outside of the USA.
Chartering a heavy private jet (Airbus, Boeing, Gulfstream)
Popular heavy jets to rent include the Bombardier Challenger 850 or the ultra-long-range Gulfstream G550 which can fly nine and a half hours from Miami to Lisbon with 16 passengers for $133,000 per flight.
VIP, ultra-luxury jets that have been heavily customised, such as the Airbus A319CJ, are the most expensive private charter options.
An Airbus can travel from New York to London in eight hours at a cost of around $160,000, carrying up to 19 people. The jet boasts an office, entertainment system, bedroom, and bathroom. Here’s a sample of heavy jet per-hour charter prices:
- Airbus A319 – $20,000 per hour to charter, with a maximum flight time of eight hours and a range of 4,287 mi./6,900 km.
- Boeing BBJ – $20,000 per hour and has a maximum flight time of 12 hours, with a range of 10,932 mi./17,594 km.
- Gulfstream G550 – $14,000 to rent per hour, with a maximum flight time of 14 hours and a range of 7,767 mi./12,501 km.
Chartering a super mid-size or mid-size private jet (Learjet, Embraer, Gulfstream)
Charter a mid-size jet for journeys of four hours or over in the USA, with space for up to nine passengers.
Popular jets in this range include the Bombardier Learjet 60XR, which costs around $28,000 to hire from San Francisco to Houston, and the Embraer Legacy 500 which costs from $47,500 to fly from San Diego to Charlotte.
For journeys of six hours or more, super mid-size jets like the Gulfstream G200 or the Bombardier Challenger 300 are ideal.
It would cost around $61,750 for the Gulfstream to fly the 6.5 hour journey from Orlando to Lima, Peru.
Here are some charter prices by the hour for mid and super mid-size jets:
- Mid-size Bombardier Learjet 60XR – $7,000 per hour to charter. It has a four-hour maximum flight time and a 2,782 mi./4,478 km range.
- Mid-size Embraer Legacy 500 – $9,500 per hour, with a maximum flight time of five hours and a range of 3,452 mi./5,556 km.
- Super mid-size Gulfstream G200/G280 – $9,500 to rent per hour and has a maximum flight time of seven hours and a range of 4,142 mi./6,667 km.
Chartering a light private jet (Cessna, Beechkraft)
If you’re taking a private jet for a short domestic flight in the USA, turboprops or light jets with space for up to six people are ideal. Flying from New York to Boston, which takes about 45 minutes in a turboprop such as a Piper Cheyenne, would cost from $4,800.
A larger, light jet such as a Beechcraft King Air 200 can cost $14,000 to fly three and a half hours from Los Angeles to Seattle. Private jet charter companies often charge by the hour. Here are some sample costs for hiring popular light jets and turboprops:
- Cessna Citation Mustang – $4,000 per hour to charter, with a maximum flight time of two hours, 30 minutes and a range of 1,343 mi./ 2,161 km.
- Beechcraft King Air 200 – $4,000 to charter per hour, with a maximum flight time of three hours, 30 minutes and a range of 1,818 mi./2,926 km.
- Cessna Citation CJ3 – $5,500+ per hour to rent, has a maximum flight time of three hours, and a range of 2,157 mi./3,472 km.
The two most cost-effective ways to hire a private jet
And, finally, there are two alternatives to jet owning or chartering.
First, leasing. Leasing is less expensive than buying a private jet beсause the down payment is smaller and affords the lessee greater long-term liquidity. According to The Private Jet Company specialists, you can usually lease an aircraft for 1-60 months with a monthly cost of 1-3% of its value.
The second option is a jet card that is suitable for all who wish to book private jets more conveniently and with lower hourly rates. Each card holds a certain number of flight hours with fixed rates. For example, Sentient Jet offers 25-hour jet cards with access to mid-size and large jets for prices starting at $182,550. According to Sentient Jet specialists, a cardholder can easily book jets with only 10-24 hours’ notice, depending upon the aircraft type required.
All that said, chartering a jet probably still is the most cost-efficient option for those who spend 100-200 hours in the air per year. After exceeding this number, owning a personal jet may have its merits, especially if an owner is not opposed to renting it out to cover maintenance expenses.
But from another side, perhaps, it’s time to include more elements in the hours-per-year formula–such as safety of family members–and the past feeling of a world without boundaries and aviation lockdowns?