Over the past several years, global economic conditions led to record levels of pre-owned private aircraft listed for sale, ranging from smaller, propeller-driven airplanes to the largest, most advanced, and most luxurious intercontinental business jets. This truly resulted in a ‘buyer’s market,’ with purchasers able to select from a high number of quality aircraft, often for comparatively low prices.
If you’re flexible both on when you fly and where you fly, you’ll likely get the best deals, says Trance. Call the company and ask about the cost differences between, say, a Saturday and a Tuesday and see if you can fly into a nearby airport. Fridays and Sundays tend to be the most expensive times to travel, says Justin Sullivan, the co-founder of FLITE Air Taxi. And, of course, last-minute deals can be significant so it may be worth waiting until about 72 hours before you want to fly to find deals, says Trance, though this is, of course, risky.
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).
Fractional ownership of aircraft involves an individual or corporation who pays an upfront equity share for the cost of an aircraft. If four parties are involved, a partner would pay one-fourth of the aircraft price (a "quarter share"). That partner is now an equity owner in that aircraft and can sell the equity position if necessary. This also entitles the new owner to a certain number of hours of flight time on that aircraft, or any comparable aircraft in the fleet. Additional fees include monthly management fees and incidentals such as catering and ground transportation. In the United States, fractional-ownership operations may be regulated by either FAA part 91 or part 135.
Blade, which doesn’t require membership, also sells flights, but only from December through mid-March and on one route, between Westchester County Airport (with or without a helicopter transfer from Manhattan) and its own terminal in Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport. From $1,285 each way, fliers travel on a Bombardier commercial jet retrofitted with 16 seats and receive an array of amenities such as catered meals from Dean & Deluca as well as iPad Pros loaded with first-run movies; they also get accommodations for the weekend at Faena Miami, a luxury beachfront hotel.
Though the early Lockheed Jetstar had four, most production business jets have two jet engines, mostly rear-mounted podded engine. If mounted below their low wing, it wouldn't allow sufficient engine clearance without a too long landing gear. The HondaJet is the exception with its over the wing engine pods. Dassault Falcon still builds three-engine models derived from the Falcon 50, and the very light jet market has seen several single-engine design concepts and the introduction of the Cirrus Vision SF50 in 2016.