All About Range: How Far Can Private Jets Fly?
Nov 7, 2023
15 min read
In the private jet landscape, with only a few manufacturers competing for a small number of global customers, maximum range is one of the major differentiating details. For jet setters, how far private jets can fly matters.
Whether it’s Bombardier, Gulfstream, or Embraer, these major players are all fighting to increase the maximum range of private jets. Aerospace engineers are continually pushing private jet travel limits with every new release, and today, the largest jets are hitting ranges of well over 5,000 nm.
So, how far can private jets fly? Here is a breakdown of factors impacting range, including specifics for each class and popular models.
Factors Affecting Maximum Private Jet Range
From very light jets to executive airliners, there are, in total, seven classes of private jets. Classes are defined by passenger capacity, range, and actual aircraft size. Generally speaking, the larger the aircraft, the more fuel it can carry and the longer its range.
Related to class is total fuel capacity. A HondaJet, which is a very light jet, has a fuel capacity of 3,100 lbs. Compare that with the Gulfstream G280, a super mid-size jet with a fuel capacity that jumps to 14,600 lbs. Fuel capacity math is simple: The more fuel on board, the longer a jet can fly and the further it can travel.
While you may have a certain degree of control over jet class and, therefore, fuel capacity, you can never control the weather. Winds, heavy rain, and even temperature can impact engine efficiency. Challenging environmental conditions mean the engines work harder and burn more fuel, thereby reducing range.
Payload, the cumulative weight of people and baggage on board, also influences maximum range. The greater the weight, the harder the engines work, and this subsequently lowers the range. For example, the range marketed for a Cessna Citation or an Embraer Phenom 300 is optimized for a specific number of passengers, usually significantly lower than the maximum capacity.
Categories of Private Jets by Range
The following is the breakdown of each class of private jet and the general range expectancy.
Very Light Jets
Very light jet (VLJ) models include the HondaJet, Cessna Citation Mustang, and Embraer Phenom 100. Depending on the model, these jets carry between four to eight passengers and enjoy a range of 1,000 to 1,500 nm.
In the next class, light jets include the Embraer Phenom 300E and the Pilatus PC-24. The typical passenger capacity is between five and ten passengers, and the range is upwards of 2,000 nm.
Next up are the mid-size jets, like the Embraer Praetor 500 and Cessna Citation Latitude, among others. The standard passenger capacity on these jets is up to 12, and the range is now between 2,000 and 3,000 nm.
Super Mid-size Jets
Super mid-size jets include the Gulfstream G280 and Bombardier Challenger 350 models. These options can carry eight to 19 passengers and enjoy a maximum range between 3,000 and 4,000 nm.
Also called large jets, heavy jets like the Cessna Citation 700 Longitude and the Dassault Falcon 2000 Series have a maximum passenger payload of 19. The range for these larger jets is up to 5,000 nm.
Long-range jets, including the Dassault Falcon 7X Gulfstream G550 and Bombardier Global 5500, also can host up to 19 passengers. The range for this class is anywhere between 5,000 to 7,500 nm.
Finally, we have the heavy-hitting executive liners like the Boeing Business Jet Max Series and the Bombardier Global Series. These massive private jets, the largest class of all, can carry anywhere from 19 to 200 passengers depending on design. The range for executive liners is typically well over 10,000 nm.
Technological Advances in Extending Range
According to Aviation Benefits Beyond Borders,
Unlike ground vehicles, which don’t need to be as fuel efficient because they can refuel often, long-distance aircraft must carry all their fuel on board. It is expensive, heavy and takes up significant storage. Its weight limits the range of an aircraft and it needs to be stored in tanks which affect the wing size and reduce the maximum load.AVBBB
Therefore, most technological advances to extend a private jet’s range focus on improving fuel efficiency, i.e., striving to stretch fuel further. Even in the future, with skies filled with electric private jets, improvements will always be able to make a battery’s capacity go further.
What does this technological advance look like in practice? Let’s take the HondaJet, for example. Since releasing the first edition, they have continuously improved the avionics, engine, and fuselage design to increase the range. While the HondaJet HA-420 had a range of 1,223 nm, the new Elite II now has a max range of 1,547 nm.
