How To Buy a Private Jet: The Ultimate Guide

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December 21, 2022

Yves

A private jet means total freedom and convenience. It also means complete control over your travel. Of course, with power comes important responsibility. It can be freeing to own a private jet, but it is also costly. However, if you travel more than 200 hours a year and want exclusive jet access, it may be well worth it for you. 

This guide will provide everything you need to know about purchasing a private jet and what to expect out of ownership.

Steps To Buying a Private Jet

As you might guess, buying a private jet is no quick and easy decision. When weighing such an important decision, there are several considerations you need to make and several steps to the process. When you are planning on purchasing a jet, you should do the following.

1. Determine Your Needs

To get an accurate picture of what kind of private jet you would like and how much you might spend, you should outline your needs. Be sure to consider how often you might travel, what onboard amenities you are interested in, how many passengers you plan on flying with, and how far each trip may be. 

For example, if you plan on taking many cross-country or international trips, you should pay extra attention to finding a longer-range, larger aircraft. Similarly, if you want additional onboard comforts, like luxury materials, internet and in-flight entertainment, then you should expect to pay more for the jet.

2. Determine Your Budget

Once you know what you want from an aircraft, you need to know how much you are willing to spend. You should weigh the features you want in an aircraft against your spending to determine whether you can customize your aircraft or add any additional features.

When developing a budget, remember that an aircraft comes with a long list of operating costs. Consequently, you should create not just a one-time budget to purchase the aircraft but also a yearly budget that factors in travel and operations expenses  

3. Talk to the Experts

Like buying a house, buying an aircraft is a complex and involved decision. In the same way you would talk to a realtor, you should consult an aircraft acquisitions expert to help you make all of the essential considerations for the right decision. An expert can shed significant insight into the technical aspects of purchasing a jet.

On top of discussing with a broker, you should consult a lawyer about safety regulations you will need to meet and where your potential aircraft falls in that process. An aviation lawyer will allow you to make sure your aircraft is in compliance and prevent headaches.

4. Ask the Important Questions

Once you narrow your options down to one jet, you should get all of the vital information. For a new jet, you should ask what the maintenance schedule is and how often you will need to service it.

If you purchase a used jet, you should be extra meticulous about the history of the jet. Ask for complete maintenance records, past inspection records, and how the aircraft was stored and operated. You can use the serial number to gain a full picture of the aircraft.

To ensure that you are making the right decision, you should also ask to take a test flight of at least two hours with a skilled technician. Lastly, as with any large purchase, you should have a complete inspection to determine its value.

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How Much Does a Private Jet Cost?

Because there are many different types of jets, purchase prices can vary widely. The price of a private jet depends mostly on a few different factors, from the type of jet to the capabilities of the jet.

Size is probably the most significant factor in determining price, but once you decide which size jet you want, there are other variables that will affect the price. Private jets are classified into six different sizes:

  • Very light jets
  • Light jets
  • Midsize Jets
  • Super Midsize Jets
  • Heavy Jets
  • Ultra-Long-Range Jets

A very light jet costs around $2-5 million to buy, while an ultra-long-range jet can cost around $20-75 million. However, other factors like amenities, additional technology, and customization will quickly change prices.

The Cost to Operate a Private Jet

The cost of owning a private jet doesn’t stop at purchasing your aircraft. When you own a private jet, there are several operating costs to factor in.

Maintenance

You are responsible for anything that goes wrong with your aircraft and keeping up with regular aircraft maintenance per the owners’ manual. It is also your responsibility as an owner to ensure your aircraft meets all necessary FAA safety requirements, which means spending on safety certifications, insurance and equipment.

Part of maintaining your aircraft is storing it, typically in a hangar, which can cost around $50,000 a year. All of this can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, if not more.

Fuel

When it comes to operating costs for a private jet, the most consistent cost is fuel. The price of fuel can add up quickly. A mid-size jet can use around 350 gallons of fuel each hour. This means just one hour of flight time can equate to about $1200 an hour. Longer flights and larger jets will burn much more fuel and require more spending.

Crew

Unless you are a trained pilot, you will also have to hire a pilot and flight crew to fly your plane and ensure safe operation. A good, experienced pilot can be paid between $55,000 and $275,000 annually or somewhere between $50-$100 per hour. If required, a flight crew will also cost additional money, raising your costs by around $100,000 a year or $100 per hour.

