Jetron blog

Aircraft Ownership versus Charter Flight Rental

Do I buy a private jet or do I charter one when I need it? While the answer may seem straightforward, delving into it requires a careful consideration.

January 10, 2024

Once you’ve set your heart on traversing the globe to different destinations aboard a private jet, there is an important question you need to ask yourself. Do I buy a private jet or do I charter one when I need it? While the answer may seem straightforward, delving into it requires a careful consideration of how you intend to utilize your jet, its frequency of use, and the associated costs.

In simple terms, private aircraft ownership offers unparalleled flexibility and time efficiency for its owner. On the other hand, chartering a flight is the more economical choice between the two. So, which option is the best fit for you? Let's break it down, and by the end of this article, you might find yourself making a more informed decision.

Ownership versus charter?

What are the basic differences between the two? Put simply, in one scenario, you own a plane, while in the other, you're essentially renting, much like you would any other vehicle. The difference is, that when you’re purchasing a private jet, you have complete control over it. Opting for a new jet allows you to influence its layout, customize it to your liking, and more. You can schedule flights at your convenience or choose to charter the plane out.

Meanwhile, if you’re chartering an airplane, you’re renting it for a specific trip. Which means you have to choose from the planes on offer. However, this provides an additional layer of flexibility in choosing a specific type of jet that suits your needs. This encompasses considerations such as size, passenger capacity, and available amenities.

What’s the difference in costs?

Well, the difference between owning and renting a jet is substantial. When it comes to acquiring a private jet, the upfront investment is significant, reaching into the millions, even for pre-owned jets. Depending on the type of jet you plan to purchase that price tag can soar into the tens of millions of dollars. And that's solely addressing the acquisition cost. Additionally, you have to factor in the operating and running expenses, maintenance, insurance, crew salaries, and the cost of securing a hangar where you’ll keep your private aircraft when you’re not using it. Overall that sum could add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a year.

Now if you’re chartering a private jet all of those costs become significantly lowered since you don’t have to purchase the jet or cover the operating costs. These responsibilities fall on the owner of the jet or the chartering company. In this case, you’re either paying a per-hour rate or per-flight, depending on your needs.

Flexibility

As we’ve already mentioned one of the main perks of owning a private jet is the flexibility it offers. It’s always at your disposal depending on how often you need it and if you’re not chartering it out, or unless it's undergoing maintenance. But even in those cases, it's easy to plan around these time hurdles. However, one thing to keep in mind is that when you purchase a jet you need to account for your most regular use case (number of passengers, distances you want to fly). Because you cannot shrink or enlarge the jet to fit more people or to lower the operating costs.

On the other hand, when it comes to charters your flexibility diminishes when it comes to timing your flights. If you’re trying to charter a jet during peak seasons such as the summer holidays, major sporting events, or prolonged weekends you will have to make do with what’s on offer and adapt to the available departure times. However, you have more flexibility to pick a jet that suits the needs of your current trip. If you’re going on along flight with more passengers you can opt for a bigger more comfortable jet, if it’s just a short-haul flight with a handful of people, you can save on expenses and pick a light jet.  

So, what’s better?

As we’ve mentioned before, it isn’t about which one is the obvious choice rather than which one is the best choice for you.  It comes down to answering several questions:

Do you fly hundreds of hours per year? Do you want complete control of you over customizing your jet?  Do you need to have access to a plane at short notice? If you answered yes, then you’d probably be best suited to owning a private jet. If you’re not that heavy of flyer and don’t want to deal with operating costs and the responsibilities that stem from owning a jet, then chartering is the better choice for you.  

Marian Jancarik - Jetron’s Managing Director.

Marian Jancarik

JETRON’s Managing director
Marian is more than 20 years in aviation. You can read about his career path here. In his free time, Marian loves to play golf, ski and spend some quality time with family and friends.

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