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Private jet charter and types of private jets


Private jets are synonymous with the image of wealth, luxury and exclusivity. We hear about celebrities jetting off in their private planes from a shoot in LA to an interview in New York, and top executives and government officials going from continent to continent for important meetings and functions. When you imagine the experience of flying private you probably picture the finely embroidered leather seating, ample legroom, sparkling Champagne and great food, the company of your closest friends and colleagues, and the comfort and privacy to enjoy your flight in whichever way you choose. But thanks to private jet charter being more attainable than ever, you don’t have to be a millionaire or a high profile celebrity to fly private.

While private jet charter offers all these luxuries, and many more, not every private aircraft is able to offer the same things. Some aircraft are too small to have an on-board lavatory or private bedrooms, and some too small to seat a flight attendant; but some jets are also too large to land on certain runways or at smaller airports and cost far too much to charter for a quick city-hop or short-haul flight. You wouldn’t want to charter a 12-seater heavy jet like the Bombardier Challenger 605, for example, for yourself and a few colleagues to make a short one or two hour journey. Firstly, it would cost far more than it should to get you comfortably to your destination, but you also wouldn’t have any time to experience all the luxuries and facilities that a private jet like that has to offer. Instead you would be better off chartering a very light jet like the Cessna Citation Mustang, which is better suited to short-haul flights and would be more cost-effective and still luxurious. The key to private jet charter, and doing it well, is to know what type of private jet best suits your journey and your needs.

In part 1 of this post we will discuss the different types of jets and their amenities, what sets each type of private jet apart, what each type has to offer, and why it is important to know what type of aircraft is best suited to your travels. Private jets can be broken up into 6 basic categories: light jets, super-light jets, mid-size jets, super-mid-size jets, heavy jets, ultra-long-range jets, and executive airliners, also known as bizliners. These categories are determined based on passenger capacity, the range, and the size of the aircraft. But let’s start small.

Light jets are the most commonly chartered aircraft for short-haul flights and are extremely popular for business and point-to-point air taxi services. Light jets do also come in varying sizes within their own category, so let’s look at some examples of these.

In part 1 of this post we will discuss the different types of jets and their amenities, what sets each type of private jet apart, what each type has to offer, and why it is important to know what type of aircraft is best suited to your travels. Private jets can be broken up into 6 basic categories: light jets, super-light jets, mid-size jets, super-mid-size jets, heavy jets, ultra-long-range jets, and executive airliners, also known as bizliners. These categories are determined based on passenger capacity, the range, and the size of the aircraft. But let’s start small.

Light jets are the most commonly chartered aircraft for short-haul flights and are extremely popular for business and point-to-point air taxi services. Light jets do also come in varying sizes within their own category, so let’s look at some examples of these.

Very light jets

The first – and smallest – are the very light jets (VLJs), which are a relatively new and exciting addition to private aviation. They primarily offer an alternative to piston and turboprop aircraft, and though they are often referred to as entry-level jets, this is not a measure of their popularity or quality as passenger aircraft, or the level of comfort and luxury that they provide.

VLJs are cheaper to run and maintain than their standard light counterparts, and while they can’t manage the range that light jets offer, they can sometimes match them in speed with the added benefit of being able to land on short runways. The very light category is a combination of the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of turboprop aircraft, with the amenities and performance standards of a light jet – although the smaller size of a VLJ does mean that you will not have access to certain features.

Some jets in the very light category such as the Embraer Phenom 100, which can carry four passengers and reaches a cruise speed of 391mph, will feature a lavatory. But the Eclipse 500, which also seats four passengers and can reach cruise speeds of up to 425mph, does not. Also, neither of these jets have the capacity to crew a flight attendant. The major benefit of the very light jet class is that they provide flights into areas ignored by most commercial airlines (a benefit of being able to land on short runways) and they will get cover distances of 1,000-1,200 miles in a hurry, while carrying up to five passengers and a moderate amount of baggage.

