Private Jet Costs Explained
July 29, 2022
If you have been researching the costs associated with private aviation, you probably have received a spectrum of pricing information. Costs can vary from provider to provider and that’s not even considering what private jet access level or program you elect. There are many components that influence the cost of flying by private jet, so it is useful to have an overview of these if you are looking into different providers and types of access to private programs.
How Much Does a Private Jet Cost?
First, it is important to understand the different ways you can access private jet travel. Broadly these include:
- Whole aircraft ownership
- Fractional ownership, also known as shared ownership and private jet leasing
- Jet cards and private jet memberships
- On-demand charter
Whole Aircraft Ownership
Unsurprisingly, the model that carries the most significant cost is whole private jet ownership – and for good reason. The convenience of purchasing your own aircraft is not inexpensive. Private jet ownership delivers unparalleled freedom, but it does come with very significant financial considerations. Not only the initial multi-million dollar investment but also many complex and unpredictable overheads. Crew salaries and training, maintenance, management fees, and insurance, are just a few of the extra expenses involved.
Private jets have significant variable operating costs associated with each flight, such as fuel, landing fees, catering, and other amenities. The associated cost of aircraft downtime is another consideration, as all aircraft will require maintenance, sometimes unexpectedly – adding costs and the requirement to source alternative options when you need to fly.
Fractional jet ownership can be appealing to frequent flyers who may have considered owning a whole aircraft but are looking for lower and more predictable costs. Essentially, you secure the main benefits of whole aircraft ownership – consistency, exceptional service, and guaranteed access for a fraction of the cost, and with none of the responsibility. There is also the considerable advantage of knowing an aircraft will always be available at short notice when you want to fly.
Share sizes range from 1/16th (50 hours) to ½ shares (400 hours) with each level giving an Owner a percentage of the 800 flight hours available per year on each aircraft. For example, a 1/8th share entitles an Owner to 100 flight hours annually, which is approximately 50,000 nm.
When comparing shared, private jet ownership providers, you are comparing many factors beyond costs, including the age and performance of the aircraft; quality of onboard service and amenities (such as catering and Wi-Fi); levels of personalization and flexibility; operational details such as the primary service areas, peak days, and fuel price adjustments. Fractional jet ownership provides all the control of whole jet ownership without many of the drawbacks.
Whether traveling for business or pleasure, aircraft leasing offers the advantages of purchasing a fractional jet share, without owning an asset.
- No upfront cost of owning
- No exposure to depreciation risks
While you can classify your private aviation leases as a “travel expense” for tax purposes, you cannot designate it as an “asset” like whole and fractional aircraft owners can. Your tax advisor can provide more advice.
Private jet leasing is also a great way to test out aircraft ownership before making the full investment. Because lessors do not own the jet, they do not have to deal with depreciation or reselling a plane if they decide to upgrade to a new model.
The pricing components of a private jet lease are nearly identical to that of fractional ownership, but with one key difference. Private jet lease models require a monthly lease payment. This premium rate can result in a greater all-in annual cost of jet leasing.
Overall, leasing a private jet provides the ability to have direct control over the aircraft and its availability while also assuming the responsibilities of operational control. Upfront cost flexibility paired with some level of control makes leasing a private jet a comfortable commitment for some.
For those who fly between 25 and 50 hours a year, jet cards offer a way of predicting your costs by offering flying hours at a fixed hourly rate. You commit to a given number of hours upfront which you can then access as required, drawing down the hours available on your card balance as you fly.
A jet card program can provide flying hours on a specific owned fleet, or on a wider selection of aircraft from third-party operators from the charter market. A jet card will typically allow flying within an agreed geographical zone.
This can be beneficial to those with regular charter jet flying patterns or different size groups. Flying costs are less predictable, as pricing is dynamic and based on market pricing at the time of each flight.
On-demand charter is effectively a pay-as-you-go model for private jet travel, similar to a jet card or jet membership, but at a more one-off level. It could be compared to a private jet rental, but the pilot is included. How much does it cost to rent a private jet; you might ask? The answer is that it varies from provider to provider.
Within a charter-based model, your travel needs are still subject to the supply and demand dynamics of an ever-changing market, which often includes your aircraft and crew. Additionally, it must be noted that due to high demand and limited fleet sizes, aspects such as provider reliability, and availability – to say nothing of flexibility – can vary with chartered flights.
You can charter an aircraft from the wider charter market, for a specific trip at a cost that is based on market conditions at the time of booking.
What are the specific Flexjet costs? To discover more about Flexjet fractional jet ownership, jet lease or on-demand charter program pricing and features, contact our team via our website or call us at (866) 473-0025.