Buying a private jet can free you up to fly comfortably and conveniently whenever you like and wherever you need to go. The prospect is attractive, especially as commercial air travel grows more exhausting year after year. Travelling through FBOs instead of dealing with airport crowds, knowing your pilots and cabin crew, and having the cabin all to yourself to conduct business meetings are significant advantages of private jet ownership that can make the investment worthwhile.
First-time buyers will naturally have questions about finding, buying and operating their aircraft.
Here are the ten most common questions we’ve come across:
What jet model is right for you?
While there are many attractive private jet models in the market, the best way to find the right aircraft is to look closely at your flight plans. To make purchasing a private jet worthwhile, you should fly at least 240 hours per year. You may have certain cities you fly between most often, and you may most frequently fly on business or personal trips with family. Those factors define your typical mission, which helps identify the right aircraft. For example, a light jet model might be a good choice if you often fly short journeys alone or with a business partner. If you need more passengers onboard or tend to travel with a lot of luggage, you may need an aircraft in the medium or large jet category. Keep in mind that larger jets can only take off and land in airports with adequate airstrips. That will limit the city pairs you fly. If you must often pass through smaller airports, you’ll want to confirm that the aircraft model you’re considering can land and take off from there.
Should you buy a new jet or a pre-owned jet?
Beyond the initial purchase price, several factors can drive your decision whether to buy a new jet or a pre-owned jet. A new plane from the OEM will have the latest updates available for that model and be ready to fly, but the lead time for some models can be considerably longer than acquiring a pre-owned jet. A pre-owned jet may need some repairs or updates identified in the pre-buy inspection, and you can make some changes and upgrades to the cabin, which will add cost and extend the time before it is ready to fly. The decision will depend on your priorities, but you shouldn’t feel pressured to purchase. Take the time to make a decision you’ll be happy with for the long term. Often, it can be more economical to charter flights while you wait for the new jet of your dreams to come out of the factory. You can also charter flights while you wait for your pre-owned aircraft to be fully updated and customised to your preferences.
What features do you need most?
Knowing what features you need when you fly can help narrow down the range of jet models you should consider or upgrades to plan for a pre-owned plane. For example, if you tend to fly longer flights or with large groups, you may prioritise an aircraft with a fully enclosed lavatory and sink. Not all private jets offer this amenity. If you work onboard, you may need reliable, fast internet access throughout the flight and a large screen for presentations. If you travel with family and friends, you may want a suite of entertainment options onboard, with various programming, music and sound systems. If you plan to have hot catering onboard, you’ll need to equip the galley for food preparation. Your jet should meet your travel requirements, but some features won’t fit specific aircraft. The more features you add, the higher the aircraft's weight, which affects certification. You’ll want to get advice on what you can realistically install on the model that best suits your travel requirements.
How can you take your plane for a test flight?
Before making up your mind, book a charter flight to take a test flight on your top choice and even your second choice of jets. Pay close attention to all the features onboard and the flight experience to ensure the aircraft suits your needs.
How can you find the right flight crew?
As soon as you’ve narrowed your choice of aircraft, you may want to start recruiting a flight crew. There are specialised recruiting agencies who will help you find qualified flight and cabin crew candidates. Your pilots can offer valuable insights into the flight deck, and the cabin crew can advise on galley design to suit your catering needs.
Should you arrange hangarage or contract an aircraft management company?
You must keep your aircraft securely stored and maintained in flight-ready conditions when you are not flying. Some jet owners lease hangar space, while others may build their own hangar. Another option is to keep your jet with an aircraft management company that can be responsible for the care and maintenance of your jet. Some aircraft management companies offer crew assignment, FBO arrangements, fuel, routine maintenance, and more.
Should you offer your jet for charter?
Some aircraft owners offset the cost of ownership by putting their jets up for charter flights during their downtime. Consult a knowledgeable advisor before taking this step. Jet owners should consider whether they are comfortable with their aircraft's requirements and potential wear and tear and be satisfied with the return on investment.
Do you need a pre-buy inspection?
If you are considering a pre-owned aircraft, you should arrange a pre-buy inspection so you are clear on what maintenance issues may need fixing before your plane can be certified to fly safely. An experienced broker can help you arrange the inspection. If you already have a nearby maintenance facility in mind to support your operations, they can inspect the pre-owned jet.
What regulatory/jurisdictional requirements are there?
While there are a lot of commonalities between aviation regulations worldwide, countries have different aviation authorities that will have the final say on the requirements for safe aircraft operations. You will want to be familiar with the requirements in your country or aviation region to ensure your aircraft is certified for operations.
Do you have an expert broker on your side?
Other legal, technical and financial factors to consider when purchasing a new aircraft include necessary repairs, financing and insurance. The best way to ensure you’ve ticked all the boxes is to have an expert guide you through the process, from evaluating different options to taking delivery of your new jet. A trustworthy and knowledgeable broker can be an asset and an ally.
LunaSolutions offers first-time jet buyers the guidance they need to complete a successful transaction so they can enjoy their new jet for many years. Do not hesitate to contact us, we will be delighted to help and advise you in this process, and provide you with a tailor-made solution that will meet all your needs.