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How Much Does a Private Jet Cost?

How Much Does a Private Jet Cost?
Austin Kilham
Austin KilhamUpdated May 25, 2023
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Sitting on a crowded commercial flight is enough to make anyone dream of traveling on their own private jet. But if you hope to make that vision a reality, it helps to have deep pockets. Private jets can cost millions of dollars to buy. However, there are ways to take advantage of private jet travel that are more affordable. Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about buying a private jet; how to finance a private jet; and less expensive ways to fly privately. 

Average Costs to Buy a New Private Jet

How much to buy a private jet?, you might be asking. Buying a private jet that’s new typically costs between $1 million and $90 million, depending on the model and size of the aircraft, the number of passengers the jet can hold, the distance it can fly, and even the trim level used to deck out the interior. In addition to the jet’s purchase price, you’ll need to pay for ongoing expenses, such as fuel, the crew, maintenance, and storage. You may be able to take out a loan to help with these costs.  

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing

If you’re lucky enough to be in the market for a private jet, and it fits your budget, consider the following factors before you buy. 
  • Type of travel you do: How often do you fly and how far do you typically go? Unless you fly very frequently, and considering how much to buy a private jet is, you may want to explore alternatives to purchasing your own plane. For instance, you could lease a private jet. 
  • Crew: Crew members for a jet, including pilots, can cost $215,000 or more per year. The number of crew members you’ll need depends on the jet size. You may want to carefully consider whether you have the kind of discretionary income to cover this type of cost.
  • Fuel: Larger jets require more fuel, which increases hourly fuel costs. The average cost of jet fuel was $3.28 a gallon in early 2023, and a private jet can consume anywhere from 50 to more than 600 gallons per hour. 
  • Maintenance: Maintaining a private jet and keeping it running smoothly usually costs between $500,000 and $1 million per year.  
  • Insurance: You’ll need private jet insurance to cover liability and medical, as well hull coverage (for any damage to the jet). Minimum liability coverage is generally $1 million in damages and $100,000 per passenger. The cost of private jet insurance can start at $10,000 a year.
  • Airport clearance: Clearance fees are charged for use of airports, and vary by airport and the weight of the aircraft. 
  • Storage: You’ll have to park your aircraft someplace safe when you’re not using it. Storage costs can run thousands of dollars a month. 
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Types of Private Jets

There are eight categories of private jets, including light jets, super-light jets, mid-size jets, super-midsize jets, heavy jets, ultra long-range jets, and airliners. Smaller jets tend to have shorter flying ranges and hold fewer passengers. Light jets, for example, might have a range of 1,200 miles and a passenger capacity of four to seven people. By comparison airliner jets may be large enough to have multiple rooms and be able to seat nearly 50 people, depending how the cabin is designed. 

Used Jets Can Be a Budget Friendly Alternative

Rather than buying a brand-new aircraft for millions of dollars, you may be able to purchase a used jet for less than $1 million. Just keep in mind that a used jet might not be equipped with the most up-to-date technologies, and it may have wear and tear that needs to be addressed and repaired. 

Alternatives to Buying a Personal Jet

You need to use a private jet for at least 100 flight hours annually to make owning it worth the cost, according to experts. If you fly less than that, there are other, less expensive alternatives to consider spending your savings on instead.

Charter a Plane

When you charter a plane, you rent the aircraft. There are four types of aircraft charter to choose from:
  • Single entity charters — a person or entity rents out an entire aircraft 
  • Public charters — a person or company rents out an entire aircraft and then sells seats to the general public 
  • Affinity charters — these may be organized by a group, and the members pay for their airfare individually 
  • Special event tours — public charters that are booked to carry a group to a special event, such as a concert or sporting event
Chartering a small private jet that holds up to six passengers generally costs between $1,300 and $3,000 an hour. 

Book a Seat on a Private Jet

Jet sharing is an increasingly common way to fly private without purchasing your own jet. There are a number of options available, including buying a seat on an already scheduled flight. You can purchase seats through private jet operators.

Private Jet Memberships

You could also join a membership program that allows you to share a jet for a fee with other members who belong to the program. Some private jet memberships allow you to pay a monthly fee (the fee is $3,000 a month for one such program) and fly as much as you want.  

Find Empty Leg Discounted Flights

Empty leg flights are the return flights private jets make after taking passengers on a one-way trip. You can often book these flights at a discounted rate because they would otherwise be flying empty.

Download an App

There are a number of apps that allow you to book private jet travel from your phone. They include UberJets; XO, which offers private jet service between New York and South Florida, NetJets; Wheels Up; Sentient Jet, which is carbon and emissions neutral; and JetASAP, which links users to 700 charter operators. Recommended: 12 Types of Personal Loans: Pros and Cons of Each

How to Finance a Private Jet

Can you finance a private jet? Yes! In fact, if you decide that buying a private jet is the right option for you, there are several private jet financing options available. Private Jet Loans: Certain lenders specialize in and offer private jet financing. There may be benefits to working with a lender who understands the private jet market specifically. In-house financing: Some private jet companies offer loans directly to buyers that you repay in installments. Because you don’t have to go to a separate lender for financing, the process may be more convenient, but the loan rates and terms with in-house financing may not be as beneficial as those you might get elsewhere.Personal loans: You could take out a personal loan to finance a private jet purchase. With a private loan, you borrow a lump sum and repay it over time in monthly installments. Personal loans are available in a variety of amounts, from small personal loans to large loans up to $100,000.The loan size and interest rate you qualify for will largely depend on your credit. The higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate you may get. You can compare top personal loans to find the best one.Leasing: Finally, you could opt to lease a private jet rather than buying one outright. Leases for private jets are typically available for one to five years. You pay a monthly fee, just like you do when leasing a car.

The Takeaway

A private jet may be the most luxurious way to travel, but buying your own will likely cost you millions of dollars. And then there’s the ongoing expense of maintaining, staffing, and fueling it. Unless you fly very frequently, a private jet may not be worth the high price tag. More cost-effective options might be to lease a private jet, participate in jet sharing, or join a private jet membership program. If you determine, however, that buying a private jet is the right choice for your circumstances, a personal loan could benefit you by helping you finance the price of the jet and/or the cost of its upkeep. Lantern can help you find a personal loan that fits your needs. In our online marketplace, you can quickly and easily compare offers from multiple lenders all at once to find the best rates and terms.

Frequently Asked Questions

How wealthy should you be to own a private jet?
Can you lease a private jet?
What is the lifespan of a private jet?
Can you make money with a private jet?
Photo credit: iStock/Timothy McKay

About the Author

Austin Kilham

Austin Kilham

Austin Kilham is a writer and journalist based in Los Angeles. He focuses on personal finance, retirement, business, and health care with an eye toward helping others understand complex topics.
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