Even with private jets becoming more accessible, new private planes cost anywhere from $3 million for a small seven-passenger Cirrus Vision to $660 million for an Air Force One. The purchase price is far from the only cost involved — you’ll also have to factor in maintenance, fuel and staff salary. Before you start shopping, get the full scope on what a private jet costs and how to pay for one.
How much does it cost to buy a private jet?
If you’re thinking about buying a private jet, you can pick between brand-new planes and used ones. A new jet will afford you the most up-to-date tech, but the older amenities of a used jet cause a lower price point.
There are different types of jets, ranging from small six-seater, low-range planes to larger airliners able to fly long distances. The most common jet options available include:
- Very light jets: The smallest option for private jets, these planes can hold between four and seven guests and can fly up to about three hours. Prices start at $1.5 million and can go as high as $5.5 million, depending on the type.
- Light jets: A little bigger than the very light jets but still compact, these jets carry up to eight passengers and can hold a bathroom. Light jets range from about $900,000 to almost $6 million to buy.
- Midsize business jets: With a capacity of about five hours of travel at a time, midsize business jets work well for both short and mid-range flights. Midsize jets also have more storage space, a larger cabin typically holding between five and ten passengers and a crew including two pilots and a flight attendant. Prices range from $9.9 million to $20 million.
- Super mid jets: The space and flight range go up for super mid jets, and they can travel faster than the smaller planes. These planes cost anywhere from $5.4 million to 26.7 million to buy new.
- Heavy business jets: These have a significant amount of more space, holding at least ten passengers and boasting features such as pull-out tabletops and fully-equipped kitchens. Heavy business jet prices start at around $27 million and can be as high as $39 million.
- Ultra-long range heavy jets: Jets like these hold enough space to act as flying hotel rooms. With full-size beds and lots of room to stretch out, they can hold up to 17 passengers and travel up to 6,500 miles. On average, you can expect to pay $35 million to $62 million for an ultra-long-range heavy jet.
- Airliners: The most luxurious and largest option for private jets, airliners may have features like a full bathroom or a cocktail lounge on board. They can also travel more than ten hours in one trip. Airliners are also the priciest option, with different models costing anywhere from $418.4 million to $500 million.
Prices can also differ based on what amenities and customization you choose for the plane. Plan owners can choose custom furniture, personalized decor and even different rooms.
New private jets
The price for a brand-new private jet ranges from $3 million to $660 million. The price is determined by many factors, including the size, maker, range, customization and what the jet offers, like the engines and avionics.
Used private jets
Though secondhand jets are cheaper, they still cost millions of dollars. For perspective, a pre-owned 2019 G600 S/N 73008 sold for over $54 million on the Gulfstream website in June 2022. With extras and customization, the price can soar to hundreds of millions of dollars.
How much does it cost to maintain a private jet?
The purchase price of a private jet represents only a fraction of the cost of owning one. The price of a private jet depends on its size, the number of passengers it can hold and the distance it can fly. Because of that, fuel is one of the highest costs for private jets. Planes with larger fuel tanks for long-range flights require more fuel. For example, the Bombardier Global 7500 has a fuel capacity of over 51,000 pounds.
Aside from fuel, you’ll need to consider costs like staffing your plane, storing it when you’re not using it and ongoing maintenance. Operating costs differ based on the type and size of crew and what kind of service they offer. Some jet owners hire personal chefs to fly with them and serve meals on board. A site like Aircraft Cost Calculator can help you determine your costs based on the model you’re considering.
How much does it cost to charter a private jet?
While a private jet rental is considerably more expensive than flying on a commercial flight, it is still much cheaper than buying your own jet. Flights on private jets are charged by the hour. Prices vary depending on the size of the plane, the length of the flight and the number of people on board. The typical cost is between $1,200 and $12,000 per hour to charter a private jet. A private jet rental for an entire weekend can run at least $50,000.
However, those prices aren’t the whole story. The price can vary dramatically by season or the route. According to Doug Gollan, founder of Private Jet Card Comparisons, the typical hourly costs providers list don’t include repositioning charges. “You also have to factor in the cost of flying the plane empty to pick you up and then back to its base after it drops you off,” Gollman said.
