Before we look at the cost, let’s assess the major perks to flying privately.
Buying a jet is a big investment, so you’ll want to be sure it’s a purchase worth making, or whether it’s better to stick to chartering (renting) private planes.
Here are some of the main reasons why private aviation is beneficial…
You’re In Charge
Whether you’re renting or buying a private jet, flying this way cuts out worry about scheduling connecting flights, lining up at customs, security screenings, and waiting for luggage to be transported off the plane.
You can also arrive to a private flight much closer to take-off time than with commercial flying. Often it’s a matter of getting to the airport with just 15 minutes to spare. And sometimes, depending on the airport and facilities, you can drive right up to your plane and leave your car there while you’re away.
Another benefit comes via the transportation of pets. This can be trickier on commercial flights, with pets often having to travel in the hold. A private flight will let them ride with you.
Private flying is also great for business purposes. If you’re on a work trip with others, you can take advantage of having the plane to yourself and conduct that all important business meeting at 30,000 feet.
Perhaps the biggest perk of all is the comfort and room on offer, compared to a commercial flight. Even first class flying is a tad confined, with private jets providing ultimate luxury. Space to sit, lie, stretch out and roam.
These flights also offer variations on catering options – from gourmet deliveries to onboard cooking. Many private jets provide entertainment too, such as high-end stereo systems and satellite TV.
Now you know the main perks of flying privately, what is the private jet cost?
Firstly, it’s important to deduce how often you’ll use the plane. Owning a private jet comes with steep annual fixed costs. It makes little sense to buy a personal jet if you are not a frequent flyer.
As a rule, if you don’t fly for over 400 hours per year, the cost of owning a private jet is rarely worth it.
Overall Annual Private Jet Cost
On average, the fixed annual costs of an average medium-sized private jet will come to $1.7 million.
This is made up of depreciation costs (approx $1.4 million), plane management (approx $280,000) and non-scheduled maintenance (approx $70,000).
By comparison, the annual cost to charter an average medium-sized private jet is around $4,000 an hour. This will cover crew training and salaries, insurance, maintenance, liability cover, parking, and cleaning costs.
To purchase a private jet, this can set you back anywhere between $2 million to $100 million. Sometimes more, depending on size, model, make and condition.
You can always buy a used jet, for cheaper. Much like cars, the minute the jet begins operation, its value greatly depreciates.
Main Reasons to Invest in a Private Jet
If you are an entrepreneur, who jets around on shorter journeys, often by yourself or with one or two others, buying a plane might be a good investment.
If you take little luggage and are often traveling away for longer than two nights, this could be another reason purchasing a jet is worth it.
Do you have multiple homes that you often need to fly between? If so, this is another good excuse to invest.
You will of course then have complete ownership of the vessel, and be able to travel on your own schedule.
There are ways to offset the price of owning a jet too. You can lease your plane to an airline company. This means it will be used by others, however.
You can also take part in shared private jet ownership, spreading the costs of upkeep and use across various owners. The main inconvenience here is that you do not have access to the plane whenever or wherever you wish.
Having your own private plane gets rid of health and safety concerns. You are the boss and run how the plane operates and is looked after and managed. This includes being able to limit precisely who has access to your plane – most likely your closest friends or family.
Having your own plane also means you are subject to fewer restrictions thanks to the Part 91 rules. You will also be allowed to enter a vaster array of airports that meet Original Equipment Manufacturers specs.
Passenger identification is also not usually required for trips within the US thanks to Part 91 rules. ID checks still may take place and those at least 18 years old will be requires to prove official photo identification while aboard the charter flight.
Main Reasons to Rent a Private Jet
As previously mentioned, it really boils down to frequency and value for money. Very few individuals spend more than 400 hours in the air every year. And so the short answer would suggest that, unless you are one of these people, renting is the economical option.
Another perk of renting is you can switch up your choice of plane whenever you fly. You are not tied to the same vessel. This means, you may want to take trips with larger groups on occasion, so can charter a larger plane accordingly. Yet you are not tied to one size plane forever.
You can try out different brands and models, too. This way you experience a variety and can compare and contrast, all the while traveling in privacy and comfort.
It’s true, however, that you are subject to regulations implemented with ‘public transportation’. Private jet operators flying globally must obtain its Air Operator Certificate (AOC), which follows rules regarding operational constraints, maintenance and crew qualifications.
The strict rules, however, could be argued as safer than being in charge of your own personally-owned plane.
Pilots, for example, are required to have Airlines Transport Pilot Licenses – which seems to be a qualification you’d want anyone flying a plane to have.
Aircraft maintenance checks are tighter, more frequent, and monitored strictly on planes that are rented.
You will have to assure all of these factors yourself if you own a jet, rather than be able to relax in the knowledge that these regulations are being adhered to if you choose to charter a plane.
Generally, there are four main types of private flight, as listed below:
As already explained, a private charter is just for individual use. You will rent the entire plane for solo or group travel. In some cases, private charters can transport 100 or so people.
Whoever is renting this type of flight must cover everything financially and usually billed to one individual.
Public charter flights tend to be available via air carriers and often on a seasonal rota. Schedules are limited, unlike with a private charter which allows you to totally plan the itinerary.
Public charters tend to include operators from low-budget airlines as well as regularly scheduled carriers, and often are organised via tour operators and travel agents.
Non-passenger flights can be chartered to transport particular types of cargo.
This could be furniture, currency, donated goods, medical supplies, military gear or livestock, to name a few examples.
The passengers on an affinity charter will be linked to a company, business, or organization. Each passenger pays for their seat on an affinity flight.
This is not for the general public, and is used more for sports fans or music fans being ferried to a big event via the air.
Contrary to popular belief, this way of flying is not just limited to the mega-wealthy. Especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As there has been concern around traveling commercially during global health crisis, chartered planes are becoming more available across a wider range of customers.
The Memorial Day weekend in 2020 recorded 58% of the volume of private airplane traffic when tallied against Memorial Day weekend 2019. At the same time, there was a major drop in commercial passengers.
Businesses also joined in with this new trend, not just those flying for leisure. Employers have worried that their employees cannot make journeys for meetings, or be able to get around to actually conduct their work. The answer: charter a jet.