Private jet on a foggy runway
Private jet on a foggy runwayIs flying privately the right choice for you? We take a look at the cost and benefits of choosing a private jet charter.

What Does It Cost to Charter a Private Jet?

Whether you’re a senior executive or an A-list celebrity, a private jet charter represents the most cost-effective and flexible way of flying by private jet without the upfront and recurring costs associated with ownership. We take a look at the benefits of private jet hire and the various factors that contribute to the cost of a private charter.

What are the benefits of chartering a private aircraft?

While it may be tempting to buy your own private jet charter, chartering is a far better option for most travellers, especially if you only fly a few times a year. Chartering offers all the benefits of owning a private jet without the recurring costs and hassles that come with owning a private plane. In addition, chartering allows you to select the aircraft that suits your specific requirements every time you fly.

Whether you’re flying to the Hamptons with your family or taking your whole boardroom overseas, the most cost-effective plane for the journey will be very different each time. Thankfully, because private planes come in a wide range of sizes, you can choose one that is just right for your specific flight. 

The size of the aircraft, whether it’s a light, mid-size, or heavy jet, will define how many passengers and how much luggage can be accommodated, as well as the distance the plane can fly without having to refuel.

Another benefit of chartering a private jet is the luxurious comfort and amenities that many private jets offer. If you choose a mid-size or heavy jet, there are typically large leather seats and plenty of cabin space for you to enjoy and unwind during the flight. 

Private jet aircraft can also land at remote airports that aren’t accessible by commercial aircraft, meaning you can arrive at and depart from an airport closer to your final destination. 

But how much will all of this cost you? Let’s take a look.

How is the cost of a private jet charter flight calculated?

A number of factors contribute to charter plane costs. These include:

Size of the aircraft

As a rule of thumb, charter flights on smaller aircraft are cheaper. That said, not all small aircraft charters cost the same — some high-end, luxury light jets can be as expensive to charter as mid-size jets, and not all heavy jets or executive jet flights come with the same price tag.

The total number of passengers

Cessna Citation jet
Cessna Citation jet

A number of factors contribute to charter plane costs. These include:

Size of the aircraft

As a rule of thumb, charter flights on smaller aircraft are cheaper. That said, not all small aircraft charters cost the same — some high-end, luxury light jets can be as expensive to charter as mid-size jets, and not all heavy jets or executive jet flights come with the same price tag.

The total number of passengers

Charter flight prices are calculated according to the aircraft and the route you’re flying — not per passenger. So, if you’re travelling in a group, you’ll end up paying less per head for your private jet charter flight. Bear in mind, though, that smaller aircraft seat fewer passengers, which means there’s an upper limit on the amount you can save by travelling with friends.

You also need to keep in mind that the total number of passengers you fly with will influence the overall cost of a private jet charter flight. This is because the combined weight of the passengers and their luggage will affect the amount of fuel needed to reach your destination. 

The distance you travel

Gulfstream jet
Gulfstream jet

Another factor to consider when determining how much it would cost to charter a private jet is the distance you’ll travel. A longer flight means higher fuel costs, so a 40-minute hop from Montreal to Ottawa will usually be less expensive than a three-hour flight from Calgary to Los Angeles.

Aircraft availability

A number of factors, such as the time of year, how long you book in advance, and your travel destination, could affect the number of aircraft that are available and the price you pay for a private charter. During high-demand periods you’re likely to pay more for a private jet charter than you would during the off-season.

Other contributing factors

When you charter a private jet, the final cost will also include airport handling fees, crew salaries, crew expenses, airport landing fees, handling fees and passenger taxes. 

What are the different classes of private planes?

There are different classes of private jets to cater to each traveller’s needs. Here’s what you need to know about each class of private plane:


Turboprops are the smallest class of private plane and are powered by propellers instead of the jet engines you’d find in even the smallest light jets. These aircraft still offer good speeds and are fuel efficient when used for regional flights. Additionally, they offer a number of other benefits over their jet engine counterparts, such as being able to use non-concrete and shorter runways and generally being cheaper to charter. 

Turboprops are ideal for smaller groups of up to 12 passengers, with smaller turboprops  such as the Beechcraft King Air 100 catering for six to eight people, while larger turboprops such as the Cessna 208 Grand Caravan are able to transport a maximum of 12 passengers.

Light jets

Light jets generally provide the cheapest private jet flights and accommodate between four and six passengers with little luggage. For example, you could take a short hop on a small aircraft such as the Citation Mustang, but if you’re travelling with more luggage in tow and need a larger plane, the cost will naturally increase. An hour-long flight from Las Vegas to Los Angeles on a light jet such as the Cessna Citation CJ3 or the Phenom 300 would increase the cost of your trip since you’ll be flying a longer distance in a larger aircraft.

Mid-size to heavy jets

Save on the cost of a regular charter with Empty Legs
Save on the cost of a regular charter with Empty Legs

As the planes enter the mid-size to super-mid-size category, prices will increase in order to cover additional costs and the benefits these aircraft provide. 

For example, a 1.5-hour flight from Los Angeles to Aspen in a Cessna Citation X, which falls under the super-mid-size category and accommodates eight passengers will generally cost more than a flight from Vegas to LA in a Citation CJ. 

A longer flight in a similar super-mid-size jet – for example, a three-hour flight from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale in a Gulfstream G200 G280 (nine passengers) – would usually cost more than our previous example. However, a longer flight in a smaller aircraft – for example, a four-hour flight from New York to St Maarten in a mid-size Hawker 800XP – will cost about the same. Naturally, as the flight time increases, so does the cost. 

A long-haul flight, such as New York to London, would likely require a long-range super-mid-size jet, such as the Gulfstream G200 or a heavy jet, such as a Gulfstream G550, depending on how many passengers you have. If you’re looking to spread out for a business meeting, you could go even larger with a luxury executive airliner such as an Airbus A319 or a Boeing BBJ. Of course, these large VIP executive airliners are the top of the line and the price increases accordingly.

Can I save money by using a smaller jet and stopping to refuel?

If you’re wondering if you can save money by chartering a small plane for a long flight and simply stopping to refuel, that is not always the case. Aside from tacking on travel time to your journey, there are additional fees involved with stopping to refuel, so it won’t always save you money. On occasion, this option can be more cost-effective simply because you’re paying for a charter on a smaller jet. This is why, generally speaking, the longer the flight, the larger the plane must be so that it can travel the distance without having to refuel. 

Do you offer empty-leg flights?

There’s an alternative way of booking a private jet if your budget cannot accommodate the regular fees. When Air Charter Service has organised a one-way charter, the aircraft will sometimes be empty when it repositions to its base or when it flies on to another location. This is called an “empty-leg” flight. You can book these flights for a lower cost since the plane would otherwise be flying empty. This works in your favour since you’re able to secure an inexpensive deal while reaping all the benefits of flying in a private plane.

Find out more about private jet charter cost with Air Charter Service

Air Charter Service (ACS) has compiled this FAQ to help you understand the costs associated with private jet charter, regardless of whether you need an individual or group charter

However, if you’d like to know more, please contact us and we’ll provide you with any additional information you may need and a no-obligation quote. Our team is also ready to help you get started with hiring your own private jet. We have more than 30 years of experience in the private charter industry and have grown a global network of more than 30 offices worldwide to help us source the perfect aircraft to suit your travel requirements.


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