What To Consider Before Buying a Private Jet

Buying a private jet can be extremely rewarding, as it brings freedom, access, and flexibility to your travel, among many other benefits. However, outright owning a private jet is not necessarily required in order to enjoy many of these potential benefits. Before buying a private jet, you should weigh all of your options.

Fractional Ownership

Since the costs associated with owning a private jet can be rather high, fractional ownership is an excellent option for those interested in the luxuries of a private plane but not the total ownership costs.

Fractional owners each pay a percentage of the costs proportional to how much they use it—typically in a monthly or annual fee. This option is perfect for travelers who fly regularly enough to want exclusive access to a jet but don’t fly enough to justify paying the costs for their own jet.

Under fractional ownership, storage and maintenance costs are shared across all owners, while travel and operation costs, like fuel, are the responsibility of the owner who uses it.

Aircraft Management

When buying a private jet, you think of the convenience and comfort on the way to your destination. However, the reality is that your jet will spend plenty of its time on the ground, so you need to figure out how you will store and take care of it. The right company can help you determine how you will fuel your aircraft, maintenance, and keep it.

An experienced aircraft management company can also help you staff your aircraft with pilots and a flight crew. Aircraft management services can also help you charter out your aircraft when you are not using it, allowing you to offset your ownership costs and save money in the long run.

Private Jet Charter

If you only fly occasionally, then ownership costs may not be worth it. Fortunately, private jet charter provides an easy option for anyone who only flies about 20 hours a year. Private charter can get you in the air within three hours of booking and allow you great amenities.

Frequent flyers can still gain exclusive access to aircraft and reduced rates through a private jet charter company without having to own. For example, Jet Agency offers three memberships to provide access to aircraft and exclusive rates:

 

 

Safety Standards

In order to operate, even for personal use, an aircraft must be certified for safety purposes. Owners are responsible for ensuring that the aircraft is operated safely and meets several standards during every trip. These standards are outlined by a set of rules under Part 91 of the Federal Code of Regulations.

Not only are these factors costly, but they can be time-consuming and require a certain level of expertise to address. Before purchasing a private jet, make sure that you understand the regulations you need to follow and that you are willing to address all of them.

The strenuous process leads many people to fly via private jet charter. Not only can it be more convenient, but it is also often safer, as federal regulations surrounding private jet charter are more stringent. At Jet Agency, all of our flights follow strict safety standards to ensure the comfort of all of our passengers. We carry out our operations to meet all federal regulations while going above and beyond,

Offset Your Ownership Costs

Altogether, owning a private aircraft is no small feat, but if you are willing to spend and know you will use it plenty, then it can be completely worth it. For proper aircraft management assistance, contact Jet Agency to learn more about how we can assist you with our services. We are happy to help you with everything from flight crew staffing to chartering your aircraft through Part 135 operations to offset your costs.

If you are not yet prepared to buy a private jet, then don’t worry—Jet Agency has you covered for all of your jet travel needs. From our detailed safety measures to the ability to get you in the air within just three hours of booking, Jet Agency has your back. Contact us today to learn more about any of the many services we have to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

 Should I Buy a New or Used Private Jet?

Whether you buy a new or used jet is up to you, as there are benefits to both. Buying a used jet can save you some money, but it can also be more time intensive to carry out the appropriate inspections and may cost more for maintenance. Meanwhile, a new jet will cost more upfront but be cheaper to maintain for the first few years.

A new jet will also allow more room for customization. However, if you are willing to make some sacrifices on minor details, then a used jet will get the job done.

When Should I Purchase a Private Jet?

You should purchase a private jet if you fly frequently and the operating costs of owning a plane would closely match the price of flying private jet charter. Generally, you should consider purchasing a jet if you travel more than 200 hours per year.

If you only fly around 20 hours or fewer per year, flying a general private jet charter is more feasible. Above that, you should consider a membership with a private jet charter operator.

How Much Does a Private Jet Cost?

Private jet costs vary widely. To purchase a jet, you can spend between $2 million and $70 million, depending on size and capabilities. After purchasing an aircraft, you should expect to pay a significant amount in operating and maintenance costs each year. These costs are usually around 10-15% of the purchase price of the aircraft.

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