From humble light jets with less than 5 feet of cabin height to bizliners with massive conference rooms, multiple seating arrangements, and bedrooms, there is a lot of variety in the private jet world. Consequently, there is a need to demarcate them into classes and types so that there is a better definition of the whole system. The world of jets is wide-ranging not only in features but in price as well, with light jets coming in at about a few million and the most expensive costing their rich owners many hundreds of millions.
The trick to choosing your ideal jet is to know exactly what you need. Do you travel often over the Atlantic between the US and Europe? If yes, then you need a jet with a transatlantic range. These are jets that can fly over the entirety of the vast Atlantic Ocean without the need to be refueled. Asking yourself these questions will really help you to zoom in on a certain mission profile and then you can select jets that fit that profile and buy or charter them.
Very light jets
The smallest jets available, these have the big advantage of being extremely cost-effective and fuel-efficient. This is due to the fact that these smaller jets have a significantly lower burn rate than bigger jets and also require minimal staff to operate. In fact, these jets only require a single pilot to operate. This means that you can enjoy the unique pleasure of commandeering your own aircraft all on your own without anyone else required to be present in the cabin. Generally, the passenger capacity can variate between 4 to 7 people depending on the aircraft and what seating configuration has been selected. Some examples of the jets in this class are the Eclipse 500, HondaJet HA-420, and the fan-favorite Embraer Phenom 100. The fly range is understandably low, with even the most advanced aircraft in this class clocking in a shade below 1300 nautical miles. You can still expect most of the creature comforts that are standard for private jets such as a lavatory, snacks and refreshments, and work/dining tables. These features are either optional or dependent on the jet that you are chartering. Generally, very light jets will cost anything between $1.5 million to $3.5 million. The charter cost can be expected to be around $2200 per hour.
Small light jets
Small light jets occupy the space right above light jets and can be considered to be more of a boosted version of them. They can seat up to 8 people which is also more than the average very light jet that can seat around 6 people. However, the real upgrade is in the range department, with the range standing at an impressive 2400 nautical miles for the most advanced jets in this class. One of the biggest pluses of small light jets is that although they can still easily access smaller airports with short runways, they are still able to seat more people quite comfortably so. The vast majority of the aircraft in this class have a lavatory on board as well. Some examples of jets in this class include the Hawker 400 XP, Cessna Citation CJ2, and the Dassault Falcon 10. The baggage capacity is also a decent bit higher with the Cessna Citation CJ2 having a class-leading capacity of 74 cubic feet. Other features that the Citation CJ2 has is the leather interior, and a galley adjacent to a refreshment bar as well. In fact, the CJ2 will cost its buyer nearly $3 million to buy new.
Super light jets
The biggest subclass in the light jet class, super light jets push the envelope far while still being constrained by the size requirements of the light jet class. It is one of the subclasses that have the most competitive with the excellent Gulfstream G100, the Embraer Phenom 300, and the Citation XLS all being a part of this class. What is even most astonishing is that the Phenom 300 is the fastest single piloted aircraft in the world, making it quite the marvel of engineering. The Gulfstream G100 is definitely the class-leading product in terms of the sheer levels of comfort and luxury available. The cherry on top is the 2550 miles of nautical range. This is where prices also start to increase exponentially, with the Embraer Phenom 300 costing around $9 million new. In fact, the Gulfstream G100 used to retail for $12 million when it was new before ending production in 2006. Moreover, the Citation XLS sold new in 2019 for a staggering $13 million. The charter costs are also quite sizable as well, with most jets in this class costing around $3200 per hour in terms of charter cost.
In many ways, this is where it starts to get serious. One of the most significant upgrades is the overall increase in terms of cabin size, with passengers almost being able to walk upright. The passenger capacity is also upped to 10 passengers depending on the multiple seating configurations that are generally offered in this class. For jets of this size, there are generally 2 pilots as well as a flight attendant who is at the service of the charterers of the jet throughout the journey. Bear in mind that the greater number of staff required to operate the jet comes with the added cost of salaries and overnight cost of the staff itself. Some of the jets in this class include the Gulfstream G150, Cessna Citation Latitude, and the Learjet 60. The range generally tops around 2800 nautical so interstate travel in the US is very comfortably achieved. The baggage capacity nearly doubles to 130 cubic feet depending on the aircraft that is selected. This category is able to offer the best of both worlds when it comes to offering various amenities and features in a package that is still relatively affordable. The Cessna Citation Latitude for example can be bought new for less than $20 million in 2022.