Even subtle changes to an aircraft’s hull or wing shape can dramatically change the effect of wind and drag on the aircraft. Paired with more fuel-efficient engines, the private jets of today have measurably better range then even those released two decades ago.
How to Optimize Private Jet Range
Passengers and Payload
One of the most significant impacts on the maximum range is payload, including all passengers, crew, and baggage. You’ll notice that most private jet brochures discuss the range for a specific number of passengers, and that number is usually much lower than the cabin’s capacity.
For example, the Citation Longitude can technically carry 12 passengers, but its range (3,500 nm) is quoted at only four passengers. That’s quite a big difference.
The more weight you add, whether from baggage or additional passengers, the less fuel you can load. Therefore, there is a direct relationship between payload and total range.
Weather and wind also affect range. The more turbulent and disruptive the weather, the harder the engines work to maintain course. Also, the direction and strength of the wind will either work with or against the flight course.
No matter the jet’s maximum range, it’s always possible to add extra fuel stops.
While nonstop is typically the preferred approach, a pitstop for fuel on a private jet is a much more streamlined experience than a layover or fuel stop on a commercial flight. No waiting in line for the fuel truck or the control tower to approve a taxi back to the runway—a private jet fuel stop is usually a quick one.
But with that said, any fuel stop will add at least an hour to your trip time to land, fuel, and takeoff again.
How Far Can Private Jets Fly: Comparative Analysis
While private jet class is one of the largest influences on range, you’ll notice that even within each class, there is some variability as well. For those researching ownership, range is often one of the most critical deciding factors between models.
|HondaJet Elite II||Very Light Jet||1,547 nm|
|Cessna Citation Mustang||Very Light Jet||1,550 nm|
|Embraer Phenom 300E||Light Jet||2,000 nm|
|Pilatus PC-24||Light Jet||2,000 nm|
|Embraer Praetor 500||Mid-size Jet||3,340 nm|
|Cessna Citation Latitude||Mid-size Jet||2,700 nm|
|Gulfstream G280||Super Mid-size Jet||3,600 nm|
|Bombardier Challenger 350||Super Mid-size Jet||3,200 nm|
|Cessna Citation Longitude||Large (Heavy) Jet||3,500 nm|
|Dassault Falcon 2000 LXS||Large (Heavy) Jet||4,000 nm|
|Gulfstream G550||Long-Range Jet||6,750 nm|
|Dassault Falcon 900LX||Long-Range Jet||4,750 nm||Bombardier Global 8000||Ultra Long-Range Jet||8,000 nm|
Can private jets fly long distances?
The maximum range of private jets depends on the class and specific model. While a VLJ may travel upwards of 1,500 nm, that pales in comparison to an executive liner, which can fly more than 10,000 nm.
Can a private jet fly for 12 hours?
Only the largest classes, the ultra-long-range and executive liners, have the fuel capacity to fly for 12 hours non-stop without fueling.
How long can a private jet fly without refueling?
It all boils down to jet class, make and model, payload, and weather conditions. While a mid-size jet can go four to six hours nonstop, a large jet can fly for ten or more.
How far can a private jet fly (km)?
Not everyone works in nautical miles or hours to measure distance. Here is the breakdown on each class and how far it can fly as estimated in kilometers:
- Very Light Jet: up to 2,770 km
- Light Jet: up to 3704 km
- Mid-size Jet: up to 5,556 km
- Super Mid-size: up to 7,408 km
- Large Jet: up to 9,260 km
- Long-Range Jet: up to 13,890 km
- Executive Airliner: over 18,520 km
The private aviation sector is in a relentless pursuit of distance, ranging from compact, very light jets to the mammoth executive airliners. But, the maximum range is more than just a static number tagged onto each model. It’s dynamic, impacted by fuel capacity, payload, weather, and more.
With a fleet of private jet options, let us help you navigate the sky no matter your destination. Whatever private jet flight distance you have in mind, whether it’s a short hop to Las Vegas or a long-haul flight to New York — let us help you get there.
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Disclaimer: This post is intended for informational purposes only. Volato is not responsible for omissions or inaccuracies in such information, or for data that is no longer accurate due to delay, change in law, rules, or regulations.