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private jet charter vs. ownership

Private Jet Charter vs. Aircraft Ownership: A Comparison

What’s the best way to fly private? Should you own your own aircraft, or rely on booking a private charter whenever you need to fly? 

To answer those questions, you’ll have to consider both how often you intend to fly and the type of experience you desire. Private jet charter and full aircraft ownership both have their pros and cons, and the right option depends on your preferences and flight profile. 

At first glance, private plane ownership (if you can afford it) may seem like the ideal choice; in reality, things are a bit more complicated. Let’s dive deeper.

the benefits of chartering a private jet

There are many benefits to chartering a private jet of your own rather than purchasing a luxury aircraft outright:

Businessmen walking on airport tarmac toward corporate jet

for most fliers, it's more cost-effective

Unless you’re flying hundreds of hours per year, chartering a jet is much more cost-effective compared to owning one. If you only fly a few trips per year, or indeed if you fly under 100 hours annually, charter is the smarter option.

Here’s the reason: when you book a private charter, you’re only on the hook for your time in the air. You won’t have to worry about paying for the maintenance and upkeep of the aircraft you’re chartering. Avoid costs such as:

– Ongoing aircraft repairs and maintenance

– Flight crew salaries

– Fuel

– Interest payments on the aircraft (were you to purchase a private aircraft on a loan)

By chartering a private jet, you can secure all the benefits and amenities of luxury air travel while paying only for upkeep proportional to how often you actually fly. You only pay for your time in the air and the associated costs, in addition to a few incidental fees like the fuel you specifically consume. Your provider takes care of everything else.

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - May 5, 2013: Overview of the private jet ramp at McCarran International Airport Las Vegas with multiple luxury jets parked on the tarmac.

find the perfect aircraft for your needs

When you’re searching for charter flights, the entire private aircraft market is at your fingertips. Chartering is ideal because it allows you to always find the ideal aircraft for your particular flight needs, rather than being locked into a single aircraft option.

If you have a lot of variety in the types of trips you take, you’ll likely need to use an equal variety of aircraft. Charter allows you to pick and choose between types of jets on a trip-by-trip basis, from small, lightweight aircraft perfect for short-distance flying to larger jets capable of international travel. Rather than owning one aircraft that can only fly one type of mission, chartering opens up a world of possibilities. 

How do you find the right aircraft for your trip? Working with an experienced provider like Magellan Jets means you’ll have a team of private aviation experts on your side. Our Private Aviation Consultants listen to your needs and go to market on your behalf, presenting you mission-specific aircraft options for your flight requests. 

NEED more flexibility and consistency?

Consider a Jet Card. Magellan’s Jet Card Owners have access to both aircraft- and cabin-size-specific jet options, and can seamlessly interchange between aircraft types on a trip-by-trip basis. 


Though private jet chartering can be a great option for many business executives and other frequent flyers, there are a few potential downsides compared to owning your own jet.

For one thing, the pricing and availability of charter aircraft can be subject to market forces. You might want to charter a specific aircraft, only for it not to be available on the exact dates you have in mind. You’ll also see availability drop—and prices skyrocket—during peak travel periods or around popular events. 

You also have to understand that you won’t have 100 percent control over the details of your flight the way you would if you owned your own aircraft outright. After all, the aircraft belongs to somebody else, and they ultimately have control of everything from the look and feel of the cabin to what amenities are on board. 

Even with these downsides, however, private jet chartering is the ideal solution for a majority of business executives, entrepreneurs, and other high-level professionals.


Purchasing and owning a private aircraft is a dream for many. It could be a good option if you’re looking for the following:

man on business jet

you want total control

If you want 100 percent control over your plane’s customization, features, and layout, the only way to get it is to purchase a private aircraft. With an aircraft like that under your control, you can customize things like cabin layout, the amenities included, the features of the plane, and so much more.