Unless you spend at least 150 hours a year flying, a private jet rental is probably a better option than buying — that way, you avoid many of the yearly maintenance fees private jets cost you.
“With on-demand charter, you don’t incur costs such as hangar fees, maintenance fees, crew salaries, insurance, depreciation, interest, not to mention the cost of tying up capital in a multimillion-dollar asset,” says Justin Crabbe, CEO of private jet charter company Jettly. “Less than 100 flight hours per year, the math is quite clear that chartering is much more cost-effective than owning an aircraft outright.”
How much does it cost to book a seat on a private jet?
According to Crabbe, private jets usually have about six seats for a “light” flight. To find out the cost of a seat, you need to find the hourly rate of the aircraft, the total flight time and how many seats are on board.
For instance, a six-seat jet that’s $5,000 an hour — or $15,000 for a three-hour flight — would cost each seat about $2,500.
While this cost could be much higher or lower depending on the company, it shows you the difference between flying on a private jet and a commercial flight. For bookers who prefer first or business class, it might not seem much different to go on a private jet. But for commercial flyers in economy, this price might seem very high. It depends on the type of flyer you are.
Private jet card membership
Private jet card memberships are services that allow you to access and benefit from your provider’s aircraft. Different companies offer different levels and tiers of membership. “Jet card” or “jet membership” is a marketing term, so you should pay attention to how the pricing works.
The three types of pricing are:
- Dynamic pricing: This is when prices go up and down depending on the circumstances. Your trip’s cost will depend on various factors, and the price will vary. “Each trip has to be priced – and it will vary – how far in advance you call, where you are going, and when. Also, if you need to cancel and rebook, the price will change,” Gollan said.
- Fixed pricing: This is typically listed as an hourly rate, but some routes also have fixed options. The prices will vary depending on the type of aircraft you choose. The prices won’t change depending on the time of year or other factors like it would with dynamic pricing.
- Capped pricing: With this option, you won’t pay more than a certain amount per hour on your flight.
Make sure to pay attention to daily and segment minimum pricing to get the most accurate price for your trip. For example, if the daily minimum is two hours but your flight is shorter than that, you will still pay for two hours. You also want to check if there are surcharges to fly to certain areas.
The biggest advantage of jet memberships with fixed or capped hourly rates is that you generally don’t have to pay expensive repositioning costs. Programs will generally charge you for estimated flight time or actual flight time plus time for taxiing and any additional fees.
These memberships also give you guaranteed availability. You don’t have to worry about a flight not being available when you need it.
There are over 60 options with jet cards and memberships. Some of the major players include:
- Jet Edge
- Nicholas Air
- Sentient Jet
- Wheels Up
For near-constant flyers, a jet membership might seem like a great perk. You get to fly when you want without having to manage the extra costs of owning a jet. But if you’re only flying a couple of times a year, the upfront costs might not be worth it.
Private jet apps
A private jet app is similar to a regular flight booking app, where you put in where you’re leaving from, where you’re going and your travel dates and get matched with private jet booking options.
Most of the time, unless the jet company itself operates the app, these apps are estimated pricing. It allows the broker to get emails for future marketing. After you put in the information, you then go through getting hard quotes before you can pay for and book your flight.
You might need to create a login, but this lets you sign up for notifications and deals. Membership isn’t always required, but for some companies, it might get you an additional discount.
Empty-leg flights are planes that are leaving a destination without any passengers. These flights are open to everyone, since the jet is set to fly with or without passengers. And booking these jets can save you some cash — sometimes up to 75 percent on the cost of a conventional private jet charter, Crabbe says.
Many private jet companies and apps let you search for empty-leg flights and sign up for notifications to alert you when one is at an airport near you.
This lets you book a private jet at a fraction of its original cost, but you need to be extremely flexible. You might get notice of an empty leg flight only 24 to 48 hours before it’s set to leave, although some flights are available a few days from when you search. You’ll also need to find your way back. Empty leg flights are just that: one leg of the journey.
Can you afford a private jet?
Before you buy or charter a private jet, it’s important to evaluate the factors that influence the full price tag of a jet. Think ahead to the types of trips you want to take and the frequency at which you’ll take them; long trips with many people will likely require a more expensive plane than shorter, infrequent trips. When determining the overall cost of a jet, also make sure to factor in things like fuel, insurance, storage and maintenance.
