Types of Private Jets: Exploring the Different Options for High-End Travel

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Jul 29, 2023

15 min read

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    With seven distinct types of private jets, more options than ever serve the luxury travel market today. Depending on the airplane class, a spectrum of prices, passenger capacities, and amenities exists. 

    From the smallest very light jet (VLJ) class to the largest executive airliners, here are the fundamentals on the types of private planes to help you choose the right one to meet your needs.

    Types of Private Jets 

    The jet marketplace is divided into seven private jet categories, classed according to passenger capacity, mileage range, and aircraft size. 

    Models range from the affordable VLJ models up to the executive VIP airliners that come with a $110 million price tag. The smallest types are perfect for quick regional hops with a handful of people, while the largest can carry an entire sports team (including the associated press corp) halfway around the world.

    The following specs are approximations of what you can expect for each category of jet:

    Type of Private Jet Passenger Capacity Cost Range
    Very Light Jet (VLJ) 4 – 6 $5 – $10 Million 1,000 – 1,300 nm
    Light Jet 5 – 10 $10 – $15 Million 1,000 – 2,000 nm
    Mid-Size Jet 8 – 12 $15 – $20 Million 2,000 – 3,000 nm
    Super Mid-Size Jet 8 – 19 $10 – $25 Million 3,000 – 4,000 nm
    Large Jet 8 – 19 $36 – $50 Million 3,500 – 5,000 nm
    Long-Range Jet 12 – 19 $47 – $80 million 5,000 – 7500 nm
    Executive Airliner 19 – 200 $50 – $110 Million +10,000 nm

    Very Light Jet (VLJ)

    Types of Private Jets

    Sometimes called a personal jet or a microjet, these are the smallest class of private jets, often requiring only a single pilot. This class can accommodate between four to six people and is ideal for short flights of up to 1,300 nautical miles (nm).

    VLJ Models 

    Cost: $5 to $10 million
    Passenger Capacity: 4 to 6 people
    Baggage Capacity: 57 to 70 cu. ft
    Range: 1,000 to 1,300 nm
    Other Features:
    • Executive seating with tables
    • Fully enclosed lavatory
    • Advanced entertainment system
    • Limited galley

    Light Jet

    Light Jet

    More room, more people, and longer range differentiate the light jet from the VLJ. These small private jets are perfect for regional travel for between five to ten people, and they can range upwards of 2,000 nm. 

    Light Jet Models

    Cost: $10 to $15 million
    Passenger Capacity: 5 to 10 people
    Baggage Capacity: 40 to 85 cu. ft
    Range: 1,000 to 2,000 nm
    • Cessna Citation Ultra, Encore
    • Bombardier LearJet 31 and up
    • Embraer Phenom 300
    Other Features:
    • Executive seating with tables
    • Fully enclosed lavatory
    • Advanced entertainment system
    • Limited galley
    • Wifi

    Mid-Size Private Jet

    private jet categories Mid-Size Private Jet

    If there were ever a standard class for private jets, the mid-size would likely be it. These models are perfect for longer intracontinental flights and shorter international legs. Mid-size jets can fit up to 150 cu. ft. of baggage, plus up to 12 people depending on configuration.

    Mid-Size Models

    Cost: $15 to $20 million
    Passenger Capacity: 8 to 12 people
    Baggage Capacity: 65 cu. Ft to 150 cu. ft.
    Range: 2,000 to 3,000 nm
    • Cessna Citation Latitude
    • Bombardier Learjet 40 and up 
    • Embraer Legacy 450, Predator 500
    Other Features:
    • Executive seating with tables
    • Fully enclosed lavatory
    • Advanced entertainment system
    • Full-service galley
    • Wifi

    Super Mid-Size Jet

    Super Mid-Size Jet

    Super mid-size jets build off the specs of the mid-size category but expand the possible private jet range by upwards of 1,000 additional nm. In many cases, upgrading to a super midsize model allows for long-range transcontinental flights of seven hours or more. 

    This private jet class does not have a separate master bedroom or dining area as you would see in a larger jet, but they still cater to long-haul voyages with enhanced seating options for work, dining, or relaxation.  

