A private plane can give a sense of freedom, but the cost to own a private plane may outdo the independence you think you're getting.
Private planes can cost anywhere from $1 million to $100 million, depending on what size, model or features you go for. Private planes are like cars, so you can get second-hand planes at a much more affordable price, though this value would still be in millions.
When considering the cost of private planes, there are a lot of costs to factor in besides just the purchase price of the plane itself. There are plenty of additional expenses associated with its use, and even more fixed costs, which can bring up the total cost to a much greater price.
After carefully researching all the factors that contribute to a plane's costs, we've put this information together to give you an idea of what it can cost to own a private plane.
This is what you would see on the 'price tag', so to speak, and is fairly straightforward. This is the value of the plane, and what you would have to pay to get the plane’s ownership. The purchase price for a plane depends greatly on a number of factors, from whether it's brand new or secondhand to the model and make.
Brand new private jets have a starting price of around $3 million and can go all the way up to $100 million or more. However, almost 85% of private jets owned are actually secondhand. While pre-owned jets do have a lower price than brand new ones, they are also very costly. The Pilatus PC-12 NG is almost $5 million, even as a pre-owned jet.
The main thing that affects the purchase price of a plane is what kind of plane it is. Ultra-light aircraft are single-seat, single-engine planes that can be purchased for much less than heavier ones. Single-engine planes with a multi-seat option are more expensive, though they are cheaper to buy and operate than multi-engine planes, which can be extremely expensive to buy and use.
Planes are not cheap. If you're lucky, you can buy your plane in cash but this is very rare. Most people don't have that luxury, even if they can afford the plane easily.
Most people will buy the plane with a loan and with loans come interest rates. On top of the original price of the plane, you'll have to pay the interest for the duration of the loan. The interest rate you end up with will depend on the company you go for, the length of the loan and how much you borrow, as well as the economic climate.
There are plenty of companies that support aircraft financing, whom you can approach for your loan and find one that provides an offer that suits you.
You can try to calculate the cost of your loan using this calculator.
Most people often forget to consider the management costs of a private plane when thinking of buying one. Once the plane is in your hands, you will still have to manage it and make sure it's maintained properly. You can also outsource this process but that would reduce the amount and time you save by owning a private plane to begin with.
Still, private jet management companies can take care of the planes for you, making sure they are regularly maintained so that they are ready to fly whenever you need them.
If you're not opting for a private plane management company, you'd think you will be saving on what it costs to maintain the plane by doing it yourself, but this is untrue. Aircraft maintenance depends on how many hours the plane has flown in the year. Maintenance costs will also rise, depending on the kind of plane it is. Small planes will usually cost less whereas larger planes with retractable wheels, etc., would naturally cost more. Aircraft are required to go through regular inspections so it's important to maintain them.
Where do you put your aircraft when you're not flying it? Definitely not in your garage.
Aircraft management companies often offer storage services as well, but mostly, private jets are stored at the airport. Depending on where you store your aircraft, you'd be paying different rates. Outdoor storage typically costs less. Urban airports also tend to cost more than rural ones.
The costs still don't end there. Just like you'd insure your car against accidents, you'd be insuring your aircraft, too.
Aviation insurance usually covers damages and provides liability for anything that could have been damaged by your aircraft, too. As with everything else, the cost of insurance depends on the hours you've flown your aircraft, how old it is, the type of aircraft, etc.
If you don't have the license to fly - and you probably don't - you'd need to hire someone to fly the aircraft for you when traveling. Crew expenses can vary, and may depend on the amount of time you travel, and are not part of the fixed costs. Still, this is a very high annual cost and can cut quite a bit into your wallet.
Most private planes will need only one pilot, but for some larger and heavier ones, you'd need two, and may also have to pay for additional crew members who can manage the aircraft for you on longer flights.
Private jet management companies will often arrange for the crew and their training, though you can find them on your own, too. The costs of the crew usually follow the basic rule: larger aircraft have higher crew costs.
The most obvious cost of the aircraft after the purchase price is the fuel cost. This cost also depends on the amount of time you spend flying per year. Different planes will have different fuel requirements, so the total cost of fuel depends on the kind of plane you have and how long you fly it.
The aviation industry is a fast-growing one, so there is virtually no limit to how many upgrades you can go for. Upgrades aren't usually necessary, so this is one of the areas you can expect to save a bit. But, some upgrades are necessary for your plane to function properly. Again, this will depend on how big your plane is, what company made it and what kind of flights you want to take it on.
So, Should You Buy A Plane?
A private plane is definitely not easy to buy - or own, for that matter.
Whether or not you can afford a private plane first depends on the purchase price itself, since that is the most glaring expense. If you can, you should ask yourself: how often do you fly, or intend to fly?
Your travel routine also matters: if you have frequent one-way flights rather than two-way ones, you may have to send your crew back and incur that cost.
There are also other options: you could purchase partial ownership in a plane, where you share a private plane with a number of other people. Your rights over the plane would depend on the amount you invest in it. The benefit of this is that fixed costs can be divided between all the owners.
You could also opt for renting out a private plane for your travel or buy a private plane club membership, which allows you to book flights at hourly rates - this is similar to commercial flights, except you get the plane to yourself.
This way, you can avoid the costs that come with buying a private plane. However, if you think you do need to buy a private plane, you should consult with aircraft management companies to find the right plane that you can own and manage without too much trouble.
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