However, you’ll also need to do extensive research on the different types of private aircraft available. Of course, your customization options are also limited based on your maximum budget.

you want a consistent travel experience

In addition, when you own a jet, you get the same travel experience every time you take to the skies. That can be invaluable for very frequent flyers. If you spend hundreds of hours per year in an aircraft, going from place to place for business purposes, it could be a major benefit to spend all those hours in a plane that feels like home.

That’s especially true if you need to do a lot of work while in the skies. With a private jet you own, you can design a custom office that you are comfortable in for meetings, tackling work projects, and so on. You likely won’t find that type of consistency if you rely on one-off charters.

Businessman and flight attendant laughing on corporate jet

you want the option to charter to others

When you own an aircraft, you’re still paying for it even when you aren’t flying (see more below on the costs associated with ownership). One way to offset the large upfront purchase investment, as well as your continuing aircraft maintenance and upkeep costs, is to put your aircraft up for charter to other clients and passengers. By working with a charter broker or aircraft management company, you can create some passive income through chartering your asset that can at least somewhat mitigate the cost.

Magellan Jets offers Aircraft Management services, including the ability to charter your aircraft out to our built-in base of high-quality, committed Jet Card Owners and charter guests. When you put your aircraft up for charter through Magellan, you’ll have a guaranteed source of charter revenue income. 

downsides of owning a jet

Owning a jet comes with a lot of extra baggage and disadvantages you should keep in mind.

As noted above, when you buy and own your own private plane, you’ll have to foot huge bills. Not only are private jets costly to purchase up front, but you’ll also have to take care of ongoing expenses like fuel, maintenance, pilot salaries, fees for any other support staff you employ, and much more. All told, owning a private jet could cost you millions of dollars over just a couple of years, so you need to make sure the investment is worth it.

Don’t forget that you also continue to pay for your plane even when you aren’t using it! It costs money to store your aircraft in a hangar and keep it maintained.

Even worse, your private jet will depreciate in value. That’s not necessarily a problem if you plan to own it forever, but if you ever want to resell your plane, keep in mind that you won’t be able to sell your aircraft for the same amount of money for which you purchased it.

Management itself can also be time-consuming. After all, you’re the one in charge of hiring crew for your craft, ensuring that the aircraft is in compliance with safety regulations, and much more. Depending on your business schedule and responsibilities, this could be far too much work for you to be comfortable with. In order to handle all of the responsibilities we’ve mentioned so far, you’ll likely have to contract with an aircraft management firm.

Furthermore, if you purchase a private plane that specializes in one type of trip, you may need to charter another plane anyway if you have to take a different type of trip. As an example, if you own a light jet but you need to make a transatlantic flight from California to London, you’ll need a much longer-range aircraft. Your investment might not even be worth it in the long run, depending on your business travel patterns.

Given all these disadvantages, it’s no wonder that many private fliers choose to charter instead of purchasing a plane to own. In fact, many first-time private jet buyers sell their aircraft within a relatively short time frame due to the pricey maintenance costs.

Business Jet Charter banner

so, which makes sense for me—chartering a jet or owning a jet?

When you compare both options, one thing becomes clear: owning a jet only makes sense if you fly for hundreds of hours per year. Otherwise, owning a jet usually isn’t cost-effective, even in the best circumstances. 

When you own your own jet, you have to pay for a multitude of extra costs, ranging from maintenance fees to crew salaries and much more. Chartering a jet is much more cost-effective, particularly for those who only fly a few times or several dozen hours annually. Chartering allows you to pay and fly only in the amount you need, maximizing cost efficiency. 

Find the right option for you with magellan jets

With Magellan Jets, you have an advocate who sits on the same side of the table with you as you determine the best way for you, your family, or your business to fly privately. Our private aviation experts are here to serve as a resource, whether you are looking for a charter quote for a single trip or seeking help purchasing an aircraft of your own. Want to learn how Magellan Jets can help you? Submit your information below to request a private aviation portfolio review today. 

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Please submit your information via this form and a private aviation consultant will be in touch shortly—or call 877-550-5387 for immediate assistance.

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