Choosing a Corporate Jet – Tips from The Aircraft Lenders

Thinking about acquiring a jet? There are many things to consider in addition to aircraft financing options:

Pre-Planning & Research

  • Range: how much range do you need? Do you plan to fly regionally? Coast-to-coast? Trans-Atlantic?
  • Passenger capacity: how many passengers do you want capacity for?
  • Down payment capacity: you should plan on at least a 20% down payment when financing. Lenders also want to see a good liquidity cushion remaining after the down payment…generally at least a year’s worth of operating costs.
  • Insurance: Consider using an insurance broker to help you define the best insurance carrier for your needs. If you are chartering your aircraft, the management company will put the aircraft on their insurance certificate.
  • Buyer’s Agent: You may want to consider using the services of a reputable buyer’s agent as their expertise can more than cover their fees in terms of knowledge about aircraft values, off-market aircraft, maintenance status etc. The Aircraft Lenders has relationships with a number of great buyer’s agents we can connect you with.

Operating Costs

You should have an understanding of fixed and variable operating costs. It’s not unusual for a jet to have an operating budget of $1mm annually. The ideal amount of flying time annually for a jet is 400 hours. That amount of usage is the optimal when considering overall costs of ownership.


  • Capitalization costs: down payment or cash purchase price, monthly loan or lease payments, if applicable
  • Insurance is a legal requirement, and it includes liability and hull coverage.
  • Hangar fees: storage of the jet during periods of non-use
  • Management charges: Most private jet owners hire a management team to handle record-keeping, aircraft scheduling, maintenance coordination, and FAA compliance monitoring.
  • Flight crew expenses: Employing a crew to operate comes with expenses such as salaries, benefits, uniforms, and drug testing.
  • Training for flight crew: Continuous training of crew members is an ongoing fixed cost. Annual training sessions ensure pilots are proficient and up-to-date with the latest aviation protocols.


  • Maintenance and parts: Repair and replacement costs fall under variable expenses, as they are contingent on the maintenance requirements of the aircraft, which are related to the number of hours flown. Maintenance can easily amount to $1 million annually or more for some jets.
  • Fuel expenses: Fueling a private jet constitutes a significant variable expense, subject to market fluctuations and location-based price disparities.
  • Crew travel expenses: Variable costs include covering the travel expenditures of the crew, encompassing lodging and meals during flights.

Financing Your Jet Purchase – Aircraft Financing

If you are financing your purchase, there are other considerations:

  • Year of Manufacture: The age of the aircraft is a big consideration. Some lenders won’t finance jets older than 20 years old. The Aircraft Lenders works with several lenders that will consider older aircraft.
  • Total Time: It’s best not to purchase an aircraft that has high total time for its year.
  • Damage history: some lenders won’t finance an aircraft with damage history
  • Engine maintenance programs: most lenders require jets to be on engine maintenance programs. The Aircraft Lenders works with a few lenders that will not require that.
  • Book or appraised value: The lender will finance a percentage of purchase price or appraised value, whichever is less.

Aircraft Financing – Loans and Leases

The Aircraft Lenders can help with term loans or leases for aircraft purchases. Please call us at 973-577-4226 to talk through all of the above considerations, as well as financing options.