Buying a private jet, be it for private or commercial use, is a significant commitment made up of time and money. However, it can bring with it a plethora of benefits.
Flexible itineraries, minimal restrictions and the ability to just up and go without having to deal with any queues are among just some of the advantages when taking to the sky in luxury.
However, buying a private jet is not like buying a new car – various matters require careful consideration. Whether you are a first-time buyer or an experienced aircraft owner, there are some crucial dos and don’ts to remember when buying a private jet.
When thinking about buying a private jet there are a number of fundamental questions you should ask yourself, including:
• What is your maximum budget, including the purchase price and ongoing operation?
• How do you propose to purchase your aircraft? Will you require finance or are you a cash purchaser?
• Where do you intend to operate the aircraft – geographical locations?
• What sized aircraft do you require to meet your needs and objectives?
• How many passengers are likely to travel at any one time?
• How much luggage are you likely to travel with and will you need additional space for larger bags or specialized equipment?
Are you buying a new aircraft?
In the world of aviation, the registration of your aircraft is very important. If you are buying a new aircraft, it is crucial to consider where you intend to operate said aircraft. Ensure that you choose a reputable registry, in a politically and socially stable country to ensure ease of movement when travelling.
A new aircraft is likely to require less maintenance that a pre-owned aircraft. A new aircraft also affords the ability to choose your aircraft specifications and take advantage of the latest innovation and technologies available.
Are you buying an older aircraft?
If you are looking to purchase a pre-owned aircraft, you need to consider where it is currently registered and whether you are likely to want to change it. Does the existing register permit you to transfer the registration and will your desired register accept?
An older aircraft may be cheaper but maintenance costs could be higher in the long-term. It is possible that it will also have less fuel efficiency and older equipment on-board.
Think about it – if you are looking at an aircraft that you have never flown on before, how do you know that it will be the right aircraft for you?
It is recommended that you charter a variety of models and manufacturers to a destination that you are likely to travel to (as ‘demo flights’), in order to get a feel for the different cabin sizes, interiors, technology and noise levels whilst in flight. This way you can gain an idea of what you like and what you do not, without the commitment.
Buying an aircraft is a complex process, but it does not have to be difficult. Engaging the right advisors who have the expertise and experience, to consult, guide and assist you through the aircraft acquisition process from start to finish is necessary.
It is highly recommended to work with a representative that understands your needs and requirements, your budget, who can source aircraft worldwide, negotiate the best prices and ultimately close the deal. When it comes to the aviation market, experience matters.
When it comes to crewing your aircraft, you MUST find experienced crew – it is fundamental to ensuring maximum safety in flight.
There are many things to factor in when looking for the right people for the job, including qualifications, medical history, training records, service history and any cultural aspects.
That said, there is no need to feel overwhelmed. There are dedicated agencies who will ensure the right crew with the right knowledge, experience and training for your specific aircraft type.
It is not just how it looks from the outside; it is also how it looks on the inside.
Although naturally we gravitate towards aesthetically pleasing details of an aircraft, it is important not to have your decision determined by the cosmetics of an older aircraft.
The colour of the paint, materials used, changing soft furnishings or replacing carpets are all things that are relatively simple and inexpensive details to change, compared to the actual purchase of the aircraft.
Changing the cosmetics of an aircraft is also a cost-effective way to tailor the jet to your own individual taste.
It is easy to get carried away from time to time, but when buying a jet it is crucial to ensure that you steer clear of your emotions and keep your feet firmly on the ground, so that your emotions don’t affect your decision-making.
Aircraft are a sizeable investment so it is vital to remember the core factors – your needs, your budget, frequency of use and that bigger is not always better.
For example, buying a fast jet only to realise that the operating costs, i.e. fuel and insurance, are higher than a smaller jet that may have been more suited to your needs or you would not buy a long-range aircraft if wanting to land at destinations that have short runways. These could be big mistakes in the long-term.
The costs of purchasing and owning an aircraft can add up quite considerably in a short space of time. However, cutting corners on a pre-purchase inspection could leave you grounded in the future, should issues arise that you were not aware of from the outset.
The inspection effectively opens a window on an aircraft’s history back to when it first rolled out of the factory, and during which the assigned mechanic will review the aircraft’s logbooks to ensure that its engines, airframe and maintenance records are complete and up to date.
Having a budget is crucial but it is not only about how much you have to spend. You should also think about how long you are looking to keep the aircraft, in addition to fuel and pilot costs.
It is a good idea to understand your requirements fully to ensure that you are not buying something that you will end up not using. For example, an aircraft with a bedroom and bathroom with shower facilities, if you only plan to do short intercity flights.
Entering the world of aircraft ownership is an exciting time but you must remember it is different to purchasing a smaller asset.
Aviation is a highly complex and regulated industry. Understanding your needs is essential, considering things such as safety, comfort, practicality and performance is imperative and seeking guidance from the right professionals in the industry is necessary – these will make the fundamental difference between a pleasant or stressful buying experience.