Buy or charter a private jet : what is the best choice ?

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Do you want to buy or rent a private jet? Our team of business aviation experts will provide you with all the parameters to take into account in your decision. 

The crisis of 2008 has strongly affected business aviation. The number of private jets for sale had increased considerably, representing more than 20% of the world’s fleet. As the crisis affected travel budgets, companies turned to more economical solutions such as charter on demand.

By 2020, 17,000 private jets are in circulation worldwide. Half of these aircraft are owned by airlines and half by private owners, so there is a balance. Moreover, with only 12% of private jets currently on sale, the perfect balance between supply and demand is almost achieved. The current good economic situation offers interesting purchasing opportunities. However, there are many elements that need to be observed in detail in order to determine the advantages of acquiring an aircraft. And potentially, if the profitability is not proven, turn to the leasing of tailor-made flights.

So how can you make the right choice in relation to your needs, your financial means, your location? Should you buy or rent a private jet?


Buying or renting a private jet: What are the differences?

Why buy a private plane?

Buying a private jet allows you to have full ownership and thus complete freedom in the use of your aircraft. Your private flight is carried out without constraints, unlike renting a private jet which must meet the demanding criteria of public transport.

From turboprops to business jets, there are as many types of aircraft as there are destinations. First of all, it is important to determine your needs:

  • What are the places you are going to and the distances between them?
  • How long will you be there?
  • How many passengers do you usually have on board your aircraft?
  • Are there any restrictions on where you land?
  • Do you travel with bulky luggage?

There are many purchase options, at least one of which will meet your needs in terms of speed, passenger carrying capacity or distance travelled. It is therefore essential to clearly define your needs.


Why rent a private plane?

Renting a private jet is much less expensive than buying one. Only a few thousand euros are needed to charter a private jet. Renting therefore allows you to avoid a large investment that may not be very profitable.  Renting an aircraft also offers a great deal of flexibility. For each flight, you will be able to choose the aircraft best suited to your travel time, the number of passengers and its positioning to optimize the cost.

Consult our private plane page to understand precisely all the issues involved in renting an aircraft.


Location Pilatus PC24 Atterrissage Piste en Sable


Buy or charter a private jet : Reasons of the decision

The parameters to be taken into account are numerous. We will focus on three key factors to understand the issues distinguishing purchase from lease.


A fundamental distinction between Public Transport and Private Flights

It is essential to make a clear distinction between public transport and private flight.

Rent a private jet and you will benefit from public transport with all these advantages and constraints. Buy your private jet and fly without constraints but with less insurance.

With renting, you are therefore subject to the regulations linked to public transport. Even if renting a private jet offers a tailor-made flight, many elements are to be taken into account and can restrict your freedom of flight. Any private jet operator providing a global air transport service must obtain its Air Operator Certificate (AOC). Public Passenger Transport is based on the following main elements:

  • Operational constraints: Public transport implies the application of a greater safety margin on landing for a public flight than for a private flight. Thus, a private jet certified to land on a 1,000-metre runway can only land on a 1,600-metre runway in public transport.
  • Crew qualification: Pilots have the ATPL (Airlines Transport Pilot License) giving them all the knowledge and skills required for public passenger transport. This is the assurance of having a qualified pilot and flying safely.
  • Aircraft maintenance: Maintenance and checks on public aircraft are carried out only by approved workshops (part145) and on a more regular basis than for privately owned aircraft.

These 3 constraints are to be taken into account in a positive way. These rental requirements allow for greater safety and safer aircraft than a privately-owned aircraft. However, you will not benefit from all the freedom and autonomy offered by the purchase of an aircraft.


Flexibility: advantages of private aircraft leasing

  • No limitation on the autonomy of the device

Depending on your route, whether you are travelling in Europe or across the Atlantic, choose the plane that best suits your needs. Indeed, a Phenom 300 will be enough to fly non-stop from Paris to Marrakech, but to go directly to New York, you can charter a Global Express.

  • An unlimited number of passengers

Private aircraft rental gives you access to a large fleet of aircraft (7,500 private jets available for rental as well as commercial aircraft). You can travel with up to 4 passengers on a light private jet such as the Jet Mustang and travel the following week with up to 13 guests on a long-haul private jet such as a Gulfstream G550. If you are an aircraft owner, you are limited to the number of seats in your private jet.

  • Airport access for all types of aircraft

Airports each have their own characteristics: very short runways, specific qualifications of pilots to land or in high-risk areas such as mountain airports, etc. By renting a private jet, an expert will accompany you in chartering your flight to book a turboprop or private jet with the appropriate performance to get you as close as possible to your destination.

  • Access a plane wherever you are

With renting, you will always find a solution to go to your business meeting or go on holiday. There are more than 1500 airlines worldwide offering a rental on demand service.

