- New private jets range from around $3 million to over $75 million.
- Regular maintenance can be $500,000 to $1 million annually.
- Jet owners must pay airport and hangar fees, plus wages for pilots and crew.
- Private jets are also available to charter or lease.
Owning a private jet requires maintenance that can cost over $1 million annually. Depending on the frequency of travel, chartering a private jet may be the more cost-effective solution.
The Cost of Buying a Private Jet
The price of a private jet can range from a few million dollars to more than $75 million. These private planes also come with necessary ongoing costs, including fuel, regular and emergency maintenance, hangar and airport fees, insurance and wages for pilots and crew. If you need to borrow money to buy a jet, you’ll also accrue interest fees.
A private jet offers not only luxury but also control. With one, every aspect of your trip is yours to determine. You decide when and where you’ll fly and who will travel with you. If you fly more than 150 hours a year and have a taste for comfort and convenience, a private jet might be an option.
If you’re uncertain you’d get proper value out of the full cost of a private jet or are uncertain you want to make the major financial commitment, you might test the waters by chartering (renting) one for a specific trip.
The price of a private jet depends primarily on its age and size. New jets are more expensive than used jets, although older jets may require more mechanical maintenance. Larger jets can carry more passengers and provide more services and luxuries, but they’re more expensive than smaller planes. They usually have higher fuel costs.
The size of a jet affects how far it can fly, how many passengers it can carry, and the services and luxuries it can support. A new Eclipse 500, in the very light jet class with six seats, can carry five or six passengers for three hours. Its price tag is $2.49 million.
At the other end of the spectrum is the Boeing BBJ, an executive liner with a capacity of 25 or more passengers. It features showers and 10 hours of flight time, and it can cost up to $75 million.
There are dozens of jet makers that have models to appeal to various needs. As you do with cars, you can make choices about your private plane’s interior attachments and luxuries that will increase or decrease the ultimate price.
Here’s a short list of prices for popular new jets, from smaller to larger:
- HondaJet Elite S: $5.4 million
- Cessna Citation Latitude: $18 million
- Dassault Falcon 900XL: $43 million
- Bombardier Global 7500: $72.8 million
- Gulfstream G700: $75 million
A used jet is significantly less expensive than a new one. To take from our examples above, the list price of a new Eclipse 500 is $2.49 million. But owners of used models are asking between $995,000 and $1.7 million. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a surge of interest in private jet ownership, and the market has fewer private jets available for sale now than before 2020. A low supply means higher prices, but the savings are still substantial.
Prices for used jets depend on their condition and mileage. Mileage for jets is measured in hours flown rather than distance traveled. Interior conditions, such as wear-and-tear on seats, fabrics, carpet, etc., also come into play. So does the jet’s maintenance record. The older the jet, the more likely it is to need major overhauls.
The Cost of Renting a Private Jet
If you only fly occasionally, owning a private jet might cost a price you’re not willing to pay. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t ever fly on a private jet. Many aircraft companies offer charter services. If you charter a private jet, you can enjoy all the comfort, convenience and privacy without the expense and obligations of ownership.
A jet charter is a one-time rental where all expenses are calculated and distilled into an hourly rental rate. The cost depends on the size of the plane, the number of passengers you want to bring along, the crew size and services required and the length of the outbound and inbound flights. Fees range from $2,000 an hour for small jets carrying only a few passengers to more than $15,000 per hour for jets that carry 15 or more passengers on 10-hour flights.
Charter companies offer different sizes and styles of jets, along with different levels of service and amenities. Every choice affects the rental price. Where and when you fly also affects the cost, especially if the jet has to be repositioned for your flight (flown out to meet you).
Dozens of aircraft charter companies serve U.S. customers, including Flexjet, Fly XO, Jet Edge, NetJets, Surf Air Tradewind, Verijet, VistaJet, Wheels Up and more.
Can You Book a Seat?
When you charter a private jet, you don’t book a seat. You book the entire plane. Prices might be fixed, as with a taxi service, or dynamic, in which flying at peak times comes at an extra cost. If you want to charter a plane more than once, there are also many jet cards available.
However, some charter companies permit passengers to book on a seat-by-basis. Travel agencies sometimes book charter flights to destination cities, like Las Vegas, or for special travel packages (to the Super Bowl, for instance) and sell tickets by the seat.
