Withers clients spend between £3m to £43m on jets

Date: 15 Oct 2015

Bumblebee Design

David Dannreuther, banking and finance partner at Withers, and Toby Joy, associate in Withers’ luxury assets team, discuss the advantages of chartering vs. purchasing a luxury aircraft.


Why do UHNW individuals buy jets?

For many UHNWs, it’s a question of convenience: no queuing at security, no constraints by the availability of scheduled flights. The aircraft is available when they want and enables them to fly to airfields closer to the destination. Occasionally, some UHNWs buy because they want to fly the aircraft themselves, although the larger private jets require a minimum of two pilots.

How much do your clients spend on jets?

It depends on the size and age of the aircraft they’re buying. For a new Gulfstream G650, for example, we’re looking at around £43m. On the smaller scale, the new Honda Jet will be retailing at around £3m and the new Pilatus Pc-24 at £5.8m.  How much a client spends depends on what they want out of their aircraft, and there’s a second-hand market too. 

How did the internet change buying and booking habits? Is the middleman still important when buying or booking a private jet?

If you want to charter an aircraft, you can go online, insert the airport of origin and destination, select your preferred aircraft type and obtain an instant quote. Many pilots who work for charter companies are effectively on-call 24/7. Chartering has its advantages, such as no ongoing running costs. But when buying, it’s better if clients take specialist advice from aircraft consultants to ensure they buy the aircraft most suited to their requirements.

Give us your three best tips for buying a jet.

Get advice on the different aircraft available before buying. If you want to fly to Courchevel’s Altiport in your own aircraft for a skiing holiday, or land on your private strip, buy an aircraft with excellent short field performance, such as a Pilatus Pc-12. Likewise, if you want to go transatlantic, smaller private jets simply do not have the range, so aircraft such as a Gulfstream G650 or a Bombardier Global Express would be far more appropriate.   

Get advice on the cost of maintaining the aircraft and take advice on which jurisdiction to register it in.  Each registry will have different regulations on issues such as crew licensing or aircraft maintenance. 

What should be the UHNW clients aware of when purchasing a jet?

Take legal and tax advice on how best to structure the asset into the client’s overall wealth before signing any acquisition paperwork. This can be particularly important when considering the aircraft’s existing VAT position and its importation for use within the EU.