21 September 2011

How much does it cost to hire a private jet?

This is one of the questions I am frequently asked. Many people who have not flown by private jet have no idea how much it costs to charter an aircraft.

Even those who have used private jets before often find it difficult to understand how private jet pricing works.

One of PrivateFly.com’s key objectives is to be completely transparent to our members about private jet charter pricing. Since the recession, private jet customers have become more cost-conscious and more demanding in securing the best deal and we believe the industry must respond by providing more transparency and choice.

We aim to make private jet pricing simple and you can find instant estimate prices for any private jet flight using our private jet hire cost calculator.

The cost of a private charter can vary considerably. From £2,000 for a short trip on a turboprop aircraft to £500,000 for a round-the-world trip on one of the biggest and most luxurious aircraft available.

Of course most charters are somewhere between these extremes, with a two-day return flight on a small or medium jet within Europe ranging from around £4,000 to around £12,000.

The flight price depends on a number of factors including aircraft type, locations, timings and the distance of the flight.

However the private jet charter price is for the whole aircraft so, for larger groups on some journeys, the cost per head can be comparable with business class airline fares.

Airport positioning

Unlike airlines, private jets can operate from a large number of airports and the aircraft is often located in a different place to where the flight will start. Like a taxi, it will need to reposition itself (often empty) into the departure airport prior to the flight.

The cost of chartering the jet will take into account the cost of these positioning flights (which are often called empty sectors or empty legs). Empty legs can sometimes be sold as one-way charters to other customers, often at a substantial discount.

Return times
On a return trip, the length of time between the outward and return flights will also determine what extra costs are incurred for example airport parking charges and hotel costs for your crew.

Translating private jet charter costs
Here is a list of the costs involved in private jet charter and what they mean:

  • Flight Time: The hourly rate of the aircraft multiplies by the airborne flight time for the entire trip.
  • Airport Landing Fees: Each airport charges a unique landing fee for an aircraft. This will depend on its weight.
  • Airport Handling Fees: Most airports require an aircraft to be managed on the ground by a Fixed Based Operator (FBO) or Aircraft Handling Company. The charges incurred will cover the cost of arranging fuel, toilet servicing, passenger transport to and from the terminal, crew rest facilities and other handling requirements.
  • Passenger Taxes: Depending on the route many countries now charge a passenger departure tax.
  • Crew Salaries: Most private jets have 2 pilots but smaller propeller aircraft can operate with only one captain. Larger cabin aircraft such a Gulfstream will also have a flight attendant on-board.
  • Crew Expenses: When working, the crew’s meals will be provided by the company.
  • Hotel Costs: Overnight hotel costs are always paid for by the aircraft operator and billed to the charterer.
  • Ground Transport: Costs of taxis for the crew and any requested cars for the passengers will be added into the charter price.

Here’s a working example of private jet charter pricing

Let’s take a simple example of a return flight between London City Airport and Frankfurt Airport. You can follow this example using our online private jet cost calculator.

For this flight we’re using one of our most popular aircraft available for charter – a Citation XLS, which in this case is based in London Biggin Hill.

Flight Schedule:

1 Jan – Depart Airport London City Airport: 09:00hrs local

Arrive Airport Frankfurt Main

Passengers: 5

2 Jan – Depart Airport Frankfurt Main: 12:00hrs local

Arrive Airport London City Airport

Passengers: 5

Cost calculation

London Biggin Hill to London City (positioning) 11 (nm)
London City to Frankfurt Main 334 (nm)
Total Distance 345 (nm)
Flying Hours 1 Hrs 18 Min
Flying Cost for 1 Hr £2,936
Flying Charge (Flying Cost for 1 Hr x Flying Hours) £3,818
Landing Fee in LONDON CITY and FRANKFURT MAIN INTL £1,600 + £273 = £1873
Number of Fuel stops 0
Total Fuel stop Cost 0
Total cost Leg 1 £5,691
Frankfurt Main to London City 334 (nm)
London City to London Biggin Hill (positioning back to home base) 11 (nm)
Total Distance 345 (nm)
Flying Hours 1 Hrs 18 Min
Flying Cost for 1 Hr £2,936
Flying Charge (Flying Cost for 1 Hr x Flying Hours) £3,818
Landing Fee in LONDON CITY £1,600
Number of Fuel stops 0
Total Fuel stop Cost 0
Total Cost Leg 2 £5,418

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