Jet cards are debit-style travel programs that give you access to jet charters, usually at fixed rates. Depending on the program you choose, you’ll either pay a membership fee to join, then pay for flights as you go, or deposit an amount directly onto your jet card, which will be debited as you fly.
Private Jet Maintenance Expenses
Regular maintenance is built into the costs of private jet ownership. Jets have many complicated parts that endure extreme pressure and temperature changes. Routine inspections ensure continued safety and extend the jet’s life cycle.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and aircraft manufacturers have rigid schedules for mandated maintenance and upgrades. Most jets require an annual inspection. In addition, hired jets undergo additional inspections for every 100 hours of flight time. Pilots are also trained to inspect their aircraft before each flight.
A jet’s avionics — electronic equipment specific to aircraft — and turbine engines must be inspected and certified regularly. Major maintenance happens on a longer scale. After 1,200 hours in the air, the engines of private jets require more thorough inspections. Landing gear should be replaced after 5,000 landings, according to jet charter service, The Early Air Way. Depending on the repair, maintenance can cost between $500,000 to $1 million annually, according to Mayo Aviation.
A private jet is an asset worth protecting. Insurance covers liability or liability plus physical damage, which gives coverage to pay for replacement parts.range from $10,000 to $500,000 per year, depending on liability limits requested and other factors, according to the aviation publication Flying.
Private Jet Operational Costs
Besides the purchase price, annual maintenance charges and insurance fees, private jets have regular operating costs. They include the price of fuel, salaries for pilots and wages for the crew, onboard food and supplies and airport landing and hangar fees.
These costs vary depending on the size of the jet and the time it spends in the air for a trip. For instance, operating costs for a Cessna Citation carrying 7 passengers are almost $2,000 an hour. In contrast, operating costs for a Bombardier Global 7500 carrying 19 passengers start at $3,500 per hour.
What To Consider Before Buying a Private Jet
The full cost of a private jet goes well beyond its purchase price. If you fly over 150 hours yearly, the convenience, privacy and time saved by a private jet can add up to increased productivity that offsets the overall jet costs.
Fractional ownership is another alternative. Similar to timeshare real estate ownership, fractional ownership allows you to buy shares in an aircraft according to how much time you want to spend flying. This can run anywhere from 50 to 800 hours each year. The company that owns the plane takes care of all the operational and maintenance obligations.
Putting These Costs Into Perspective
There’s no getting around the fact that traveling by private jet is expensive. With hourly rates ranging from $2,000 to $15,000, even chartering a private jet is costly.
For comparison, the cost for a round-trip flight from Chicago to Paris in Delta One luxury class is ranged from $8,000 to $13,000 in early 2022, according to the airline. The smallest private jets with the lowest hourly rates can’t fly the nine hours it takes to cross that distance, but the largest can. At $15,000/hour, a private jet would cost $135,000 for the same trip.
Of course, that $135,000 would include up to 18 other passengers and the added benefit of departing at your convenience. In addition, you and your party have complete comfort and privacy and are separated from the airport crowds.
How Long Would It Take to Afford a Private Jet?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median salary for U.S. households was $70,784 in 2021. Adjusted for 2023, that amount is $78,150. The Bureau of Economic Analysis puts the 2023 savings rate — the percentage the average household can save after all expenses — at 4.7%, and 4.7% of $78,150 is $3,126.
At that rate, it would take the average American decades to save enough money to purchase a private jet without an unexpected windfall of some sort. But chartering a jet for a special occasion is within the realm of possibility.
How To Finance a Private Jet
If you want to finance the purchase of a private jet, you must consider down payment requirements, interest rates and any tax implications for personal or business spending. Like cars, jets depreciate immediately, which can impact your tax deductions.
However, if you don’t want to tie up all the capital involved in owning a private jet, there are other options.
If you think you might want a private jet on a more regular basis than a charter would allow, leasing is another alternative. Leases run for a specific period, such as six months or a year, and are dry (meaning you rent the aircraft but not the crew, insurance, maintenance or pilots, or wet (in which extras and obligations are included). When the lease is over, you can renew or simply walk away.
Leasing a jet is more complicated than leasing a car, but the process is not entirely dissimilar. This is a good option if you only need a private jet for a short period, or want to experiment before committing to purchase.
If you are certain you want a private jet and do not already have all the funds ready, you will need to secure a loan from lenders who specialize in aviation loans and financing, as the limits to personal finance loans are much too low for private jets. Major banks usually have an aviation arm and aircraft brokers can direct you to financiers.