The True Cost of Private Jet Ownership

Owning a private jet can be liberating for those who need to fly often. Whether you own or charter, by flying private, you avoid the crowds and fly more comfortably. You optimise your travel time by flying directly, often coming closer to your destination than you would with a commercial airline connection.

But private jet ownership requires a considerable investment, both up-front and ongoing. Here are the costs you should consider when buying a jet.

Aircraft purchase price

Buying a private jet varies widely from $2 million to $100 million. The main up-front cost drivers are the model of aircraft you select and whether you buy a new or a pre-owned aircraft.

You can buy a pre-owned jet more economically than a new jet. Still, depending on the condition of the aircraft, you might have to invest in equipment upgrades, interior refurbishment, and maintenance. That will quickly add up.

  • Upgrading communications systems (installing Wi-Fi) can cost over $500,000, plus $100,000 for the radome antenna.

  • Replacing woodwork in the jet cabin can cost between $300,000 and $500,000

  • Covering the seats in new leather covers can cost $200,000

  • Replacing the carpet can cost anywhere from $40,000 to $90,000

  • Some jet owners spend millions of dollars refurbishing their pre-owned aircraft to suit their style and comfort preferences.

  • Maintenance costs can quickly increase to $500,000-$1,000,000 or more. For those considering a pre-owned aircraft, a pre-buy inspection is crucial. You need to know the maintenance investment required before you buy.

Before deciding, you should also consider the time the aircraft will need to be grounded due to maintenance and refurbishment. It can take months before you finally fly your pre-owned aircraft. That may still be a shorter timeline than waiting for a new jet directly from the OEM, but it’s best to know your options to ensure you are happy with your decision.

interior falcon 7x

Ongoing Costs

Your choice of aircraft will also impact your ongoing costs. A general estimate of annual recurring costs for jet operations ranges from $500,000 to $1,000,000. But, if we break down those costs, it’s easy to see that they could be higher, particularly for older pre-owned aircraft, which may require more maintenance.

  • Fuel is a large portion of operations costs and fluctuates significantly based on local market prices. Expect higher fuel costs for larger jets that fly longer distances. At a jet fuel price of $5.00 per gallon:

    • A light jet can cost as much as $1,100 per flight hour, up to $275,000 per year if you fly 250 hours.

    • A midsize jet can cost $1,500 per hour or $375,000 per year (250 hours).

    • A super midsize can cost $1,900 per hour or $475,000 per year (250 hours).

    • A large jet can cost $2,700 per hour. As it is more likely that you would fly more hours by taking longer journeys, annual costs would also increase significantly.

  • Aircraft hangarage (storage) costs can range from $1,500 to $3,000 per month in rent.

  • Building your own aircraft hangar can cost anywhere from $30,000 to several million dollars, depending on your requirements.

  • Crew costs

    • An aircraft rated for a single pilot will have lower ongoing staffing costs than a two-pilot aircraft, though single-pilot planes generally fly shorter distances. Two-pilot operations may be preferable for safety and availability. Salaries vary based on experience and rank, ranging from a median of $86,000 to over $300,000 per year.

    • You may need to hire at least one cabin crew member, with salaries ranging from $50,000-$75,000 per year.

    • You will also need to provide accommodation and living expenses for the crew who remain at your away location waiting for your trip to conclude.

  • Routine maintenance can cost 2% of the original aircraft price per year for a pre-owned aircraft that may require heavier maintenance. Unplanned maintenance events like tire replacements and mandatory regulatory inspection costs can cost several thousand dollars annually.

  • Private jet insurance could cost as little as $10,000 or as much as $500,000 per year, based on liability limits, aircraft use, coverage, pilot qualifications, and other factors.

  • You will also need to cover FBO costs for catering, aircraft cleaning, ground handling, etc.

front falcon 7x

To get the most out of your aircraft investment, you should consult an experienced broker who can advise you on which aircraft type is right for your needs. Be sure to choose someone you can rely on to simplify the process, providing reliable and honest information while making the right connections for inspections, insurance, and financing. LunaSolutions’ aviation experts can help prospective aircraft buyers seamlessly navigate the complexities of the process.

Even as a jet owner, there will be times when you want to charter a jet to cover aircraft downtime or to fly a mission beyond the capabilities of your aircraft. LunaJets advisors are only a call away when the unexpected arises.