Light jets and the super-light class

This is where you might want to upsize to a more standard-size light jet. What you are upgrading to here is a slightly increased passenger capacity, as well as an increased flight range. So, if you need to get a little further than just city-to-city, chartering a light jet could suit your journey better. Though most light jets won’t be able to crew a flight attendant, they will typically be able to seat up to eight passengers and most will come with an on-board lavatory. Despite their size, light jets can typically manage flight distances of 1,400-2,500 miles, and some can reach cruise speeds of over 500mph. Such is the case with the Bombardier Learjet 35, with a range capability of up to 2,500 miles at 540mph, carrying up to six passengers in absolute comfort. The Cessna Citation II is another popular light jet and can carry up to eight passengers with a range of up to 2,002 miles and at cruise speeds of up to 463mph.

While the light jet puts up impressive numbers for its size, there is another class of light jet that pushes those numbers even further. The super-light jet is simply a step up from the light jet in terms of range, size and comfort. One of the most popular jets in the super-light category is the multi award-winning Embraer Phenom 300, which can carry up to eight passengers in the most spacious cabin you can find in a light jet, and with the most luggage space in its class. The Phenom 300 can take you just over 2,000 miles at cruise speeds of up to 517mph, so you will reach your destination in no time at all. If you’re looking to travel slightly further, let’s say from Seattle to New York, then you will need a super-light jet with even more range. The Gulfstream G100 can easily manage trips of up to 3,000 miles, at cruise speeds of up to 494mph. No slouch in the numbers department, the G100 is a slightly dated model, but some models feature newly-fitted interiors that make this aircraft a great and viable choice for your charter needs.

If you’re interested in chartering a flight on a light jet for your travels, or just want to find out more about what makes these aircraft so good at what they do, then please contact us and book your charter today. Or you can browse our aircraft guide to see what aircraft are available for your private charter from ACS.

Mid-size jets

If a light aircraft won’t take you far enough or isn’t big enough to fit you and all your friends or business associates, or if you are simply looking for a more luxurious but still well-rounded mix of comfort and value, then you might need to charter a mid-size jet.

There is an abundance of choice when it comes to mid-size jets in terms of range, speed and comfort which makes them ideal for both short and long-haul flights. The mid-size class of aircraft offers more comfort and amenities than light and even super-light jets, such as ample luggage compartments, fold out divans, an on-board lavatory, and most have stand-up cabins. The Hawker Beechcraft 900XP, for example, seats nine passengers in a spacious cabin with a beautifully designed interior. The 900XP can travel distances up to 3,242 miles at a cruise speed of about 530mph, which will get you to where you’re going extremely quickly.

But if you require really long range from a mid-size jet, as well as luxury and absolute comfort, you might want to charter the Cessna Citation Excel. One of the most popular mid-size jets worldwide, the Excel model from Cessna has a maximum seating arrangement of up to 11 passengers, can travel up to 5,100 miles, and does so at a cruise speed of about 494mph. This puts you in intercontinental range, which means a trip with family and friends from New York to Cyprus is entirely on the cards for your holiday plans.

If you feel that a mid-size jet is the best private aircraft suited to your journey, then why not contact us today about your private jet charter. For more information about private jet charter, mid-size jets, and what other aircraft are available to you, check out our aircraft guide.

If a light or mid-size jet isn’t the best suited type of private jet for your charter, and you have your hopes set on something bigger, then continue to part 2 where we take a look at super-mid-size jets all the way up to massive executive bizliners.

Still searching for the perfect type of jet?

interior of luxury private jet with grey leather seats and table set for dinner
interior of luxury private jet with grey leather seats and table set for dinner

If you didn’t find anything in part 1 of this post that covers your requirements for your charter flight, then you might need a bigger jet, more seats, a longer flight range, more comfort… or all of the above! In part 1, we left off having covered private jet aircraft ranging from the compact very light jets to the quite popular light and super-light jets, and the more spacious and comfortable mid-size jets. While these types of jets all perform their own function in the world of private jet charter and are the most cost-effective solution for most charter needs, sometimes you just need a bigger jet and a bit more luxury.

In part 2 of this post we’re going to talk a little more about the mid-size jet – the super-mid-size jet to be exact. We’ll then move on to the heavy jets and ultra-long-range jets, through to the biggest and most luxurious private aircraft available for charter.

