How much does it really cost to have your own private jet like Dan Bilzerian? And we’re not just talking buying the thing: we’re talking running costs, airport usage, storage, maintenance; so on.
Before we get into all that, first, let’s take a look at whether Dan Bilzerian really owns a jet. Why? In this Instagram Age, where influencers routinely stage photo shoots in (rented-by-the-hour) private jets, it’s a fair question to ask.
Bilzerian certainly travels by private jet – and quite often too. He’s shared photos of himself on (or nearby) a private jet on various occasions, enjoying such activities as poker, watching TV (while surrounded by scantily clad models), smoking, eating green beans and carrots and sleeping “with my sister wives.”
He’s certainly a believer in the “life’s about the journey” philosophy.
Webpage Superyacht Fan claims Bilzerian has a 1987 Gulfstream GIV worth $6 million. The Travel website also makes this claim. A Reddit user in the online forum’s No/Stupid/Questions community once claimed: “Yes it’s a gulfstream he purchased it in 2014 after winning a ‘poker match.’”
Let’s assume this is true Bilzerian owns a private jet (we haven’t heard anything to the contrary, anyway). Here’s what it costs to have a private jet (one you own, not a charter you pay for).
According to Liberty Jet, the yearly budget for flying a Gulfstream IV private jet 200 hours per year is approximately $1,398,875 or $2,232,913 for flying 400 hours per year.
Liberty Jet states: “The maximum speed of the Gulfstream IV is 552 mph, but with slower climb, cruise and descending speeds it is more likely to average 442 mph which would equate to an average cost per mile of approximately $15.84 at 200 hours per year.”
Liberty Jet adds: “If you fly 400 hours per year, you can spread the total fixed costs over more flight hours which reduces your cost per mile to $12.64.”
According to Aircraft Cost Calculator, “depending on numerous factors, the average price for a pre-owned GULFSTREAM GIV is $2,705,700.00.”
The online calculator tool adds: “A $1,352,850.00 loan over 120 months including $5636.88 per month in interest equates to a $67,836.92 per-period payment.”
“Based on 450 annual owner-operated hours and $5.12-per-gallon fuel cost, the GULFSTREAM GIV has total variable costs of $2,154,780.00, total fixed costs of $183,346.00, and an annual budget of $2,338,126.00. This breaks down to $5,195.84 per hour.”
As for how much it costs to own your own private jet in general, there are a broad array of entry costs to consider, depending on the price of the jet your buy.
Smaller jets, like the entry-level category of private jets, Very Light Jets, can be cheaper to purchase upfront, but then more expensive down the line, if you aspire to fly long distances or with a decent payload.
The Williams FJ series, for instance, are not as popular as people thought they were going to be, because they are slower and have a smaller load capacity than other private jets.
According to The Drive, “The Cirrus Vision SF50, the cheapest of the VLJs, has a single Williams FJ33 jet engine, cruises at 300 knots (over 150 knots less than the CJ4) and can seat seven, including the cockpit seats, in tight quarters.”
The Drive adds: “The entry price is competitive, around $2 million brand new. Owners expect to spend an average of $40,000 a year on maintenance and support costs. The SF50 holds 295 gallons and can reduce consumption to 47 gallons per hour if you’re willing to cruise at 242 knots, which is turboprop speed. With full tanks, the SF50 holds $1,770 of fuel at $6 per gallon.”
“Altogether, with purchase financing payments, an SF50 owner can spend $400,000 a year.”
The Drive also reports that light jets like the Cessna Citation CJ4 are very popular, and that the typical cost of a lightly used CJ4 is currently around $6.5 million.
“Depending on the type of purchase and finance options, monthly payments of $20,000 to $100,000 are common. Maintenance inspections requirements cost an annual average of $55,000 over five years for a CJ4, but rise and fall depending on what inspections are due that year.”
Another option when it comes to private jet maintenance is to join a program that has a set hourly price for engine maintenance and inspections.
There are also (almost) always unforeseen repairs. Investopedia states that a blown tire on a private jet can cost between $2,000 to $3,000 to replace. Private jet owners also have to take into account the cost of storing their aircraft in a hangar, as well as paying their crew. Oh, and you’d better not forget aircraft insurance.
Investopedia reports: “As a rule of thumb, you can expect to pay around $500,000 to $1 million annually in operating costs.”
As for buying your private jet in the first place, a brand-new private jet can range in price from $2 million to $500 million. When it comes to second hand jets, though they are cheaper, they still cost millions.
Bankrate.com reports that “a pre-owned 2019 Gulfstream G280 costs $18.5 million on the Gulfstream website in November 2021. With extras and customization, the price can soar to hundreds of millions of dollars.”
You also need to think about how old the second-hand jet you are purchasing costs to run. According to The Drive, older jets from the 60s, 70s and 80s (like Bilzerian’s, which is from ’87), though they might be cheaper to buy, are less economical to operate.
The Drive reports: “For instance, vintage Learjets burn more fuel at idle than they do in cruise flight at high altitudes. A 20-minute takeoff delay due to congested air traffic has the potential to eliminate fuel reserves necessary for safe flight.”
On top of that, The Drive reports, “The FAA has mandated avionics updates, such as ADS-B, that can be quite costly on older aircraft.”
Oh and just to round things off nicely, “exacerbating difficulties associated with older jets are a potential lack of parts availability and knowledgeable maintenance support, in addition to some not meeting noise abatement requirements,” The Drive reports.
That’s a hell of a pricey journey indeed.