Imagine being the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Billions of dollars are contingent upon your actions and your time is worth a lot of money. For a Fortune 500 CEO, a Gulfstream V Jet might be the best option (the one that hauls Tim Cook around). This is where we have to understand one interesting thing about chartering a private jet. The cost of it can vary so much that there really isn’t one number that you can calculate. The fact is that private jets are rented by not just Fortune 500 CEOs but a real diverse group of individuals whose needs of air travel can only be fulfilled by a private jet. So, without further ado, let’s get into this interesting topic.
What are the advantages of flying by private jet?
Before we get into the cost of flying by private jet, let’s first delve into its advantages. Perhaps the most important advantage of flying private is simply privacy. Commercial flights of even the highest caliber cannot offer the same level of privacy. The customizability of the whole experience is a big plus as well, with people going for custom seating arrangements and traveling with their pets. For high-level executives, the lack of travel fatigue compared to a commercial flight can make a huge difference. This means that you can bring your A-game to the meeting you traveled half the country for. Flying private means timings that are tailored to your preference. You are saved hours in waiting lines and security checks which are a necessity when flying commercial.
What are the factors that affect the cost to rent a private jet?
Perhaps the biggest factor that affects this particular number is the type of the aircraft itself which will directly influence the cost to rent a private. The large variety of private aircrafts can be illustrated by the fact that the cheapest private jets could be acquired for less than $2 million dollars and the best ones in the industry could be in excess of $50 million. The more expensive the asset itself is, the greater the charter costs will be. Another factor that affects the cost is the staffing requirements of the flight. This depends a lot on your own personal requirements as the number of staff required is directly tied to your own needs. The aircraft’s age also has a massive effect on the cost. An older aircraft’s charter cost would be much cheaper than a relatively newer one.
There are other factors that relate more to the nature of the journey itself. If the flight is relatively short, the cost of that would be cheaper. However, if it’s a long-haul flight, expect to pay a decent amount out of your pocket. A lighter jet is much more appropriate for a journey that is less than 1500 miles as that would be much lighter on your pocket as well.
What are the types of private jet charter aircrafts?
Private jet charter aircrafts are mainly characterized by their size. They are divided into 3 broad categories. Light, Medium and Heavy Jets. These three divisions are further divided into subcategories. As the size of the aircraft itself progressively gets bigger, the range of the jet itself also increases. For a longer flight, you are recommended to go for a heavy jet as their range is much higher. It goes without saying that the heavier the jet is, the more the amenities on board. This means that the experience of a heavy jet will be noticeably much more luxurious than a lighter jet. You will also require a bigger crew to commandeer a larger aircraft. The many pluses of chartering a large aircraft are counterbalanced by one negative, the price. They are much more expensive to rent than a lighter aircraft. A light jet will cost you anything from $2000 to $3500 per hour while a medium-sized flyer is expected to be between $4000 to $8000. These might seem like massive sums, but a heavy jet can cost up to $24000 per hour. For perspective, you could buy a very nice house in some states for 5 hours of the operating cost of a large business aircraft.
Light jets can seat about 3-5 people and are generally used for shorter day trips. Their range can go up to 1600 miles. Some notable examples are Citation M2, Citation Mustang, Nextant 400XT, Phenom 100, and Phenom 300.
Medium jets, also known as midsize aircrafts, are best suited for journeys of up to 2000 miles and are able to seat 6-10 passengers in their cabins. They are mainly used for slightly longer trips. Some examples include Challenger 300, Citation X+, Falcon 2000LX, Gulfstream G200, Hawker 4000, Hawker 900XP, and Citation Latitude.
Heavy jets, also known as large aircrafts, are the only option for long-range journeys. These can include transcontinental flights and flights over international borders. They can seat 14-16 passengers and have a transatlantic range which is in excess of 3000 miles. They also have cabin height in excess of 6 feet which means that most people can walk upright in their cabins. Some examples are Challenger 850, Falcon 900LX, Gulfstream G450, and Global Express XRS.
How much does it cost to charter a private jet?
For a 5-hour flight that costs $3000 per hour, the total cost that has been incurred is $15000. As previously mentioned, a private jet charter’s cost is subject to a diverse variety of factors. These factors combine to give a very wide range of hourly costs. For example, a Cessna Citation III will cost about $3500 per hour while a Gulfstream V could cost up to $10000 per hour. However, these figures are not as high in reality as they might sound. If you’re flying with 8 passengers, an hourly cost of $3500 only comes out to about $437.5 per person per hour which is actually quite a bargain considering the level of service (and the Instagram photos) that you are getting.
The hourly rate that one pays for an aircraft includes a bunch of services embedded in the cost. The cost of the fuel, airport handling fees, and staffing costs are included as well. There are several other costs that you might incur in private jet charter so it’s important that you make yourself aware of these miscellaneous costs as they will add up to quite a handful. For flights that cross international borders, there might be some form of international fees that are dependent on the destination country and the airspace that you fly through. In-flight catering can vary from snacks to a light lunch to a full meal and is generally included as an extra cost. For flights in the US, private jet charter flights are also subject to excise duties. These are generally taxed as a percentage of the total cost of the flight. Finally, when you have arrived at your destination, you have to pay the airport for the parking fee. For busy airports with loads of incoming and outgoing flights, this cost can balloon to quite a bit so it’s important to plan and budget your travel.
Empty leg flights
Jets have to fly back to their home base after dropping off a client (or go to another client’s location). Such flights are known as empty leg flights. These are a great way of getting basically a discounted price. Empty leg flights are generally about 35-40% cheaper than a normal private flight over the same distance. The greater the size of the trip, the more your savings are. For short journeys up and down the east coast, the savings can be $5000-$6000. Cross-country flights can save you up to $50000 which might seem like a large amount but is dwarfed by the size of the savings on transcontinental flights which are upwards of $100000. Please note that these costs are dependent on the mission profile itself. However, the one disadvantage of empty leg flights is that you lose a lot of flexibility because of the fixed schedule. You’ll have to adjust your travel schedule to fit the departure time of the empty leg flight that you want to catch.
It is natural to feel intimidated by the apparently high cost of private air travel. However, these big numbers don’t seem to matter much when you are watching the sun peek its eye out of the clouds at 41000 feet. Realizing that this steel bird is tearing through the skies just to transport you gives you a feeling of importance and pleasure that is rather hard to describe. Sipping your favorite champagne without the sound of a wailing baby (as is often the case on commercial flights) truly soothes the soul. Happy Flying!