Super-mid-size jets

Cessna Citation X private jet parked on runway
Cessna Citation X private jet parked on runway

Super-mid-size jets share a lot of traits with the larger heavy jets. They boast superior range, size, and some added features compared to most standard mid-size jets, but are about as cost-efficient. Features that are included as part of the step up from the standard mid-size jet are on-board Wi-Fi, a roomier cabin, and improved avionics for a quieter and more comfortable flight overall.

The Cessna Citation X is the fastest fully-certified civilian aircraft in the sky, with a cruising speed just short of the sound barrier at Mach 0.92. It’s one of the most popular choices for charter in the super-mid-size category. The cabin seats up to eight passengers in complete comfort and features a beautifully sleek interior design. This super-mid-size jet will get you from LA to New York a whole hour faster than other jets in its class, making the trip in only four hours. This means you can hit the snooze button that one extra time, and still be at the NY branch in time to grab a coffee before your meeting.

If you’re a busy executive that needs to be somewhere in a hurry, then this is your ideal private jet charter solution. To charter this – or any other – super-mid-size jet for your travels, then contact our offices and book your private charter flight today. If you would like to read more about this category of private jet, browse our aircraft guide.

Heavy jets

white blue and yellow Bombardier Global 5000 luxury jet on runway
white blue and yellow Bombardier Global 5000 luxury jet on runway

We’re now getting closer to the top tier of private jet charter. Heavy jets are incredibly luxurious with full stand-up cabins and loads of space for passengers and luggage. We’re also closer to what travellers typically expect from the experience of flying private, with amenities such as large comfortable chairs, enclosed bathrooms, lie-flat beds, premium entertainment facilities, a phone, Wi-Fi and a full galley all coming as standard on these types of jet. You’ll also have the option of crewing a flight attendant or two to help with catering and any other needs you might have.

Heavy jets form part of the ‘king-size’ category of private aircraft and can travel much further than most mid-size jets, while seating far more passengers. Some heavy jets, like the Bombardier Global 5000, might sacrifice a bit of range for increased comfort and quality of flight. The Global 5000 can carry up to 17 passengers and travel distances up to 5,500 miles at a cruise speed of about 530mph, which is only slightly above the range and speed of a super-mid-size jet. But it makes up for this in boasting one of the tallest cross-sections in the heavy jet category and a supremely quiet cabin, which provides exceptional comfort to passengers.

One heavy jet that makes a point of being able to go far, and fast, is the elegant and luxurious Gulfstream V. Capable of carrying up to 16 passengers in absolute comfort and style and able to travel a whopping 7,300 miles at cruise speeds of up to 528mph, the Gulfstream V extends its reach into the ultra-long-range category of heavy jets. Though it was introduced as the first option for an ultra-long-range heavy jet back in the 90s, when measured up against modern ultra-long-range jets it doesn’t quite have the same avionics features. It does, however, meet the standards for space and comfort and offers exquisite interior options and layouts, as well as all the amenities that travellers expect from flying private – including a three-zone cabin for working, dining and entertaining.

If you need to fly your team of execs from Chicago to Dubai for an important meeting, or plan on taking the family and some friends on a safari in South Africa, then consider chartering a heavy jet.

Executive airliners

We have arrived at the pinnacle of luxury private aircraft. Often referred to as bizliners, executive airliners are usually commercial airline aircraft that have been converted into luxury apartments with wings. These jets have about the same range and speed capabilities as most other heavy and ultra-long-range jets but boast incredibly luxurious and extravagant features, plus interior layouts and designs incomparable to any other kind of aircraft.

The Airbus A-319 CJ includes features such as private suites with closing doors, a full-size shower spa and walk-in cupboards, and an on-board cocktail bar in the lounge. The exact interior configurations can vary greatly, and layouts can seat anywhere from 19 to 48 passengers, with combinations of VIP quarters, offices and high-density seating. Some facilities are adjustable on the fly too – start off with a few drinks in the cocktail bar to loosen up before the flight, and then swivel the tables and chairs to create a more spacious lounge area for everyone to relax and socialize in. Once you’re done partying and everyone is winding down, retreat to your private suite and pour yourself a little something out of your personal minibar, then use your tablet to shut your doors, and get some well-deserved rest.