    Super Mid-Size Models

    Cost: $10 to $25 million
    Passenger Capacity: 8 to 19 people
    Baggage Capacity: 100 to 120 cu. ft.
    Range: 3,000 to 4,000 nm
    • Gulfstream G280
    • Cessna Citation Sovereign
    • Bombardier Challenger 300 and up
    Other Features:
    • Executive seating with tables
    • Enhanced lavatory
    • Advanced entertainment system
    • Full-service galley
    • Wifi

    Large Jet

    Large Jet

    Large jets are a class that seats upwards of 19 passengers in addition to considerable baggage capacity. With the large models, you’ll start to see advanced amenities including full-service lavatories with showers, separate crew areas, and private meeting spaces.

    Large Models 

    Cost: $35 million to $50 million
    Passenger Capacity: 8 to 19 people
    Baggage Capacity: 131 to 175 cu. ft.
    Range: 3,500 to 5,000 nm
    • Cessna Citation 700 Longitude 
    • Dassault Falcon 2000 Series (S, DX, EX, LX, LXS)
    • Gulfstream G500
    Other Features:
    • Multiple executive workstations
    • Enhanced lavatory with shower
    • Advanced entertainment system
    • Full-service galley
    • Separate meeting and/or dining areas
    • Separate crew rest area and lavatory

    Long-Range Jet

    Long-Range Jet

    Unsurprisingly, the key distinction between large jet models and long-range models is the range. Long-range jets are perfect for intercontinental travel because of a much greater flight time. Fly in comfort from New York to Dubai or Los Angeles to Hong Kong nonstop with a long-range jet.

    Long-Range Models 

    Cost: $47 to 80 million
    Passenger Capacity: 12 to 19 people
    Baggage Capacity: 140 to 195 cu. ft.
    Range: 5,000 to 7,500 nm
    • Dassault Falcon, models 7X and up
    • Gulfstream, models G550 and up
    • Bombardier Global, models 5500 and up
    Other Features:
    • Multiple executive workstations
    • Advanced entertainment system
    • Full-service galley
    • Separate meeting and/or dining areas
    • Separate bedroom and master bathroom
    • Separate crew rest area and lavatory 

    Executive or VIP Airliners

    private jet planes VIP Airliners

    Frequently called business airliners, or bizliners, this class of jet caters to the upper echelons of the world’s elite. Bizliners cater to VIPs (heads of state, sports teams, royal families) who travel internationally between large transport hubs. 

    These private jets can fly nonstop between almost any two cities in the world. They come with unprecedented onboard amenities, with ample space for everyone including a press corp.

    Executive Models

    Cost: $53 million to more than $110 million
    Passenger Capacity: 19 to more than 200 people, dependant on configuration
    Baggage Capacity: 195 cu.ft
    Range: +10,000 nm
    • Boeing Business Jet Max Series
    • Bombardier Global Series
    • Airbus Corporate Jet Series
    Other Features:
    • Multiple executive workstations
    • Top-of-the-line entertainment system
    • Full-service galley
    • Separate meeting and/or entertainment areas
    • King-size stateroom and master bathroom
    • Separate crew rest area and lavatory 

    Cost Comparison Between Different Types of Private Jets

    Are you comparing the cost of different private jet models? You’ll need to look beyond the sticker price. Private jet cost considerations include everything from the upfront purchase price to the long-term costs associated with owning, maintaining, and operating a plane. 

    Beyond the purchase price, you’ll want to appraise hangarage, insurance, crew size, operational expense, management fees, and more.

    Private Jet Price

    Fundamentally, a private jet cost comparison starts with purchase price. The larger and newer the airplane, the higher the sticker price. Very light jet models are the cheapest brand-new private jets on the market today, with the HondaJet HA-24 often cited as the most affordable, priced at roughly $5-8 million depending on various factors like year, options and upgrades. 

    Many private jet owners shop on the used market. On average, used private jets can cost 50 percent less than a brand-new model, but prices vary depending on condition and miles logged.

    For example, if the new HondaJet costs $5 million today, you can find a used jet for anywhere between $2.5 to $4 million. On AVBuyer, a marketplace for buying and selling private jets, the most affordable listed was the Bombardier LearJet 35A (1981) at $400,000, with a Gulfstream G500 (2022) sitting at the other end of the spectrum, listed at $44.9 million.

