The Private Jet category encompasses a wide variety of aircraft, of many different sizes and capabilities ranging from aircraft optimized for relatively short-range regional travel, to large cabin aircraft able to traverse entire continents and oceans. These aircraft are manufactured by worldwide companies including Beechcraft, Bombardier, Cessna, Dassault Aviation, Embraer, Gulfstream, Hawker, Learjet, and Pilatus. Additionally, Airbus and Boeing build exclusive, private variants of many of the same aircraft operated by commercial airlines throughout the world.
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.”
Purchasing a private aircraft immediately opens a variety of possibilities for business owners, entrepreneurs and sport or entertainment celebrities. Private aircraft allow owners to traverse vast distances quickly, and on their schedule, without the burdens and inconvenience of modern commercial airline travel. In fact, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) likens the use of a private plane to a "time machine allowing you to get to where you need to be directly, efficiently and at a reasonable cost."
Aircraft leases are often used by private aircraft operators, as leases provide the same level of access to an aircraft that ownership provides, without the capital expenditure buying a business jet requires. Leases are offered in two main forms: wet leasing, normally used for short-term access; and dry leasing, typically used for longer term leases. Under wet leases, flight crews are provided in tandem with the aircraft, while operators of dry leased aircraft supply their own crews. Combination wet-dry leases may also be offered, as when an aircraft is wet leased to establish service, and once an in-house flight crew is trained, switched to a dry lease.
On 1 April 2017, there were 22,368 business jets in the worldwide fleet, of which 11.2% were for sale. 5-year old aircraft residual value level is at a 56% of the list price. A new business aircraft depreciate by 50% in five years before depreciation flattens between years 10 and 15, and the owner of a 15 to 20 years old is often the last, matching luxury cars.