When considering whether you can afford a private jet, think through these factors:
- How many people will fly: Is your plane for you and a buddy or is it how you plan to travel with your family? The number of people on the aircraft will determine the size of the plane you’ll have to look for. The more people you need to fit into your plane, the costlier it could be compared to a smaller plane fit for a couple of people.
- How often you will fly it: Some planes are good for quick getaways and others are made for longer trips. Take into consideration when you plan to use your plane. If you think you’ll use it every few months, you might fly a different type of aircraft than someone who flies every weekend.
- Where you want to fly: Are you on the East Coast and hitting the Bahamas? Are you in California and want to head up to the Pacific Northwest? Shorter trips mean using an aircraft with a smaller fuel tank. If you’re heading overseas or on a trip with many stops, consider getting a plane with greater fuel capacity.
- If you’re buying new or used: The cost of a brand-new plane might be higher than that of a used plane. However, the model and size of the plane also determine the cost. In general, older planes cost significantly less than newer ones, although keep in mind any additional maintenance, insurance or upkeep costs.
- The number of staff members on board: You will also have to factor in the cost of hiring pilots and flight attendants, whether you’re buying or chartering your jet. According to Aviation Voice, you’ll have to budget upward of $215,000 annually for a skilled crew. You can find a crew through an aircraft management company or the company chartering your jet.
- How much maintenance you’ll need: In addition to fuel costs and flight crew salaries, you’ll need to budget for regular — and sometimes unexpected — maintenance expenses. A cracked windshield or a mechanical issue can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and that price may be higher for older models. Minor maintenance should be performed regularly, just like with a vehicle.
How can you finance a private jet?
If you purchase a private jet, determine how you want to pay for it. Very few people can afford the cost of a jet in full, so it’s possible that you’ll have to borrow money.
With a personal loan, you can borrow money from a bank or credit union to pay for the jet up front, then repay the loan over time. However, getting a personal loan for a private jet is much more difficult than getting one for a new car. Even the cheapest private jets can cost millions of dollars, and only select lenders will approve a loan for that much money.
If you approach a bank for a private jet loan, ensure you have a great credit score and a solid financial history. You can also look into getting a secured personal loan, which would require you to put down a valuable asset, such as your home. If you can’t repay your loan, the lender will be able to legally seize your asset.
Some lenders cater specifically to loans for private jet financing, including JetLoan Capital, JetLease Capital and Global Jet Capital. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association also offers an online loan financing calculator to help estimate your monthly payments.
If you’re not quite ready to purchase a private jet, consider leasing, which has many of the same benefits as owning a private jet. Leasing a private jet is similar to leasing a new car, with the option to sign a lease from several months to several years. Most aircraft companies allow you to choose between a few different types of leases:
- Wet lease: The lessor pays for the aircraft itself and at least one crew member. Wet leases are a more expensive option because of the added cost of paying for pilot or crew member services.
- Dry lease: The lessor pays for the aircraft without the cost of a crew but is required to use their own crew members. This is a cheaper option if the lessor already has a pilot and crew member they can hire for flights.
Leasing a private jet is also a great way to test out different aircraft before fully investing in purchasing one. And because lessors don’t legally own the aircraft, they don’t have to deal with depreciation or reselling the plane if they decide to purchase a new one.
Where can you buy a private jet?
If you’ve decided on owning a plane over chartering one and have figured out the type of plane you want, there are a few places you can browse through selections:
While many websites let you browse for planes near you, you can also do a broad search of private jets in your area. Some sellers don’t list their planes on all websites, and you may have more luck reaching out to individual owners through businesses or marketplaces.
If you have a specific model in mind, some companies like Gulfstream advertise pre-owned aircraft on their websites.
The bottom line
Buying a private jet is incredibly expensive. While owning a private jet may be out of your price range, there are many ways to fly private if that’s what you want. Think about renting a private jet or becoming a member of private jet services that allow you to fly multiple times a month or year as a member.
If you do decide to purchase a private jet, you may be able to get a personal loan from a reputable bank or explore your options with aircraft-specific lenders. As you would with any loan, shop around and get quotes from multiple providers to ensure you get the best deal possible.