Buying a private jet for business can be a great investment under certain circumstances. They’re popular among business travelers, celebrities, and wealthy individuals alike. They offer a sense of freedom and flexibility, allowing you to travel at the drop of a hat. But buying a business jet isn’t without its risks. Before you go all in, you’ll want to avoid making these five common mistakes when buying a private jet for business.
1. Choosing the Wrong Aircraft Size
When buying a private jet for business, make sure you’re choosing an aircraft whose size aligns with your travel needs. Private jets come in different sizes, each designed to carry a different number of passengers and various cargo capacities.
Think about the types of trips you’re taking and who will be traveling with you. For instance, smaller jets are typically best for shorter trips and can carry up to eight passengers. Larger jets may be able to carry twenty or more passengers over longer distances.
Also, think about the luggage that each person will be bringing. Luggage space for two people will be vastly different than the space needed for 15 people.
Something else to consider is your budget for choosing a private jet. Larger aircraft will cost more, but they also offer enhanced features, such as bigger cabins and amenities. If you have multiple passengers traveling with you, spending more on a private jet might make sense to help offset the costs of individual commercial tickets.
Aircraft size will also affect the places to which you can travel. For example, small planes are prohibited from flying into larger airports due to their limited range. Larger jets are capable of long-distance flights, but they may struggle to navigate smaller airports, if at all. You’ll need to consider the aircraft’s takeoff and landing distance requirements and know the requirements of the airports you’ll visit most often.
Overall, private jet ownership makes sense if you plan on flying more than 240 hours per year. On average, a business trip will typically rack up 2-3 hours each way. Leisure trips might be more than this, depending on your destination. Calculate your estimated flight hours per year to see if owning a private jet makes good financial sense.
One way to find out if an aircraft will be a good match for you is to test it with a charter flight. Work with your charter broker to secure the same model so you can see if the flight experience meets your expectations.
2. Foregoing a Full Aircraft Inspection
For those in the market for a business jet, any used aircraft should be thoroughly inspected before you purchase it. Not only will an inspection determine whether the aircraft is sound and safe, but it can also reveal any hidden costs or repair needs. A full inspection by a qualified engineer will help you make an informed decision and give you peace of mind that you’re making the right choice.
To start, request the complete maintenance records and any documentation for work performed on the aircraft. This includes proof of any custom work, repairs, or other parts that have been installed.
Your inspection should include checking the structural integrity of the jet, assessing any potential areas of corrosion, testing all mechanical components, and validating all avionic systems for proper function. The inspector should also check for the proper installation of safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers and oxygen systems.
If you plan to refurbish the aircraft, an inspection is still a valuable undertaking. You can get better insight into what might need to be repaired as part of the refurbishing process and calculate your costs prior to purchasing.
3. Failing to Account for the Total Cost of Ownership
Buying a private jet for business comes with hefty upfront costs – from purchase price to operational expenses – as well as ongoing maintenance requirements and legal regulations. Considering all costs involved will help you to make a good financial decision that will allow you to use the jet as often as you like.
Expenses that aren’t part of the initial purchase price can be as much as five times the upfront purchase. These are expenses you’ll incur for as long as you own the jet, and usually include:
- Parts and maintenance
- Unplanned repairs
- Crew member salaries
- FBO expenses
- Storage fees
- Interior upgrades
- Safety equipment
- Foods and beverages
- Operating licenses
- Routine cleanings
- Registration fees
The costs can add up quickly. What’s more, these costs will vary depending on the size and age of your aircraft. Older models may require more maintenance. Larger models will require more fuel. If you have an older jet, you may need to make additional upgrades to bring your aircraft up to compliance when new regulations are developed.
There’s also the matter of finding qualified pilots who can operate the aircraft. You’ll need to pay their salaries as well as any expenses they incur along the trip.
4. Setting Unrealistic Expectations for Your Travel Needs
With the ability to customize routes, fly around commercial airline restrictions, and access remote airports, buying a business jet can be an attractive option. However, having your own jet does not make you immune to certain rules and regulations.
When you have your own jet, you’ll have to spend some time coordinating with other parties to plan your trips. This means setting an itinerary, activating crew members, stocking the jet with foods and beverages, and myriad other details. Even when you have a team of helpers doing the heavy lifting, there’s a lot that goes into planning.
You’ll also be limited as to where you can travel. Not all private jets can land at every airport due to size and weight restrictions. Weather and local travel conditions may also impact your ability to fly on demand.
What’s more, you are still bound by FAA regulations and will be subject to security checkpoints and international customs. You’ll need to know your rights when it comes to traveling with firearms, bringing weed or other recreational drugs on board, smoking on the aircraft, and carrying proper identification.
If skirting certain rules are part of your motivation for buying a private business jet, think carefully about whether this solution will truly meet your needs.
5. Failing to Consider Other Options for Private Air Travel
Buying a private jet for business isn’t your only option for private air travel. If the cost of ownership doesn’t make financial sense or you simply don’t want the hassle or upkeep, other options include fractional ownership, jet card programs, or booking a private jet charter on demand. Each of these come with their own costs and benefits to consider, but could provide desirable alternatives to ownership.
At Access Jet Group, we’re your private jet charter brokers who can help you book travel on demand without ongoing commitments. Our network spans more than 7,000 aircraft in a wide range of models, models, and manufacturers, and can help you reach your destination in style and on budget.
Contact us today for pricing and availability.