Aircraft Sizes (7)

How big is a private jet?

Private jets vary in size from 4 seat aircraft through to aircraft with 200+ seats. Private jets are categorised depending on cabin size with Very light jet at one end and large cabin jets and VIP airliners at the other. Actual cabin sizes vary considerably.

How big is a Very Light Jet?

An average Very Light Jet (VLJ) will have cabin dimensions of around 3 metres long and 1.4m high. A VLJ is also limited in terms of range. Typically operating range is around the 1000 nautical mile mark which equates to just under 3hrs of flying. This is decreased where payload is high, as there is then a trade off between weight of passengers/luggage versus fuel load. The higher the former, the less fuel the aircraft can take off with in order to stay below maximum take off weight. Cruise speeds tend to be around 350 knots. VLJ’s are excellent tools for 2 to 3 passengers hopping on a short 2 hour trip for a meeting at an affordable price. Typical price per hour on a VLJ is £1200 – £1500.00 per hour. Examples of VLJ aircraft are the Cessna Citation Mustang, the Embraer Phenom 100 and the Eclipse 550. The cost of buying a new VLJ aircraft ranges from $2.5m to $3.5m.

How big is a Light Jet?

Light jets have slightly larger cabins than VLJ’s typically seating between 5 and 8 passengers depending on seating density. Aircraft such as the Citation Bravo and the Learjet 40 are typical examples of such aircraft. The Citation Bravo has a cabin size of 4m long, 1.43 metres high and 1.49 metres wide. Range is increased slightly to around 1900/2000 nautical miles with cruise speeds of 410 knots. A new light jet costs around $6m and such aircraft are good for cost effective flights of around 2 to 3 hrs. Once seated in a light jet the passenger experience in relatively comfortable although it is not possible to walk around and stretch out in this category of aircraft.

How big is a Mid Size Jet?

Mid size aircraft make up a fair proportion of the overall private jet market with key manufacturers being Cessna and Bombardier. One of the most popular mid-size aircraft in the jet charter market is the Citation Excel. The Excel first flew in 1996 and has gone on to become one of the best selling business aviation aircraft in class. Seating configuration tends to be for 8 or 9, range is 1800 nautical miles and cruise speed is in the region of 440 knots. Cabin dimensions for the Citation Excel are 5.66 metres long, 1.7 metres wide and 1.73 metres in height. For flights of 3 to 4 hours this is a very cost effective solution. Beyond this flight time passengers tend to require a larger cabin in order to walk around.

How big is a Large Cabin Aircraft?

Aircraft in this category include Dassault’s Falcon 7x, Gulfstream’s G550 and Bombardier’s Global XRS. Large cabin aircraft have seating configurations of between 10 and 14 passengers and range of these aircraft is now around the 6000 nautical mile mark. Such aircraft are perfect for flights of 8-12 hours. Other aircraft in this category include the hugely popular Challenger 604, 605 and the Gulfstream GIV. Cabin dimensions of the Global Express are 13.72 metres long, 2.49 metres wide and 1.93 metres high. New large cabin aircraft can be bought for anything between $35m to $70m depending on the aircraft type, cabin fit and of course avionic options. Configuration on such aircraft is highly important to charter clients.

How big is a VIP Airliner?

VIP Airliners are aircraft that were intended for the airline market, though have been modified for private owners to use as large private jets. Examples of execliners include the Boeing Business Jet, the Airbus Corporate jet and Embraer’s Lineage aircraft. In airline configuration these aircraft can transport up to 180 passengers. In VVIP configuration aircraft of this type would tend to have split cabins with 10-20 vip seats in the front cabin and 30-50 first class/business class seats in the rear. Such aircraft are excellent for use on music tour charters or where a large political delegation need to transport an entourage in relative comfort. Range of a BBJ aircraft stands at around 6000 nautical miles. This decreases as payload increases. Cabin dimensions are 24 metres long, 3.5 metres wide and 2.16 metres high. Cost of the BBJ aircraft varies greatly depending on aircraft variant ie BBJ, BBJ2, BBJ3. A new BBJ3 would cost $80m with cabin fit. Used BBJ aircraft are listed for a range of prices starting at $30m.

How many seats does a private jet have and how many does a helicopter have?

Private jet aircraft have numerous seating configurations and cabin sizes. A very light jet (VLJ) for example will have a small cabin with 4 passenger seats and will be comparable to a family saloon inside. Mid size cabin private jets will tend to have 7-9 passenger seats in the cabin whilst large cabin aircraft such as the Gulfstream G550 or Falcon 7x will have between 10 and 14 passenger seats typically.

VIP Execliners have much larger cabins and can accommodate different levels of seating accomodation within the same cabin. For example the forward cabin might be 10 to 16 seats in VVIP configuration, the mid cabin 30 seats in a Business Class seating configuration and the aft cabin higher density airline configuration seating.

Helicopters again have a range of seating configurations although having a smaller cabin narrows down the seating options considerably. The smallest charter helicopters will have 4 seats in total, with 1 for the pilot and 3 for passengers. Typical configuration for a charter helicopter is 4 or 5 seats on a single, and 6 to 8 seats on twin engine helicopters.

