Private jets are one of the most instantly recognisable need universally acknowledged symbols of luxury and wealth in the world. The luxurious connotations of a private jet transcend different cultures. There is no country on Earth where their ownership is routine, nor is there any country that doesn’t understand just how expensive and exclusive these vehicles are.
It is understandable that most of us would simply scoff at the idea of us being able to own, or even fly in a private jet. However, we live in a world where attaining this kind of unique luxury experience is a goal of many people and there are now businesses for every luxury experience, whether it be fine dining, driving a top of the range sports car, or flying in a luxury jet, who aim to bring these experiences to the mass market.
The results speak for themselves. We now know that the average consumer is easily tempted by the taste of luxury and that, given the choice, most of us are prepared to pay more for an experience which resembles that of the rich and famous.
Owning a private jet isn’t nearly as expensive as most of us imagining it to be, and the private jet experience can be obtained without having to go the whole hog and buying an entire jet for yourself. You can rent the services of a jet and charter it for a flight or two, or you can buy a jet as part of a group. There is an array of options for the average consumer when it comes to setting themselves up for the private jet experience.
Private jet aircraft sales brokers who target consumers more generally are on the rise as the options for full or part ownership of private jets becomes a realistic prospect for evermore people.
How Much Does it Cost to Buy Private Jets?
This is one of those ‘how long is a piece of string?’ kind of questions. The cost of buying a private aircraft will vary greatly depending on the exact aircraft under consideration and whether you a are pursuing full ownership of it for yourself, or buying as part of a consortium who will share ownership. Both routes have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s wise to consult a private jet aircraft broker for advice.
If you are looking to purchase aircraft outright, then the Falcon 10, a popular model from 1979, that already has around 10,000 miles on its clock will cost you around £350,000. Note that you will want to engage the services of a private jet broker to ensure a smooth sale and they will add to the costs slightly. Those who can also afford to hire a private jet sales consultant should do so, unless you are in the envious position of having experience buying other private jets yourself, of course.
By comparison, the newer and more advanced Gulfstream 550 can cost tens of millions and the price quoted for US customers is around $50 million. This assumes that you are buying the craft ‘off-the-shelf’. Many of those on sale to individual buyers have already been refitted and modified and the extent of this interior redesign can further affect the price, sometimes to the point that $50 million seems like pocket change by comparison.
For those who don’t want to dive into the deep end, or who are working with more limited resources, there are smaller aircraft such as the 8 seat Learjet 45. Such a craft will set you back ‘only’ £2 million or so.
Clearly, buying a private jet is not cheap, but nor are these sums of money entirely unavoidable, especially if you are purchasing the jet with a view to using it in a business as well as a personal context.
What Other Costs are Involved?
As with a car, a plane costs money to keep running and to maintain. The continuing costs of aircraft ownership can be categorised according to three different categories. There are direct costs, variable costs, and fixed costs. Both the direct costs and variable costs are related to the usage of the aircraft and will vary depending on how the aircraft is used. On the other hand, fixed costs will apply whether the aircraft is flying every day or sitting in a hangar somewhere. It is these costs which often provide the biggest barrier when individuals decide to buy private jets.
It is generally safe to assume that those who purchase private jets outright have access to quite a considerable cash-pile, and this is something that you will have to consider carefully before purchasing. Even if you are qualified to fly the jet yourself, you will still have to cover other fixed costs, including the salaries of any other crew that you employ. Just as road vehicles are taxed and incur costs after you have purchased them, so will there be management and maintenance fees for your aircraft. You will need to keep it fuelled, keep its insurance up to date, and also pay to store the craft in a hangar or similar location.
Among the other costs that need to be considered are the costs of flying, such as fuel, and even landing, in the form of airport landing charges and handling fees. Taking the Learjet 45 as an example, and assuming that it racks up 200 flight hours a year, then the costs to the owner will be an additional £500,000 or so. Some private jet companies such as Paramount Business Jets have an excellent online guide to private jet purchases, as well as international jet sales brokers, that will provide you with data and advice whilst purchasing your jet.
Sweat the Asset
The most obvious way of offsetting the costs of buying your own aircraft is to make it available for hire by third parties. In order to do this, however, you will need to ensure that you obtain all the relevant licenses and documentation; you will also need to invest in some crew members to staff it.
The most efficient way of doing this is to engage an aircraft management company, as these companies can provide you with a trained crew.
You will need to make sure that your craft is compliant with EASA rules (European Aviation Safety Agency). If you purchased an aircraft from the US, then you need to make sure that it is compliant with European standards, most will not be by default.
Once you have ensured that the craft is complete, however, then you can instantly start using it to make some money, typically the charter rate for a Learjet 45 in the UK is roughly £2,200 per hour.
Buying a private jet is no longer a pipe dream for most of us, something only open to the mega-rich and super famous. There are now financing options available for buying a jet, and if you take the time to ensure that your craft is compliant with the relevant safety standards, then you can offset a significant portion of the costs by allowing it to be hired out and chartered by private individuals.
If you are a frequent flyer, someone who flies more than 100 hours per year, then owning your own private jet is well worth considering. If you are looking for a way to reduce costs, then consider splitting the cost between you and other ‘investors’; this way you can share the ownership of the craft as well as the financial burden. If you also hire the craft out in addition, then all of you can quickly make a return on investment and the whole venture starts to make much more sense financially.