    There are, of course, alternatives to full ownership. Volato’s Fractional Ownership program offers all the benefits of full aircraft ownership at a fraction of the cost. Think unlimited hours, a revenue share, and the prestige of a new fleet, from a full ownership share to an 8th or a 16th of a full share as well as other share sizes.

    Hangarage Costs

    On top of the list price, private jets also require storage. Consider this the parking price for your private jet. The larger the aircraft and the more prestigious the parking space, the higher the hangarage costs. 

    At the upper end, owners may choose to buy or build a private hangar, while others may find it more cost-effective to rent hangar space. 

    Hangarage costs range from millions for a custom-built private hanger to a few hundred dollars monthly for a small hangar rental at a secondary airport.

    Operational Expenses

    Like any vehicle, every private jet comes with ongoing operational expenses, including fuel, maintenance, and insurance. Plus, you’ll need to cover crew costs as well. Jet size, range, and fuel efficiency all impact the ongoing costs of fuel. 

    For example, a small private jet like the HondaJet has a fuel capacity of roughly 400 gallons, compared with a Gulfstream G280, which can hold upwards of 2,100 gallons. With the largest models, you can expect to pay $30,000 or more (depending on fuel prices) to fill.

    Insurance is another major consideration. According to Flying Mag, the industry standard is 14 percent of hull value, with rates starting at roughly $10,000 a year. With the largest and newest models, insurance will be as much as $500,000 a year.

    Finally, you’ll have to think about ongoing crew costs. At the bare minimum, a crew entails two pilots. Longer flights on larger aircraft require additional flight attendants to assist passengers. An overnight crew on a mid-size jet within the US is roughly $750 per trip, while a full-time crew for a larger model may cost upwards of $200,000 a year, as per Flying Mag.

    Choosing the Right Type of Private Jet 

    With dozens of types of private planes on the market, there are no rules for how to choose the right private jet. The decision should be based on your unique needs and intended use. 

    In many ways, the decision process leading up to a private jet purchase looks a lot like buying a new vehicle. It’s just on a slightly different scale.

    The following factors should all be taken into consideration:

    • Intended use
    • Required range
    • Passenger capacity
    • Baggage capacity
    • Onboard amenities
    • Safety track record
    • Budget

    With that in mind, here are a few options for business, leisure, and long-haul trips:

    The Best Private Jet for Business Travel

    For short-haul trips for small teams traveling up to three hours, the HondaJet is the most fuel-efficient model on the market today. It offers luxurious executive seating, a quieter cabin, and full galley for in-flight refreshments.

    The Best Private Jet for Leisure Trips 

    Taking you further is the Gulfstream G280, a super mid-size jet that can fit upwards of 10 passengers and travel for up to eight hours. With a premium-service galley, enhanced lavatory, and best-in-class storage, this is the best way to arrive at your designation in style.

    The Best Private Jet for Long-Haul Flights

    Flying more than 5,000 nm? The best long-haul model is undoubtedly the Bombardier Global Series for anyone needing private transcontinental travel. With a range of up to 6,600 nm, you can travel between almost any two destinations worldwide.

    Related article: What Does Fractional Jet Ownership Cost? A Transparent Analysis

    Private Jet FAQs

    What type of jet is a private jet?

    A private jet moves small groups of people from point A to point B, but it offers much more flexibility and privacy than what is afforded by more traditional airlines.

    Private jets, still frequently referred to as corporate or business jets because of their long association with executive travel, are increasingly used for pleasure and travel by private individuals rather than strictly a vehicle for business travelers.
    Unlike the jets owned by the likes of American Airlines or Delta, private jets are owned by individuals or smaller companies which offers private charters, private jet membership opportunities, and fractional ownership.

    What is a common private jet?

    Globally, there are only a handful of aviation companies building jets. Bombardier, Boeing, Embraer, Honda, Gulfstream, and Cessna are a few of the most common names you’ll see. 

    For light jets, you’ll find the HondaJet HA-24 and the Cessna Citation M2 dominating the market. In the mid-size jet category, Gulfstream and Cessna are the most prevalent brands, including the Gulfstream G280 and the Cessna Citation XLS.