Super Midsize Jets
The headline feature of this class is the larger ranges that come with it, with the best in this class being able to cover 3200 nautical miles without needing refueling. They can fly non-stop for 7 hours all while being able to provide a level of comfort and luxury that you will be fast asleep early in the 7-hour journey that you can undertake in this jet class. Some of the examples in this class include the Gulfstream G200, Cessna Citation Sovereign, and the Bombardier Challenger 350. The Citation Sovereign is a particularly impressive aircraft, with the ability to seat 12 people at once. It is also equipped with a private vanity lavatory as well as a centerline closet. On the other hand, the G200 is no slouch either. The 3200 nautical miles of range is frankly very impressive as well as the vast customization options available in terms of the many cabin layouts that are available to the buyer. This comes with a pretty high cost as well, with the G200 costing $23 million when it was new in 2011. Considering the effects of inflation, had this jet been produced new in 2022, it would be a decent chunk more expensive.
This is where the levels of luxury and the features offered on-board start to touch levels of luxury that are going to blow your mind. These heavy jets can easily offer enough work for two flight attendants with the two pilots commandeering your flying limo to its location. Some of the most popular jets in this class include the Dassault Falcon 900, Gulfstream 350 and the Bombardier Challenger 605. The Falcon 900 deserves a special mention, with a cabin arrangement that offers 19 people at once. It is able to channel its military aircraft sensibilities inherited from its parent company into a package that is extremely tempting for anyone looking for an aircraft in this class. The Bombardier 605 has a layout that has an entire divan fitted into the spacious aircraft. Obviously, these features don’t come for cheap. The Falcon 900 used to cost nearly $40 million before being discontinued nearly 20 years ago. Its popularity still persists to this day though. Overall, this is the class where we have firmly entered billionaire territory. If you are able to afford to outright buy aircraft in this class alone, then you probably bought stock in Microsoft at the right time!
Ultra-Long-Range Heavy Jets
Imagine your favorite tech entrepreneur, chances are that they are sporting a jet of this class as well. The biggest plus of these jets is that they have incredibly long ranges which means that they are generally employed by billionaire businessmen who need a lot of space for their entourages to travel. The Bombardier Global 6000 has the ability to carry 19 passengers for nearly 6000 nautical miles. Intercontinental travel is easily possible in these aircraft. However, the real value is in the sheer levels of luxury in these aircraft. The Gulfstream V has four distinct living zones inside of it, with a full-sized galley as well as separate lavatories for the crew and passengers. It also doesn’t hurt that it has 6250 nautical miles of range as well. The only real downside of these jets is simply the cost itself. You can only think of buying a Gulfstream V if you are ready to have a $61.5 million-sized hole in your bank account. Even used examples will cost you in excess of $20 million!
If ultra-long-range heavy jets can be considered as houses on wings, Bizliners are certainly the mansions of the sky. Generally used by large corporate setups and sports teams who have a large entourage to transport, they cost in the hundreds of millions. In many ways, they try to recreate an entire office in the expanse of the aircraft itself, with amenities such as entire conference rooms available. A great example is the A380 used by the Spanish sports team Real Madrid. Valued at over 340 million pounds, the jet has showers and even personal sinks so that the players can focus on their game while leaving everything else to the jet itself. In fact, there is a personal minibar for each player as well. All of this comes due to the sponsorship deal with Fly Emirates who not only pay Real Madrid 62 million pounds for the sheer privilege of the shirts donning a Fly Emirate logo but also give them use of this magnificent aircraft. -These aircraft in general can seat nearly 50 people and other competitors in this industry include the Boeing BBJ and the Boeing B747-8.
When the Wright Brothers made flight accessible to man, few would have known that it would birth the private aircraft industry that would be valued at billions of dollars today. Competition is high with makers like Gulfstream, Embraer, and Cessna giving each other competition on multiple levels. The direct consequence of that is that this industry often finds itself on the absolute edge of innovation and experimentation. Razor-thin differences can end up meaning a whole class apart in this industry. From humble Cessnas to the goliaths that are the Airbuses, there is a large range of aircraft in this industry. Naturally, the large costs of these aircraft mean that most customers end up going for the charter option or the fractional ownership option which allows them to own a stake in an aircraft with other people. This can divide the initial cost as well the hefty fixed costs of the staff. Regardless, from a kid having a wallpaper of a Gulfstream V to a billionaire outright owning one, everyone buys into the private jet dream at some level.