Updated: Feb 22, 2022
So, what should new buyers be aware of before purchasing a new or pre-owned private jet?
1. It may sound self-serving, but the best tip I can give is to work with a trusted advisor. Most new buyers will admit that an aircraft purchase is much different than purchasing real estate, a car or any other large-scale asset, and having an expert to guide you through the process from start to finish, from the letter of intent (LOI) to delivery, is critical.
2. You’ll have an aviation specialist lawyer; a maintenance facility doing the pre-purchase inspection; maybe a management company onboarding the aircraft; and corporate service providers all involved in a transaction. We’d also always recommend seeking tax advice.
3. There are certain factors to think about before buying your first private jet... Where do you want to fly to? How many people will be travelling at any one time? What’s your budget? Have you considered finance, or are you a cash purchaser? It’s important to talk this through with your advisor so they can start looking for the best aircraft.
4. If you’re not sure about buying pre-owned or new, it’s worth looking at both options. Buying new, you will avail of a five-year warranty, which can be comforting to those unused to ownership. We see some first-time buyers who want to test out having an aircraft, to help them understand whether it will work for them long-term. In this situation the decision might be made with short-term ownership in mind where the buyer will reassess their aircraft and the value it brings themselves or their company in a few years. In this case pre-owned provides an opportunity to experience ownership at a lower initial point of investment.
5. We’d always encourage you to demo before purchase. If you haven’t flown in that model before, consider finding a charter company that operates the aircraft type and test it out on what would be a ‘typical’ mission for you. This is also a good way to try out different models or manufacturers so you have a feel for how big the cabin is, the comfort of the seats and the noise levels. Should you wish to demo the specific aircraft on the market, usually the seller will look for some form of commitment, such as an LOI and a refundable deposit in escrow, before arranging a flight.
6. It’s natural to gravitate towards aesthetic details of a private jet such as the colour of the paint or leather; however, changing cosmetics is relatively simple and inexpensive compared to the overall cost of the aircraft. Replacing soft goods such as seat material and carpet is a cost-effective way to tailor the jet to your taste.
7. Charter is a great way to offset some of the costs of ownership. Most buyers will have chartered before, so the process is familiar, but you should consider whether you’re happy with someone else flying in your aircraft – and the more available it is for charter, the less time you’ll have for your own private use.
8. Another consideration when you’re choosing an aircraft is ensuring it’s capable of flying commercially in your region – certain countries and regions have specific rules and equipment requirements.