If you own a plane or are thinking of buying one, the cost of a plane hangar is one of the things you’d have to consider in your budgeting.
A steel airplane hangar can cost anywhere between $15 and $25 per square foot. This is the average price for a hangar with no customization. If you want to make any adjustments to work for your plane, these prices can get much higher.
There are plenty of things that contribute towards the total cost of your plane hangar. The three main ones are size, location and the cost of the raw material – in most cases, this would be steel.
In our own hangar shopping, we identified all the main things to consider when looking for plane storage, and to make your life easier, we’ve put them into one article.
How Much Does a Plane Hangar Cost?
Airplane hangars come in two main designs: rigid frames and arch frames. Smaller aircraft hangars are usually around 20x20 square feet but this can go up to 40x40 square feet as well. Rigid frame hangars always cost more than arch frames, and the cost is often about 25% higher for hangars of up to 40x40 square feet. For anything more than this, the price difference gets a lot higher.
For arch framed hangars of 80 square feet, the price of hangars starts around $40,000 and can go up to $50,000 or more if you increase the size. Rigid frames are more expensive, starting at around $70,000. These are estimates of base prices, with customization adding to the cost.
That said, prices vary and depend on a number of factors, so let’s look at these.
Remember that these prices are only very base estimates, since other factors like taxes, regulations etc. will also be included in your final costs.
Factors That Affect Cost of Hangars
As you could’ve guessed, size will affect the price of the hangar you’re looking for. The size of the hangar depends on the number and size of your planes. For recreational flyers, the hangar would really only need enough space for the plane – usually only one of them – and your car. You may need space for a workbench in case you ever have to work on your planes.
For corporate planes, there may be a number of them, and these are usually larger planes than private, recreational ones. For such hangars, you’d probably need a separate parking lot instead of using the space in the hangar itself.
The smallest size for hangars is around 20x20 square feet, though this depends on the law and the kind of hangar (commercial hangars will likely cost more). Prices start at this size. As the size grows, the price overall will rise, but the price per square foot will usually fall.
On top of that, the size of the hangar isn’t just about the size of the plane itself, but you should also have enough space to maneuver the plane in and out of the building without crashing into anything, as well as space for anything else you have to keep inside the hangar.
You may also choose a bigger hangar than you need in case you plan on buying any more planes.
The price of the hangar will also depend greatly on the value of the land it is built on, so land in a city will likely be much more expensive than land in the middle of nowhere. That said, the location doesn’t just refer to the land value, but also the facilities available to you. For example, there may be cheap rent due to lower land value, but this might come with a poor-quality structure, or lack of security. In such cases, it would be much better to opt for a pricier hangar at an airport where you get good facilities on top of storage space.
These facilities are important, not just because you want to make sure your plane is safe, and you get the support you need, but also because when the time comes to sell or rent the space out, you may have difficulty finding someone who’d be willing to take that land.
Cost of Raw Materials
Most often, plane hangars are made of steel, due to the durability and strength of the material. Steel is good for withstanding heavy and strong winds, and keeps your plane from damage while they’re stored inside.
The cost of steel will thus contribute to the cost of the hangar as well. Usually, the price of steel moves with the market, but the company that sells the hangar will also charge their own manufacturing and production costs. Most times, these companies will buy the raw steel from someone else, and with their own costs added, the total cost that comes down to you as a buyer will be greater.
Buying vs Renting
The cost of a hangar can get really high, but you can try to reduce that price by considering other options too. We’ve only talked about buying so far, but renting is also something to keep in mind.
Whether you should rent or buy depends on factors such as how long you actually keep the plane in storage, how many planes you have, even how long you intend to keep the plane.
Since leases for storage are usually around 25-year contracts, if you don’t need to store your plane that long, renting may be a better option than buying.
Similarly, if you fly often and your plane isn’t in storage that often, renting may be less expensive for you. Having only one aircraft can also mean renting is a good option. You can consider sharing storage space with other plane owners to reduce the overall costs.
In addition, renting also means that you are not fully liable for all the utilities, insurance, repairs and maintenance for the building, since renters are technically paying the owner for these facilities. With shared spaces, these costs can also be greatly reduced.
While renting does seem like a more economical option, remember that it comes with a lack of independence that you would have had with your own hangar. If the customization of the hangar is important to you, you might want to see which option really works for you. For example, for owners of multiple aircrafts, buying a hangar that can be altered to optimize space utilization for all their aircraft may be a priority, or if you need long-term storage, renting may become more expensive in the long run.
The important thing is to compare the cost of purchasing with the cost of renting before making any kind of decision around this.
The basic rule is: if you can’t afford the hangar, you probably can’t afford the plane.
Before making your aircraft purchase, look into the costs of storage to make sure you really can afford it. A plane is a huge expense, so you don’t want to skimp out on the right storage, or you’d risk damaging your aircraft and sending all your money down the drain.
About THE AUTHOR
Alex has logged close to 400 hours on his own Piper Cherokee and enjoys bush flying as it offers a chance to test out his skills in difficult situations. His favorite trip, and one he makes regularly, is to the Red Deer Forestry Airstrip.Read more about Alex Costa