Private jet ownership is one of the pinnacles of luxury that can be enjoyed by the wealthy and successful. While everyone knows that buying a jet is expensive, most people aren’t aware of how much money goes into operating costs. Here’s what you need to know about how much it costs to operate a private jet and some of the alternatives that make private flight more affordable.
How Much Does it Cost to Operate a Private Jet Per Hour?
The operating costs for a private jet largely depend on the kind of jet you have. Costs that play into the total price per hour include fuel, landing fees, crew pay, meals and a host of other incidental expenses.
For a small, reasonably efficient jet, these costs generally start at about $1,000 per hour. For larger aircraft, operating costs rise quickly and can exceed $10,000 per hour in some cases.
How Much Do Private Jets Cost to Run?
Taking away other operating costs, the fuel required to run a jet engine is one of the largest single expenses associated with flying a private plane.
Even the smallest, lightest jets burn over $500 per hour in fuel alone. For light to medium jets, the cost balloons to between $800 and $1,200. The largest private jets burn nearly $1,800 in fuel each hour they remain in the sky.
How Rich Should You Be to Own a Private Jet?
A private jet is one of the most expensive luxury purchases a person can make. Between the massive price tag and the high ongoing expenses, jet ownership is something that should be considered only by the wealthiest individuals.
The average private jet owner has a net worth of $1.5 billion, though this number may be skewed upward due to higher rates of private jet ownership among multi-billionaires. Those who own private jets also tend to be around 65 years old and self-made.
It’s worth noting that you need a substantial amount of liquidity to own your own jet. The average jet owner maintains about $195.5 million in liquid capital. While this clearly covers more than just the costs associated with the jet, a considerable amount of liquidity is needed to pay the recurring expenses that come with airplane ownership.
With all of this said, you don’t have to be a billionaire to own a jet. A net worth of $50-100 million would put jet ownership within reach, provided you had enough liquidity to cover the regular expenses. A lower net worth than that, however, would likely make the cost of owning even a modest jet prohibitive.
How Much Does it Cost Monthly to Own a Jet?
The overall monthly costs for a jet include items like pilot salary, hangar fees, maintenance, insurance and a variety of other expenses.
While every situation is unique, estimates of overall costs run $1 million per year or more for a single private jet.
Based on this rough estimate, you could expect to pay a minimum of about $83,000 monthly to own your own jet. This number also assumes you own the plane outright. If you had a lease or were making payments, your monthly outlays would naturally be much higher.
Is Owning a Private Jet Worth it?
Owning a private jet obviously has both its advantages and disadvantages. On the downside, private jets are nightmarishly expensive and present their owners with large and recurring costs.
The advantages, however, shouldn’t be overlooked. Private planes offer privacy, comfort and convenience that commercial airlines simply can’t compete with. As an added advantage, most private jets are a bit faster than commercial airliners. As a result, you can reach your destination more quickly after takeoff.
Overall, private jet ownership is only worth the expense to a small group of people. Ultra wealthy individuals who can reasonably shoulder the costs and travel frequently may find owning a private jet to be worthwhile. For almost everyone else, though, owning a private jet likely isn’t worth the sheer expense.
What Is the Cheapest Way to Fly Private?
While private ownership may not be worth the price tag, there are less expensive ways to fly privately. If you only need a private plane on occasion, it’s far more cost-effective to charter a jet for your flights. Charter planes offer almost all of the same advantages of actually owning a jet, but you’re only paying for the convenience for a short period of time.
Another option that may benefit some flyers is fractional jet ownership. As the name suggests, fractional ownership involves buying a share of a private plane instead of owning the entire aircraft. This way, the high costs of ownership are split among several owners. Shares in private jets can be large or small. The larger your share, the more flight time you are allowed per year.
Private jet memberships also offer some of the pluses of owning a plane without the cost. For a membership fee, you can get access to private planes for attractive per-hour rates. If you fly regularly, a membership program of this sort is likely the best value for your needs.
Finally, the single least expensive way to fly privately is to purchase a ticket on a shared private plane. While it may sound very similar to flying with a commercial airline, there are still some advantages to buying a single seat.
To begin with, you’ll board your plane from a private terminal that lets you bypass the ordinary hassle of airports. Most companies that offer these private flights also provide luxury amenities and concierge service. Seats on these private planes are also larger and more comfortable than those on commercial airliners.
Prices for these private jet alternatives vary from company to company. For a charter plane, expect to pay up to $3,000 per flight hour for smaller jets and up to $13,000 per hour for larger ones. Memberships will usually charge around $100 per month, plus a per-flight fee whenever you actually need to fly.
Fractional ownership costs depend on the size of your share and the plane itself, but you can expect to spend several hundred thousand dollars. Seats on shared private planes vary but start at around $100 per seat. More expensive shared planes can still cost over $1,000 per seat.
As you can see, a private jet is one of the most expensive luxury purchases imaginable. For most of us, jet ownership is simply too expensive to be a serious option. With alternative private flight models, though, you can get most of the convenience of a private jet at a fraction of the cost of actually owning one.
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