If you or your company fly frequently, it might make sense to use a private jet. You can charter a flight or buy a plane, how how do you decide which is the best option? What kind of private jet costs are you looking at?
Here is a breakdown of what you can expect to pay.
What Does it Mean to Charter a Plane?
A chartered flight is an “unscheduled” trip that isn’t part of a commercial airline schedule. When you book commercial flights, you are given a listing of times. They may be non-stop or have one or more layovers.
With charter flights, you basically “rent” the plane, similar to how you might rent a car. This might be a one-time occurrence or something you do on a regular basis, such as monthly corporate meetings.
Advantages of chartering a flight:
- More flexibility in terms of when/where you depart
- No waiting in lines at the airport
- No security screenings
- No luggage fees
- No having to wait at a luggage carousel
- Show up when it’s time to board the flight, not two hours earlier
- Depart when and where you want
Chartering a plane is all about convenience. However, you are not responsible for shouldering the costs of owning a jet.
Types of Charter Flights
You may need to charter a jet for personal or business purposes. No matter the purpose, there are four main categories of charter flights.
1. Private Charter
A private jet charter (aka air charter) is when you or a company rent an entire aircraft versus buying seats through a commercial airline. The flight could be for an individual or a group, depending on the size of the jet.
It is possible to charter flights for up to 100 passengers using regional or VIP airlines.
2. Single Entity Charter
A single entity charter means an individual or company covers the costs associated with the flight. Those costs can be split amongst everyone on the trip at some point, but the initial payment will be charged to one specific person or entity (company).
3. Public Charter
Air carriers sometimes offer public charter flights on a limited basis. These flights might be seasonal in nature or for special occasions. They are common in Europe for times when people go on holiday.
For instance, travelers in the UK and Germany frequently book public charters to places like Sicily, Sardinia, Malta, and Palma de Mallorca. Tour companies often rent the aircraft and then sell seats directly or via travel agents.
4. Affinity Charter
With affinity flights, the passengers are with a single business, group or organization. Unlike a regular private charter, everyone pays for the seats individually. For instance, a group might charter a flight for a sports event like the Super Bowl or college championship game.
Private Jet Costs for Charter Flights
Chartering a jet can cost anywhere from $1,200 to $10,000 per billable flight hour. The cost is based on the size of the jet (which can range from small turboprop planes luxury business jets, as well as fuel charges, airport fees, crew expenses, and taxes.
- Billable flight time – Rate based on the number of hours of the flight.
- Fuel surcharge – Fuel costs vary based on the type of plane, the distance of the flight, and the cost of the fuel.
- Crew fees – Per diem payment that cover the flight crew’s time and expenses such as hotel and meal charges.
- Landing, handling & incidental fees – These are fees charged by airports. The fees vary based on the type of plane, location of the airport, and other factors.
- Federal Excise Tax (FET) – Domestic flights come with a 7.5% tax on top of all other charges.
Here is an example of the cost for a chartered flight from Los Angeles, California to Aspen, Colorado.
- Flight Time – 2.5 hours (each way)
- Plane type – Midsize jet
- Hourly rate – $3,400
- Duration – 2 Days /1 Night
- Flight time (5 hours) = $17,000
- Fuel surcharge = $550
- Crew fees = $750
Subtotal = $18,900
Federal Excise Tax (7.5%) = $1,417.50
Total = $20,317.50
Obviously, the biggest factor in the cost is flight time. The further you need to fly, the higher the cost. A larger jet will obviously cost more.
Pricing Based on Plane Type
Charter flights can take place on almost any size aircraft, from a small turboprop plane all the way up to a heavy jet. Let’s go over the categories and ballpark costs for each type.
- Passengers = 6-8
- Average ballpark hourly rate = $1,200 = $1,800
Examples = Pilatus PC12
Very Light Jet:
- Passengers = 4-5
- Average hourly rate = $1,500 = $2,250
Examples: Citation Mustang, Eclipse EA500, Honda Jet, Phenom 100
- Passengers = 5-8
- Average hourly rate = $2,200 – $3,000
Examples: Beechjet 400A, Hawker 400XP, Citation Jets, Learjet 31A, Premier I
- Passengers = 7-9
- Average hourly rate = $2,800 – 3,800
Examples: Citation VII, Gulfstream G-150, Hawker 750, Learjet 60XR
- Passengers = 8-10
- Average hourly rate = $3,800 – $5,000
Examples: Challenger 300/350, Citation Latitude, Falcon 50, Gulfstream G-200, Hawker 1000/4000
- Passengers = 10-16
- Average hourly rate = $5,000 – 8,000
Examples: Gulfstream G-IV
Should You Buy A Private Plane?
Should you buy a private jet? Answering that question really comes down to your situation. Mainly, how often do you fly and what are the costs of buying a private jet?
If you fly frequently, it might actually make sense to have your own plane. You will avoid the hourly rates and fees associated with charter flights.
If you average 200 hours of flight time every year, buying a jet might be smart. However, aircraft brokers who sell fractional ownership might say it’s more like 400 – 600 hours in the air every year.
Fractional ownership means an individual or company owns a percentage of an asset. The concept is similar to how vacation timeshares work. Shares of ownership are sold to individuals, who agree to share the usage and income in exchange for priority access.
How Much Does a Private Jet Cost?
Private jets can cost anywhere from $3 million to $90 million. Ownership also comes with ongoing expenses such as flight crew salaries and expenses, hanger rental fees, and insurance costs.
You will also face ongoing and unexpected costs associated with regular upkeep and emergency repairs. A blown tire can cost $2,000 – $3,000 to replace. Engine parts or systems will cost much more to repair or replace.
The type of travel might be a factor when considering chartering vs. buying. If you have a lot of one-way flights, you’ll end up paying to send the plane back to your home base each time.
If you plan to stay in the location for several days or weeks, you will have to pay travel and other expenses for your crew the whole time.
Is It Time To Charter Or Buy A Jet?
If you travel frequently for business or personal reasons, it might be time to think about chartering or buying a private jet. There are certain private jet costs associated with both, so you need to review your needs and budget. Contact us today to discuss your options.