The very light jet (VLJ) is a classification initiated by the release of the Eclipse 500, on 31 December 2006, which was originally available at around US$1.5 million, cheaper than existing business jets and comparable with turboprop airplanes. It accompanied a bubble for air taxi services, exemplified by DayJet which ceased operations on September 2008, Eclipse Aviation failed to sustain its business model and filed for bankruptcy in February 2009.
At 102 in (259 cm), the G650ER has the widest cabin yet but should be joined by the Falcon 5X (a Global 5000/G500 competitor) and its replacement, and the 4,500 nmi (8,300 km) Citation Hemisphere in 2021; at 98 in (249 cm), the Global 7000/8000 is wider than the 95 in (241 cm) Global 5000/6000, the same as the Gulfstream G500/G600 and the Canadair Challenger, while the Dassault Falcon 8X is 92 in (234 cm) wide and the G450/G550 88 in (224 cm).
Waiting until the last minute isn’t an option for most travelers, of course. For those whose schedules can’t accommodate a last-minute booking, there are other options, though they can be pricier. West Coast airline Surf Air offers unlimited private plane flights to and from roughly a dozen California and Nevada locales like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Santa Barbara for $1,750 per month (plus a one-time $1000 initiation fee); the airline operates up to 90 flights each day and it added Monterey, Calif., to its list of itineraries on July 13, 2015.
Fliers with flexibility should sign up for empty-leg email lists of companies like Magellan Jets, who regularly send out emails selling discounted flights from, say, the plane of a corporate exec who flew to Los Angeles but is looking to offset his cost of getting the plane back to New York. “I wouldn’t say that the cost of flying private has gone down, but there are new ways of pricing charter that makes it more accessible,” says David Zipkin, co-founder and VP of Tradewind, the service known for semi-private flights in the Northeast and Caribbean. “In our case, we save people money with our shared charters, and we also sell discounted empty legs.”
The key words here are prop planes, turboplanes, and light jets. Prop planes like the Cessna Caravan are popular because they're roomy (the seats are like business class, and often configured face to face). More popular these days are planes like the six- to eight-seater Pilatus PC-12, and KingAirs, which fly faster and feel more like jets. And then you get into light jets like Learjets, Embraer Phenom 300s, and Citation CJ3s, and Hawkers, all of which are sleeker and more streamlined, and can fly for four to five hours, for slightly longer trips.
Purchasing an aircraft is a significant investment. As with any major purchase, private aircraft buyers want to be sure they’re seeing all the available private jets for sale that meet their criteria, so that they can compare the price, configuration and condition of all such currently available private jets for sale worldwide. Moreover, many buyers who plunge into the market without the help of an expert advisor may not even have properly identified the best airplane for their needs, and a buyer can’t make a great deal on the wrong airplane.
Because the cost of a high-end modern private aircraft may be tens of millions of dollars, lending for aircraft purchases is accompanied by a security interest in the aircraft, so that the aircraft may be repossessed in event of nonpayment. It is generally very difficult for borrowers to obtain affordable private unsecured financing of an aircraft purchase, unless the borrower is deemed particularly creditworthy (e.g. an established carrier with high equity and a steady cash flow).
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