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How much does it cost to hire a private jet?

Jeffrey Menaged, Founder & CEO, Chief Executive Air

Being private aviation executives, one of the greatest misconceptions we’ve found over the years is that people believe the cost of hiring a private plane hovers somewhere in the range between exorbitant and unaffordable.  That often isn’t the case.  Let’s see if we could help bring some clarity to the issue.

By far, the biggest component of the cost of hiring a private plane is the actual flight charge.  Flight charges are based on the total planned flight time of all of the segments your trip, multiplied by the hourly rate of the aircraft you are hiring.

Aviation companies use one of several computer modeling programs to predict what you flight time will be.  The system will predict your flight time in increments of one tenth or one hour.  That prediction is based on a number of factors including the performance of the aircraft such as rate of climb and cruise speed, expected routing, seasonal winds aloft, and congestion at your point of origination or destination.  All of the flying the plane will do in the provision of your charter will be added, so in most instances, if you’re flying one-way, the time it will take for the plane to fly back to its base of operations will be added to your flight charges.

Once the computer predicts what your flight time will be, it multiplies the hourly rate of the aircraft you will hire by the predicted flight time and that will make up the flight charges component of your charter.  Hourly rates range from as low as GBP 1,100 (USD 1,400, EUR 1,250) for a prop to as much as GBP 6,600 (USD 8,500, EUR 7,600) for a full-size business jet.

Aircraft rates vary widely as a result of many factors.  Such factors include aircraft size class, aircraft model and aircraft base of operations.  If you are hiring a twin-engine turbo-prop in New York, the hourly rate would be substantially lower than if you were hiring a full-size inter-continental business jet in New Delhi.

The next component of cost is crew expenses.  When you hire a plane, you are responsible for expenses associated with crew accommodations.  If you are flying someplace one-way or if the return flight is the same day, there generally wouldn’t be any crew expenses.  But in the case where you will remain at your destination overnight or for several days, a per-diem allowance will be added to your bill to cover crew expenses including lodging, meals and transportation.  These fees vary by region.  A good rule of thumb would be to estimate that crew expenses generally amount to 10% to 15% of flight charges.

The last component of cost on every aircraft charter are airport fees. Every airport charges a use fee in order to pick-up or discharge passengers.  Those fees can range from GBP 80 (USD 100, EUR 90) to GBP 1,165 (USD 1,500, EUR 1,340) depending on the airport.  These fees are assessed each time the aircraft will land on your charter based on the actual fees charged at each airport.

If your flight crosses the border into a different country, you will also be charged International Handling fees.  Those fees are related to preparing customs and immigration entry documents and receiving permits for the plane, crew and passengers as well as all arrival and departure taxes.  Depending on the countries that you plan to visit, these fees can typically range from GBP 800 (USD 1,000, EUR 900) to GBP 3,900 (USD 5,000, EUR 4,500) per port of entry.

Here is what all of this looks like in more simple terms.  Let’s look at the charges associated with a round-trip charter between London and Malaga for four passengers over a long weekend, departing London of a Friday morning and returning on Sunday evening.

 

Departing From:Arriving To:Est. Flight Time:
LondonMalaga2.7 hours
MalagaLondon2.6 hours
Total:5.3 hours

 

CategoryRateUnitsTotal
Flight Charges2,4005.3 hours12,720
Crew Fees6502 nights1,300
Airport Fees1502 landings300
Int’l Handling8001 (per trip)800
Total:*GBP 15,120

*Please note, all costs are estimated for the purposes of illustration.  Every effort has been made to provide accurate information but rates are subject to availability of specific aircraft at time of booking.

Understanding rates is a big first step in helping people decide when it would make sense for them to hire a plane.  The next step is getting to understand the different classes of aircraft and their capabilities so that you will know what aircraft is best suited to the particular trip you plan to take, each and every time your needs call for a private plane.

The most important component of cost is always the total charge, but by having an understanding how rates are calculated, you can be sure that you’ll always be charged the right rate.

Happy flying!

Jeffrey Menaged is the Founder & CEO of Chief Executive Air, a private aviation company providing on-demand charter service around the world from their offices in New York.  He can be reached via email at jeffrey@chiefexecair.com.

August 16, 2016

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