Nothing can better define luxury travel than flying in your own private aircraft. Though it may seem impractical to purchase a aircraft during such rough economic times, owning such an asset may prove to be a wise choice for certain businesses or affluent individuals. If you decide to purchase your own private aircraft, here are some tips to consider during the process.
Tips and Guidelines
If you’ve been considering the purchase of a private aircraft, now may be the best time to take a harder look at your options. The overall market for aircrafts and planes has plummeted between 35 and 50% in the last decade and relative bargains are available if you’re willing to shop around.
There are two pitfalls to avoid when buying a private aircraft.
First, do not try to do it on your own. Getting expert recommendations and ongoing assistance from an aircraft management firm will ensure a more informed purchase. Aircraft management firms and purchasing advisers are able to coordinate the transaction process from initial planning to the actual signing of papers.
Aircraft management companies can also function as your aircraft maintenance crew, taking care of its complex systems and keeping it in the air whenever needed. Though there are corresponding fees to these services, the yields can make it worth every penny you pay.
The other pitfall you should avoid is thinking that buying is the only way to use and own a private aircraft. Chartering a aircraft for business or pleasure is always an option. You can also join aircraft card clubs and fractional ownership organizations that offer private aircraft rentals for a fee depending on the flight times and frequency you require.
What to Consider?
First, execute a cost-benefit comparison. Investing in such a big-ticket item deserves ample time and consideration to make a final decision. A private plane will require an investment of millions of dollars and regular ongoing maintenance costs. That said, aviation veterans recommend at least 350 hours of flight per year to justify the expenses of owning your private aircraft.
Consider hidden expenses. Cost factors to be taken into account include insurance, fuel, ongoing aircraft management and maintenance services and crew charges to name a few. Aircraft management firms can take on many of the responsibilities of maintaining and operating a private aircraft for annual fees in the $200k to $500k range. This amount will naturally fluctuate depending on the size of the aircraft and frequency of use.
Next, assess your specific needs in terms of who and where you anticipate flying. Private aircrafts come in three basic sizes – small, medium, and large. According to experts, based upon size and flight range, light aircraft costing between $3m to $8m can take up to 8 passengers approximately 3200 kilometres. Medium sized aircrafts with prices in the $13 million range may transport up to 10 people around 4800 km. Larger aircrafts will, of course, come with higher price tags, but can potentially accommodate 20+ people on much longer haul flights.
After identifying your needs, it is now time to find a private aircraft. Typically, aircraft management firms and advisers assist clients in their pursuit. Your aircraft management agent will either be involved in the actual process or provide referrals to brokerage firms who can source private planes. There are also several Web sites you can access to “comparison” shop for new or used aircraft.
Finally, you will be well advised to take any plane for a test flight and having a thorough technical inspection completed before committing to a purchase. A private aircraft management company can also assist in these regards in order to assure you are making a wise, informed choice.