Nothing describes this type of aircraft better than a ‘palace in the sky’. While these are some of the most expensive aircraft available for charter (some can cost as much as $70,000 per hour), the experience is what travellers picture when they imagine themselves flying private – and the reality is even better.

If the ideal aircraft for your travels is a luxurious flying palace, then what are you waiting for? Contact us and start the process of organizing your private jet charter flight today. If you are interested in knowing more about what extravagant features these aircraft have to offer, or are just interested in seeing more, you can browse our aircraft guide.

Some more about private jet charter

Small single airplane Cirrus SR-22 parked in a hangar
Small single airplane Cirrus SR-22 parked in a hangar

In part 1 and part 2 of this series we discussed the different types of aircraft, what their specific role is in private jet charter, why they are so good at what they do and the differences between them as they get bigger, faster and more luxurious.

In part 3 of this series, we will cover some of the more interesting private aircraft and some extreme examples from each of the different categories of jet – such as the smallest to the biggest, and the most expensive. We will also try to answer a few questions about what’s included in private jet charter costs, to help you make the best decisions possible when booking your charter flight.

So, how small is the smallest private jet? And how big is the biggest jet and what did it cost? Let’s find out.

The smallest small jets in the world

Cirrus SR-22 small private plane flying over mountain range on a sunny day
Cirrus SR-22 small private plane flying over mountain range on a sunny day

We spoke about very-light jets in part 1 and mentioned that VLJs are the smallest of all private jets. However, there are, of course, some VLJs that are smaller than others. An example of a small very-light jet is the incredibly popular Cessna Citation Mustang, which measures in at just over 40ft long, with a wingspan of about 43ft. Even smaller though are the two jets we discussed in part 1 – the Embraer Phenom 100 and the Eclipse 550. However, these are not the smallest private jets in the world.

The prize for the smallest private jet in the world and the only certified single-engine jet available to the public goes to the Cirrus Vision SF50. This aircraft is quite possibly the best definition of a very-light aircraft. The Cirrus Vision is an evolution of the best-selling Cirrus SR-22 piston airplane and offers Cirrus customers the opportunity to step into the world of jet engines. The Vision aircraft measures in at about 30ft long, with a wingspan of only 38.7ft, and has the ability to transport up to six passengers. This aircraft is actually so small that it features a whole airframe parachute – the only one in the world to be certified by the FAA.

As for the future of the smallest jets in the world, there is a new contender currently being developed in Poland: the Flaris LAR 1. Measuring a diminutive 27ft long with a wingspan of just over 28ft, the LAR 1 could unseat the Cirrus Vision as the smallest aircraft in the world when (or if) it enters service. To make the Flaris LAR 1 seem even more compact the wings are detachable, meaning it can be stored in a home garage and hauled on a trailer.

The biggest (and most expensive) private jets in the world

Large double-decker Boeing 747 taking off
Large double-decker Boeing 747 taking off

We can’t talk about the smallest jets in the world without mentioning a few of the behemoths that dwarf them, and we can’t talk about the biggest jets available for private charter in the world without them being some of the most expensive and luxurious. Many of the largest private aircraft look a lot like commercial airliners. An example of one of the biggest private aircraft, that doesn’t look like a commercial airliner, is the Embraer EMB190BJ Lineage 1000 which measures in at 118ft long, has a wingspan of about 94ft and can seat up to 19 passengers. But we are still not in the territory of the largest private aircraft in the world.

For the next step up towards the largest aircraft in the world, we must look to Boeing. Of the top 10 largest aircraft in the world Boeing produces six of them, and they are typically variants of commercial models that already exist that have been specifically redesigned for private use. To start there is the Boeing Business Jet 2, owned by Mukesh Ambani, which was designed to have over 1,000 square feet of space and an executive lounge. There is also the Boeing 757 owned by 45th US president, Donald Trump, which is made unmistakeable by his surname being written in bold gold lettering across the side of the plane. Trump spent an incredible $100 million on customizations of the interior of the aircraft, fine-tuning it to suit his personal taste exactly.