    In the executive jet category, you’ll see Bombardier’s Global Series and the Boeing Business Jet series are the most popular. Both lines are capable of trans-oceanic flights and can host large groups of people in comfort.

    What is the best private jet for long-haul flights?

    Long-haul flights, defined as any flight over six hours or 3,000 nm (although the specifics depend on region and airline), are only possible with super mid-size and above jet models.

    Boeing builds executive jets with the longest private jet range, including the Boeing Business Jet 77X and the 787, which can easily cover over 10,000 nm in a single flight. Next in line is Bombardier’s Global Series, designed to travel more than 7,000 nm nonstop.

    At the more affordable end of the long-haul private jet class sits the Gulfstream G650 (and up). These models can cover over 7,500 nm or more.

    Are light jets suitable for international travel?

    A typical light jet has a maximum range of 2,500 nm, which means they aren’t suitable for transatlantic or transpacific international travel. 

    With a shorter range than larger types of private jets, light jets are considered ideal for regional travel — from Los Angeles to Phoenix or Ft. Lauderdale to Houston, as examples.

    How many passengers can a mid-size jet accommodate?

    A mid-size private jet, like the Bombardier Learjet 60 or the Cessna Citation Longitude, can comfortably seat six to eight passengers. Mid-size jets also offer more baggage capacity and a longer range than light or VLJ. Because they can comfortably carry upwards of eight passengers, many consider them the best private jets for business travel.

    It’s time to upgrade to the super mid-size private jet category for longer trips, more space, or more passengers. The Gulfstream G280 can easily accommodate ten passengers and enjoys a range of 3,600 nm. 

    Which private jet has the longest range?

    Two companies dominate the long-range jet market: Boeing and Bombardier.

    The Boeing Business Jet 777X and the Boeing Business Jet 787 have ranges of 11,645 nm and 9,945 nm, respectively. The 777X’s range is so spectacular that it covers half the earth’s circumference, providing nonstop travel from Beijing to Santiago or Seattle to Dubai.

    Sitting just below the range of the Boeing Business Jets are the Bombardier Global Series. As an example, the Bombardier Global 8000 has a range of 8,000 nm, hitting speeds of up to Mach 0.94, the fastest in corporate jet aviation. 

    What are the top luxury amenities offered in private jets?

    The sky is, quite literally, the limit when it comes to the luxury amenities possible on a private jet. And the luxuries go far beyond more legroom and better onboard lavatories than business class travel affords. The world of private jet travel caters entirely to the highly personal needs of the owner.

    Think of a master suite with a full ensuite bathroom, large closets, and ample space for entertainment and dining. Many of the top-end models aim to replicate the experience of a superyacht, including state-of-the-art technologies, art installations, and bespoke interior designs.

    How far can private jets fly?

    The jet with the longest range today is the Boeing Business Jet 777x, with a range of 11,645 nm. This allows you to easily travel between any two cities in the world without the need to stop and refuel.

    Outside of the top-end long haulers, most private jet models can travel several thousand nautical miles per flight. Again, the exact range depends on make and model, but you should expect the following nautical mile averages for each of the different classes:

    Type of Private Jet Typical Range
    Very Light Jets (VLJ) 1,000 to 1,300 nm
    Light Jets 1,000 to 2,000 nm
    Mid-Size Jets 2,000 to 3,000 nm
    Super Mid-Size Jets 3,000 to 4,000 nm
    Large Jets 3,500 to 5,000 nm
    Long-Range Jets 5,000 to 7,500 nm
    Executive/ VIP Jets +10,000 nm

    The Types of Private Jets: VLJ to Executive Bizliners

    While there may be only a handful of companies building private jets, there are essentially unlimited options within each class type. 

    For the executive flying between bicoastal meetings, the family looking to travel on their own terms, or the corporate group requiring in-flight business services, there is a model perfectly suited to your unique needs. 

    Not ready for the commitment of full ownership? Volato is a global leader in fractional private jet ownership. With our innovative solutions, you’ll reap the benefits of private jets, like unlimited hours, unlimited days, and a revenue share, for a fraction of the cost.

    Fly Volato. Book a flight today.

    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.

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