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How Rich Do You Have to Be to Afford a Private Jet? Hint: It’s Not in Millions

Needless to say, owning a private plane is no small feat. The wealthiest individuals in the world can easily afford it, but then again what can’t you afford when you’re a centibillionaire?

And while you don’t need to have hit that century billion mark to own a plane, Chris Battaglia says that you have to be worth at least $50 million to afford the costs that come with such luxury.

Battaglia works at Meridian Aviation as the charter sales director, so best believe that the man is well versed on all matters planes, private or otherwise. He says that owning and maintaining a private plane isn’t just for any mere millionaire – you’ve got to have serious bank.

Bezos’ Drop in the Ocean

Take Jeff Bezos, for example. Worth $110 billion according to Bloomberg, he is the richest man alive. His G650ER Gulfstream jet cost him about $65 million.

Admittedly, this could be a drop in the ocean for him, but certainly not for a millionaire worth $70 million, right? It would be foolish to buy such a plane and burn most of your assets while at it.

Jeff Bezos with journalist Jason Rezaian in his private jet

Back in ’99, Mark Cuban earned himself a Guinness Book of World Records spot after purchasing a Gulfstream V for $40 million, paying for it via an internet transaction.

Back then, digital payments were yet to be as common as they are now, and Cuban made history by transacting such an amount online.

Cuban now owns a few private jets, and so does Bill Gates. The Microsoft co-founder is known for his frugal ways, but even he admits that indulging in private jet luxury is one of his guilty pleasures. But you don’t expect the man to be worth over $100 billion and not enjoy the perks of being rich, do you?

Back to Battaglia who has a 13-year experience in aviation, he still insists that private planes are for deep-pocketed individuals, starting with the initial purchase.

As he tells Business Insider, different planes come with different prices, ranging from $3 million to over $90 million depending on the specs and customization.

Depending on size and specs, you can part with over $90 million for a private jet

You most definitely have to pay this price, or at least some of it, up-front, but that’s not even the issue. The problem comes in when you consider fueling, maintenance costs, pilot and crew salaries, and the like. According to Battaglia, these can exceed the $1 million mark annually. Yeah, you heard that right!

$750,000 in Salaries Alone

Let’s even put it into more context. Say you pay your pilot $250,000 as their salary, and that’s not including accrued benefits. If you have a large plane and fly often, Battaglia says that one pilot won’t cut it. They’ll need a colleague or two to help them out. Doing the math, isn’t the pilot annual salary alone around $750,000?

Flying often means you need more than one pilot

Apparently they could even go for much more than this, especially because pilots to fly private planes are hard to come by.

Currently, pilots are taking the commercial route especially since they get to follow a stable work schedule. According to Business Insider’s Sophia Ankel, the commercial industry even pays better.

Fuel is also another hefty expense, and don’t even get started on hangar fees which can hit upwards of $200,000 every year. You get Battaglia’s point now, don’t you?

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