The largest of Boeing’s entries into the biggest private jet in the world is the Boeing 747 owned by the Sultan of Brunei – the richest monarch the world has ever seen. The commercial model of this 747 measures in at a whopping 231ft and can typically transport up to 345 passengers, but the Sultan has customized the interior of his private jet to accommodate only him and his entourage for a little over $230 million – fitting the bathroom, bedroom and living room with high-quality gold.

The award for the largest private aircraft currently in operation goes to the Airbus A380 owned by Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal. The A380 is the largest commercial aircraft in the world measuring in at 240ft long with a wingspan of about 261ft and able to seat 555 passengers. But the Prince’s Airbus A380 doesn’t seat 555 people – instead, he has turned it into a private luxury ‘flying palace’ for him and his entourage. The aircraft cost him a staggering $400 million and he used approximately $100 million to customize the interior – that’s half a billion dollars!

What’s on the invoice for my charter flight?

Parked black private jet
Parked black private jet

On a more serious note, and since we are on the subject of what things cost, let’s talk a bit about what it is that you are paying for when you charter a private aircraft. Renting a private plane is a little more involved than renting a car and there might be some additional fees that you aren’t aware of. To start the process of getting your quote, charter companies and brokers will need some basic information such as how many people are flying, the time and date of your desired departure, and when you intend to return. They will then be able to do calculations on landing fees, fuel costs, crew fees, and other items in order to give as accurate a quote as possible.

The most expensive single item in aircraft charter is the cost of fuel and is represented as the hourly rate required for chartering a private aircraft.

Your flight will also incur some additional fees:

Federal Excise Tax is applied to each charter flight at 7.5%. Excise taxes are international taxes imposed within a government infrastructure.

Ramp fees are charged when a plane is parked at an airport for a length of time.

Landing fees vary from airport to airport and can change depending on the size and weight of the aircraft you charter. These fees are used to maintain runways and airport buildings and can sometimes be waived if you intend to refuel at certain airports.

Segment fees are a government tax calculated on a per passenger basis. A flight segment is calculated as one take-off and one landing.

These are the basic costs of chartering a private aircraft, but the costs don’t necessarily stop there. Depending on your itinerary and the length and route of your journey you could also be charged:

Crew fees are typically between $150 and $600 per night per crew member, to cover their food, transportation and lodging.

Reposition fees are charged when the aircraft you charter must make a journey from another airport to the one you are leaving from.

One-way fees are charged when you charter a one-way flight and the charter company must fly the aircraft back to its base empty. If you need a one-way flight though, you should keep an eye out for ‘empty leg’ flights, which is when the aircraft needs to return empty to its base or next location for a one-way charter flight. Because the plane needs to travel anyway, but has no passengers, the flights will be greatly discounted.

Short leg fees are incurred if you charter a flight that is less than a certain minimum distance. The shorter distance means the aircraft must fly at lower altitudes which means it uses more fuel.

Catered meals that you have on your flight will be billed alongside the standard snack and beverage fare.

Wait time fees are accumulated during the period that the aircraft is grounded. It is a good idea to ask how much you will have to pay while the aircraft waits for you at the airport. There may also be a minimum usage fee charged by the charter company, which covers each day of your journey that the aircraft will be parked at the destination airport.

Cleaning fees should be expected if you cause any kind of mess or a pet soils anywhere in the cabin.

This massive list of possible fees can look intimidating and maybe a bit overwhelming, but your charter company or broker should be able to provide you with all the information you need in your quote, so you don’t have to worry about extra charges on your post-flight invoice.

We hope that this has covered some of the questions you had about charter flights and helped you to understand where your money is going when you charter a private jet. For a comprehensive quote and a hassle-free experience in booking a charter flight, contact our offices today.

If you would like to know more about any of the aircraft we mentioned or want to browse other private jets in these categories check out our aircraft guide.

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