When buying an aircraft, for various reasons, you may not always be able to have your aircraft at your disposal.

Let’s take an example: You live in London and you need to go to France in an emergency. Following a breakdown of your aircraft or the unavailability of your crew, you decide to go to Paris by Eurostar. You have to have a second meeting in Maastricht during the day and return to London in the evening. With the rental of a air taxi, the aircraft will be directly ready at Paris airport to take you to Maastricht without losing time and at a lower cost.

Generally speaking, renting an aircraft gives you more freedom. However, during the summer period, private airplane rentals are on the rise. Sometimes charter prices rise and there is a shortage of available aircraft.


How much does it cost to buy a private jet ?

Frequency of use and requirements must be taken into account when calculating costs.

If you are:

  • An entrepreneur
  • Accompanied by a maximum of 3 people
  • Travelling only in Western Europe (Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Great Britain…)
  • With little luggage
  • Regularly on the road for more than 2 nights.

We recommend the Phenom 100 private jet.

With a high speed, a modern and comfortable cabin, it is one of the best-sellers on the market. A 5-seater twin-engine jet with a range of 2,000 kilometers, we recommend it for fast business trips over short distances. Its price of around 5 million euros new makes it a relatively affordable private jet. However, this price must be prorated according to the frequency of use. Expert calculations show that it is necessary to fly at least 400 hours a year for the purchased aircraft to be profitable. If your flight frequency is around 450 hours per year, there is no doubt that buying a private plane can be a good operation.

Moreover, if your trips last more than 2 nights, it is more profitable to buy a private plane than to rent it. For airlines, a plane on the ground costs twice as much as in flight: parking space, crew to be accommodated, aircraft unavailable for other customers. On journeys of more than 48 hours, airline operators generally choose to return the aircraft to its base. The customer must then pay for a double rotation. Being the owner saves you all these inconveniences. Your aircraft stays at your place of stay in a hangar, without having to join other passengers.

Don’t forget, however, that there are many costs to be taken into account and that the depreciation of the aircraft is comparable to that of a car.  The costs related to the maintenance of the aircraft, crew, fuel, maintenance, landing and take-off taxes, parking are added to the price. In addition, private jets depreciate rapidly. New air safety regulations, technological developments and the number of flying hours have a strong influence on the price. After 5,000 flight hours, the price of the aircraft decreases sharply due to wear and tear.


Summary of costs:

For the purchase of a small private jet type Phenom 100

  • Price of approximately 5 million euros.
  • Annual depreciation of 800,000 euros per year.
  • Operating costs of approximately 150 000 euros per year including crew salaries, maintenance, parking costs, civil liability, costs associated with the repair and renovation of the interior and the cost of insurance.
  • Unforeseen incidents requiring intervention: approximately 50,000 euros per year.

Total annual costs: 1 million euros. These costs increase with the size of the private jet.


For the rental of a private jet :Price of one hour’s flight in Phenom 100: 2,500 euros.


Amortization of fixed costs: More than 400 flight hours.

In order to amortize the annual costs, it is necessary for the aircraft to fly more than 400 hours per year. Below 400 hours per year, costs that are too high do not justify the purchase of a private jet.


Jet privé Phenom 100 à l'arret sur le tarmac de l'aéroport


Other opportunities are available to you

In order to limit the costs associated with the purchase of a private jet

Become a renter

You have the opportunity to become a rental customer yourself. This offers you the opportunity to optimize the cost of owning your aircraft. All you have to do is entrust your aircraft to an airline company and place the aircraft under an Air Transport Certificate (ATC). As the private jet rental market is very dynamic, putting your aircraft on lease smoothes out the costs of operating and maintaining the aircraft.

Buy a private jet in shared ownership

Considered an alternative to purchase, shared ownership, invented by Netjet, allows the costs of use to be shared between several owners. You can therefore pay for one or more shares of an aircraft and then benefit from flight hours based on the shares you have in the aircraft. This is an excellent way for companies to travel in a private jet with a reduced basic investment.


In order to rent a cheaper private jet

Empty legs

Empty flight, or “Empty leg”, is an ideal solution for travelling in a private jet at a reduced price. In many situations, the aircraft must return to its base empty. Or join the customer from the empty base. As the flight is already paid for by the customer, the sale of the jet fare is unbeatable.


Renting a private jet is (almost) always the most economical solution.

Therefore, while owning one’s own aircraft is satisfying, it is not the most economical solution. The high depreciation, personnel costs and maintenance costs are a significant barrier to purchase. Moreover, ownership strongly limits the scope of possibilities in terms of customization and specific needs.

Chartering an aircraft therefore seems to be the most economical solution for business travelers and wealthy individuals. It brings a perfect flexibility and a completely tailor-made solution.

This is why many travelers prefer to rent a private jet rather than own one.