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True Cost of Whole Aircraft Ownership

6 Common Misconceptions Demystified

Having been in the business of private aviation for more than 55 years, we have encountered many misconceptions about aircraft ownership. To help you evaluate your private travel investment, we have outlined the six most common myths regarding whole aircraft ownership.

Myth No. 1

“It costs less to own my own aircraft than to participate in fractional jet ownership.”
The Reality:
If you fly fewer than 300 hours per year, whole aircraft ownership is not a sound business investment.1

How much does a private jet cost?

  • Most evaluations on the cost of aircraft ownership do not account for depreciation
  • Variable costs for maintaining and operating a private jet are considerable
  • Even fixed costs can be difficult to estimate. For example, estimated fixed annual costs for a midsize private jet were quoted to range from $500,000-$600,000 by leading industry sources; however, the actual total fixed annual costs reported by Executive Jet Management were $1.2M

Myth No. 2

“I have freedom with my own aircraft.”
The Reality:
Owning your own aircraft means you are managing a business.

Additional Investments

Whether a single aircraft or fleet, time and money are invested in the following:
  • Hiring, training, and paying pilots and flight attendants
  • Scheduling and cost of maintenance and operations, including unplanned incidents
  • Ensuring adherence to audit and regulatory schedules
  • Managing the legal responsibilities associated with owning your own aircraft
  • Procuring alternative travel options during scheduled maintenance events
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Myth No. 3

“I will use my aircraft all the time.”
The Reality:
On average, 90% of privately owned aircraft go underutilized.2

Benefits of Fractional Jet Ownership

  • With NetJets, efficiency is key. You only buy what you need. Share prices and fixed costs are scaled to match the number of flight hours you plan to use, freeing up capital for other investments
  • The average cost of repositioning an aircraft is $14,500. With NetJets, you will only pay for the time you are on your aircraft—not for repositioning
  • With access to a fleet of more than 760 aircraft,3 you can easily upgrade or downgrade to make the aircraft fit the needs of each individual flight, including the number of passengers and distance
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Myth No. 4

“I can go anywhere I want, any time I want.”
The Reality:
When you have one aircraft, you fly on its schedule. 

Operational + Logistical Needs

  • Aircraft are typically down for at least one week each year for regularly scheduled maintenance, with any unscheduled maintenance in addition to that. Most aircraft typically have even larger inspections that occur every few years, which can result in multiple weeks of downtime
  • Crew vacation and sick days result in more downtime
  • If you are sharing your aircraft, there will be inevitable scheduling issues
  • Depending on the size of your aircraft, you may not have the range or capacity to fly where you need to go
  • Not all aircraft can fly in to all FBOs
  • Unscheduled maintenance leads to interrupted travel or traveling via a questionable charter operator, unless you have a Supplemental Lift arrangement in place
  • In business, aircraft downtime means missed meetings, lost opportunities, and, in some cases, lost business
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Hear why Jeff Gordon made the switch

Jeff Gordon, NASCAR® icon and previous whole aircraft owner, shares how NetJets offers the same access with fewer challenges than owning his own aircraft. Learn why he chose NetJets over whole aircraft ownership.Arrow Right Icon

Myth No. 5

“If I ever change my mind, I can just sell my plane.”
The Reality:
Selling certain aircraft types, especially older ones, can be difficult.

Marketplace Challenges

  • Sale price should account for brokerage fees, inspection, and refurbishment
  • Full aircraft average 400 days on market. At NetJets, if at any point after three years you choose to opt out of our ownership program, we will buy back your share with 90 days’ notice

Myth No. 6

“Flying my own aircraft ensures privacy”
The Reality:
Unfortunately, ownership information and flight data is readily accessible to the public and can be easily exploited for competitive intelligence.

Preserving anonymity

  • As NetJets, tail numbers are never directly associated with the passengers on board; anonymity and discretion are protected—a significant advantage to those who utilize private aviation for business use
  • At NetJets, passenger travel data is maintained under the strictest of confidentiality behind cutting-edge cybersecurity
  • At many airports, our private boarding lounges offer Owners exclusive access to secure points of departure. This ensures you travel without concern regarding public scrutiny

Whole vs. Fractional

Understand the difference

From safety standards and accessibility to privacy and cost, there are significant differences between owning a whole aircraft and NetJets’ signature fractional jet ownership model.Arrow Right Icon
1 When comparing whole versus shared ownership of a 5-year-old large aircraft, including acquisition, operating, and capital costs over a five-year ownership period.
2 ARGUS flight-volume data with aircraft flying fewer than 300 hours per year.
3 Total number of aircraft includes aircraft under management by NetJets and Executive Jet Management.