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Top 10 Secrets


Top 10 Secrets

1. Private Aviation doesn’t necessarily mean a large fancy jet. Multi-million dollar corporations can and do use light piston engine aircraft assuming that fits their needs. If your mission keeps you mainly in the US, it’s pointless to have a Gulfstream type aircraft.

2. Buy an aircraft that suits 90% of your trips. Very few aircraft will be efficient at a regional 200 mile hop and 2000 mile journey. Use air charter or travel first class for that once or twice a year trip with 15 passengers or overseas.

3. Buying new isn’t necessarily the smartest option. Depreciation hits all new aircraft very hard, which could mean a loss of millions in just 3 years. On the positive side, the 50% bonus tax depreciation on new aircraft is still in effect, and the warranties that come with the plane keep budget surprises minimal the first few years. 

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4. Age is just a number. The average age of an MD-80 that you probably fly on is 33 years old, and some aircraft may be in service for 100,000 hours. For comparison a “high time” corporate aircraft is one which has over 10,000 hours. Aircraft maintenance records are usually very thorough and help trace how well a plane has been maintained. There are many private planes from the 1960’s and 70s currently in the air. Buying a 20 year old, well-kept aircraft with cockpit upgrades may be a very smart investment.

​5. Fractional aircraft programs rarely make sense. A large number of fractional companies have closed over the past 5 years as owners realize the financials don’t add up. Owning 1/16th share grants 50 hours of flying, but the annual fees and hourly costs are often identical to chartering a comparable aircraft (without having to pay $900k for the 1/16th share). If you can afford and have the need for 1/8th share or more, you can certainly afford full ownership of a similar aircraft with the right management. 

6. If you need the charter revenue of an aircraft, you probably can’t afford it in the first place. In St. Louis, less than 12% of corporate jets are on a charter leaseback program. Between the additional maintenance, insurance, administrative, and personal costs along with strangers putting wear and tear on the plane, it’s rarely a win for the owner. The promised revenue seldom offsets the depreciation and additional hassle. A well-managed aircraft is the right way to go!

7. A 2016 Cirrus single engine piston aircraft and a 1983 Gulfstream GIII can both be had for $800k. That is where the similarities end. The cirrus costs approx. $120/hr to operate whereas the GIII $4000/hr. Crew pay is about 6x more for the GIII and maintenance is about twentyfold. Once again, buy the correct plane for your mission, avoid large shiny jet syndrome.

​​ 8 . Go with a great, reputable, and honest management company (Such as Gateway Jets). They collect a small fee for ensuring your aircraft is safely, properly, and legally operated however it will pay large dividends preventing costly mistakes. Our duties are to ensure your asset is safe, clean, and ready for dispatch at a moments notice without you having to worry about anything.

​9 . Structure your crew properly. Consult with your management company, you may not need a fully salaried operation. Contract pilots may be an alternative if your plane is home more than away, and you don’t need same day notice for trips.


10. It needs to be more than just the bottom line. The flight operations costs will hardly ever be cheaper than economy airline tickets, however the ability to get valued personnel or family around in a timely manner yields intangible results. No TSA, no lines, no missed connections, no snoring passenger next to you. Just arrive when you are ready, your friendly pilots will load your luggage as you wait in the luxury FBO terminal, and you’ll be on your way. More nights at home, more luxury, more privacy, more time at your vacation spot, more productivity, less stress. The benefits are endless! Contact Gateway Jets for more info.