When it comes to unabated images of luxury that seem to stop at no end, heavy jets are the king of the hill. Generally used by billionaire businessmen, CEOs of large companies, and royalty around the world, heavy jets are the pinnacle of private air travel. In many ways, heavy jets stand completely apart from light and medium jets. This particular notion is reflected in the price tag of heavy jets as well, with this bracket starting off with $30 million as a lower bound and an upper bound that is hard to determine because there simply doesn’t seem to be any. There are private jets that are essentially commercial airplanes converted for private use that have cost their owners over half a billion in total. The Airbus A340-300 cost its owner Alisher Usmanov over $500 million in total. The staggering numbers don’t stop there. Its range is over 13000 km, which means that it could take the owner from Eastern Europe (Moscow) to the Far East (Tokyo) without breaking a sweat.
The numbers game
When you start to approach the $30 million+ mark in private jets, the numbers start to almost seem mind boggling. The specifications sheets of these jets are at the absolute cutting edge of aviation, luxury, and design. Some of the best interior designers in the world provide their services to adorn the inside of these jets with the perfect elements that the customer wants. Custom configurations are the norm in this class and entire bedrooms and boardrooms are constructed to the precise specifications of the clients that the jet is being delivered to. It is a very broad category, so it is pertinent to divide it into subsections at first. Heavy jets can essentially be divided into 3 categories: large jets, long-range jets, and VIP jets.
Large Jets are generally able to transport about 13-14 people at once and have ranges in excess of 4000 nautical miles. You can expect to pay an average of $32 million for these behemoths armed with the latest and greatest in modern technology. The Gulfstream 500, a fan favorite, has a range of over 5000 nautical miles. Fitted with 3 cabin zones and a top speed of 0.925 Mach, you can imagine the sheer excitement of traveling close to the speed of sound without a single vibration reaching your body. The cabin is over 6 feet in its height which means that most people are able to walk upright in it. Even from the outside, the G500 is a rather handsome beast. The aerodynamic shape of the jet designed for maximum speed and lowest air resistance seems to align with an aesthetically pleasing design as well. Overall, the G500 is another part of the lofty Gulfstream name that does not seem to disappoint.
Long-range jets occupy the bracket directly above large jets. The jump is quite substantial. The price tag almost doubles to $60 million for a long-range jet. As the name suggests, these jets are built for traveling for a long duration of time. This translates to a range of nearly 7000 nautical miles. For perspective, a range of 7000 miles means that a long-range jet can fly across the Atlantic ‘pond’ from London to New York and back without refueling. The cabin is also significantly larger in this class as well, with the overall length of the aircraft exceeding 100 feet. The big brother of the above-mentioned G500, the G600 makes an appearance in this class and provides a significant boost in all of the already impressive specifications of the G500. The G600 is nearly 100 ft long and is able to seat 19 passengers with the ability to provide sleeping accommodation to 10 passengers. The maximum range stands at over 6500 nautical miles as well. Moreover, the cabin is divided into 4 distinct zones. Physically, the G600 has a classic elegance to its curves that is rather understated. Everything is perfectly proportioned in a way that is deeply appealing to the eye.
If there ever was a category for flying mansions, it would be this one. VIP airliners are essentially commercial planes converted for private use by sports teams or VIPs with entourages that cannot be seated in a smaller jet. You are expected to find these behemoths in the hands of everyone from Russian billionaires to Saudi Royalty. These airliners are almost 130 feet in length and are equipped with the most modern amenities that you can possibly imagine. The most popular of these is the Boeing Business Jets. Based upon the 737 series airliners, these aircraft can seat anywhere from 25-50 passengers in a configuration that puts any first-class arrangement to shame. Their ranges stand at over 10,000 nautical miles which is enough to perform two round trips from New York to London. The whole idea behind aircraft of these sizes is to essentially create a home in the sky. So, all the amenities that one might imagine a luxurious villa to have, they have them. These include an office, bedrooms, dining facilities and so much more. Looking inside these jets is like being provided an image of the future. The custom skylights add an ambiance to the cabin that is hard to describe. The biggest of this family of jets is over 250 feet in its length. All in all, VIP airliners like the BBJ series are truly a paradigm shift in air travel that has redefined the boundaries of what can be possible while flying at 41,000 feet.
For a large jet, you can expect to pay about $6000 out of your pocket. In the long-range jet section, the charter costs start at around $10,000. When considering a VIP airliner like the BBJ-3, one can expect to pay around $14000 per hour for its services. These are just the charter costs themselves and there are additional factors that must be taken into account such as airport landing fees, the staff’s overnight expenses, and federal excise tax as well.