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Commercial planes are huge, fast, and vital for transportation of both people and cargo. With all of that in mind, how much does a commercial plane cost?
Whether you’re a pilot, a passenger, or a business owner looking to get into that transportation industry, you’ve likely flown in a commercial airplane before. Not only are they absolutely massive, but they’re also some of the most technologically advanced pieces of equipment in the world. Which then begs the question — how much do commercial airplanes actually cost?
Commercial planes cost tens of millions to hundreds of millions of dollars. The most popular commercial planes from Boeing range from $89.1 million to $112.6 million. Comparatively, the most common commercial airplanes from Airbus range from $89.6 million to $114.9 million.
Commercial planes are a vital part of the transportation industry, connecting people and businesses all over the world. But how much do they cost? Who buys them? And can anyone just go out and buy their own commercial plane? In this article, we will take a closer look at commercial planes and answer some of these questions.
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How Much Do Commercial Airplanes Cost?
Commercial airplanes are downright expensive. For just about any private pilot or average person out there, just like myself, buying a commercial airplane is a pipe dream that is just never going to come true. These airplanes are built to transport hundreds of people and/or thousands and thousands of pounds of cargo.
So they’re typically only purchased by airlines that make their money from transporting people and goods. You likely already know this, but you certainly won’t find any commercial airplanes in our guide of the cheapest planes to buy and fly! But let’s take a look at the ten most common commercial airplanes in the world and how much they cost.
Sure, there are planes that cost more and there are some that cost less. But by looking at the most popular commercial planes, we should be able to get a general idea of what these planes really cost. So here are the prices for the most common ones:
As you can see, prices for common commercial planes can easily exceed $100 million, and even the cheapest one in the list is north of $10 million to buy used. Speaking of, the Boeing 757-200 has actually been out of production since 2004, and it’s a private jet more so than a large-scale commercial airliner like some of the others listed. Just keep that in mind when comparing prices!
For all intents and purposes, the major planes worth comparing from the list above — which enable as close to an apples-to-apples comparison as possible — are the Boeing 737-800, Boeing 737-700, Boeing 737-900ER, Airbus A319, Airbus A320, and Airbus A321. These are the big commercial jets that most people think of when they imagine commercial airliners.
Which Planes Cost More: Boeing Or Airbus?
There are three major planes from each of the two manufacturers in the table above, and the price ranges are similar between the two juggernauts. The three main Boeing planes mentioned above, for example, range in price from $89.1 - $112.6 million. The three Airbus planes similarly range from $89.6 - $114.9 million. Without looking any further than that, you can surmise that Airbus planes air slightly more expensive than Boeing, but the difference is very little.
Instead, let’s dive a little deeper and compare the similarly priced models from each manufacturer and see which one is worth the cost in terms of how many people they can carry. Keep in mind that a lot more goes into the cost efficiency of commercial airlines, this is just one metric to consider.
Boeing 737-700 vs Airbus A319
The Boeing 737-700 has a price of $89.1 million, and the Airbus A319 comes with a price tag of $89.6 million. This makes the A319 just 0.5% more expensive than the 737-700. According to Boeing, the 737-700 has a maximum of 149 seats, compared to the 156 seats available in the A319.
This means that the A319 can carry roughly 4.7% more passengers than the Boeing 737-700, which corresponds nearly exactly to the increase in cost. According to this parameter, the Airbus A319 is more cost effective than the Boeing 737-700.
Boeing 737-800 vs Airbus A320
The Airbus A320 costs airlines $98 million to purchase, but the Boeing 737-800 comes with a sticker price of $106.1 million. These numbers make the Boeing 737-800 about 8.3% more expensive than the Airbus A320. The 737-800 holds a maximum of 189 seats; the Airbus A320, 180 seats.
Based on these numbers provided by the manufacturers, the Boeing 737-800 seats 5% more passengers than the Airbus A320. While this doesn’t quite make up for the 8.3% price increase based on this metric alone, the cost efficiency between the two models is similar, with a slight nod towards the Airbus A320.
Boeing 737-900ER vs Airbus A321
The most expensive plane in the table above is the Airbus A321 at $114.9 million. The most expensive Boeing in the table is the 737-900ER at $112.6 million. This makes the Airbus A320 just 2% more expensive. But interestingly, both planes seat a maximum of 220 passengers, making the Boeing 737-900ER ever so slightly more cost effective.
For the most part, Boeing and Airbus airplanes have nearly identical cost effectiveness based on the purchase price and the number of passengers each model can seat. Neither manufacturer is the clear winner in this case!
Which Airlines Buy The Most Commercial Airplanes?
Typically, major airlines that we all know and love are the biggest spenders when it comes to buying commercial airplanes, as you might have guessed. The following is a list of some of those airlines and how many planes they purchase on average:
- Delta Airlines buys around 25 planes per year
- American Airlines buys around 20 planes per year
- United Airlines buys around 15 planes per year
Each of these airlines typically spends billions of dollars on new aircraft each year. While there are other airlines that also buy new planes, these three tend to be the biggest spenders in the industry. Consequently, it's important for plane manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus to keep them happy!
Boeing has been benefiting from this trend, as they're the leading supplier of commercial aircraft. In fact, they have a backlog of nearly 6,000 planes that are scheduled for delivery in the next few years. Airbus is seeing similar success, with over 5,000 planes on order.
It's clear that the demand for new airliners is still high, and will likely continue to be in the coming years. This is great news for airplane manufacturers, as well as the airlines who are looking to expand their fleets!
Can You Buy Your Own Commercial Plane?
Commercial planes are a major investment. They can cost millions of dollars, and they’re not something that the average person can just go out and buy. You need to have a lot of money and be able to afford the plane, as well as all of the associated costs like maintenance and piloting fees.
However, there are some people who can buy their own commercial plane. If you’re a millionaire or billionaire, then it’s within your reach. And if you happen to own a company that needs its own jet for travel, then you may also be in the market for a commercial airliner.
But for most people, buying a commercial plane is simply not an option. It’s a major expense, and it’s not something that you can just do on a whim. If you want to fly on a commercial airliner, then you’ll need to book a ticket like everyone else.
This is largely because unlike things like a car or a house that most of us take loans out to purchase, a bank isn’t likely to loan you the money to buy a commercial airliner. If you’re anything like me, there’s no chance I could go into a bank and take out a loan for tens of millions or hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase a commercial airliner.
That’s why these planes are almost exclusively reserved for the major airlines we all fly on. But if you want to fly a commercial airplane for yourself, then consider becoming a commercial pilot and you’ll be able to reap the rewards of an amazing career!
Is It Legal To Buy Your Own Commercial Airliner?
Yes, it is legal to buy your own commercial airliner. However, there are some restrictions on who can actually purchase a plane. You need to be able to afford the plane, and you also need to have a pilot’s license. If you don’t meet those requirements, then you won’t be able to buy a commercial airliner.