General (4)

Do I have to check in for a private jet 2 hrs in advance as I do for an airline?

No, we advise arriving at the airport 20 minutes prior to departure for a private jet charter or helicopter charter. As with all private flights our team will take passport details in advance and ensure that customs and immigration formalities are taken care of prior to arrival of passengers at the airport. In many cases passengers can be driven straight out to the aircraft steps, while ground crew load the luggage into the hold. By the time the passengers are seated the aircraft is secured and crew are running through start up checks. We will always advise passengers where possible to steer clear of international hub airports and use smaller private aviation focussed airports. When utilising airports such as London Heathrow and Dubai, we can encounter small delays due to sheer volume of aircraft movements. Airports such as Farnborough in the UK and Van Nuys in the US are used to the needs of private aviation users and thus ensure that such flights are expedited.

If on the rare occasion that an aircraft is slightly delayed due to slot times or a technical problem then the majority of General Aviation facilities at airports include first class facilities including catering, luxury washrooms, audio visual entertainment and internet access to keep in touch.

Do you only provide private jets in VVIP format or can you provide aircraft for other tasks?

We have a growing area of our business that is dedicated to aviation tasks outside of VVIP travel. In recent months we have worked on air contingency plans, evacuations, ransom drops and movement of precious goods such as diamonds, art and sensitive computer equipment. Our most recent work has been down in North Africa and the Middle East, and for such tasks we have ex Special Forces expertise that we work with in order to ensure that every detail is checked, double checked and every inevitable event has a contingency plan. Most of these tasks need a “get it right first time, every time” approach. There is zero margin for error or inaccuracy. Our military colleagues have spent their careers operating in zero margin environments and this is why we call on them for these operations.

For highly valuable movement of goods our military team also fly with the load in order to provide close protection services. This is all factored into our offering.

Such expertise can prove very useful to our UHNWI who constantly need a close protection presence. We are able to deploy these resources to fly alongside our clients and ensure high levels of security and awareness at all times.

What if I book a private jet charter or helicopter charter and my timings change?

This is one of the key benefits of chartering an aeroplane or helicopter. The schedule is in line with individuals needs rather than that of an airline or small regional operator. We are frequently asked to delay departure times because of a meeting overrun or an event that is finishing later than expected. Flying guests out of Cheltenham Festival is a good example of some of the limitations we do face however that are outside of our control.

Cheltenham guests frequently lose track of time in their respective hospitality facilities and we have to work hard to keep the helicopter landing facility open whilst trying to minimise additonal costs. There are also strict limitations around the number of hours that a pilot can remain on duty. If, for instance, a pilot has flown a 4 hour sector to take a client to a meeting and then fly 4 hours back, then delays in that meeting could push the pilot in question over his or her crew duty limitations.

Tiredness is a key enemy in aircraft flight situations and is to be avoided at all costs. At Execflyer we always put safety at the top of our priority list whilst also trying to deliver good quality bespoke service to our clients.

In situations where we know that a charter flight will involve long sectors then we can plan to include a “heavy crew”. This essentially means that we allocate an additional pilot so that crew can rotate and enjoy some rest en route.

What if my aircraft charter or helicopter charter is cancelled due to factors beyond my control such as weather or technical failure?

Thankfully, cancellations due to weather or technical failure are a rare occurrence but they can and do happen in rare circumstances. Aircraft are less susceptible to weather than helicopters however there are certain conditions where airports close and we either cannot take off, or have to divert to another airport if landing. Diverting to a nearby airport is something that is planned and practised on a frequent basis. Our team at Execflyer will notify our clients, their drivers and PA’s to ensure that everyone is kept up to speed in such situations. If an aircraft charter is cancelled altogether due to circumstances beyond the control of the crew and/or passengers then the client will of course be due a refund, provided no positioning costs have been incurred.

For some events such as the Formula 1 Grand Prix at Silverstone, we will be charged the landing slot fee even if we are not able to reach the circuit due to bad weather. In this instance we work hard to ensure we get as much money back for our clients as possible though may end up still paying an admin fee to Silverstone circuit. These high volume helicopter charter events are peak demand environments with limited slot availability and thus we have to commit financially up front in order to allow guests to land there. So far we have not had a situation where we weren’t able to issue a 100% refund for cancellation due to factors beyond the control of crew or passengers.

Helicopter Charter (1)

How many seats does a private jet have and how many does a helicopter have?

Private jet aircraft have numerous seating configurations and cabin sizes. A very light jet (VLJ) for example will have a small cabin with 4 passenger seats and will be comparable to a family saloon inside. Mid size cabin private jets will tend to have 7-9 passenger seats in the cabin whilst large cabin aircraft such as the Gulfstream G550 or Falcon 7x will have between 10 and 14 passenger seats typically.

VIP Execliners have much larger cabins and can accommodate different levels of seating accomodation within the same cabin. For example the forward cabin might be 10 to 16 seats in VVIP configuration, the mid cabin 30 seats in a Business Class seating configuration and the aft cabin higher density airline configuration seating.

Helicopters again have a range of seating configurations although having a smaller cabin narrows down the seating options considerably. The smallest charter helicopters will have 4 seats in total, with 1 for the pilot and 3 for passengers. Typical configuration for a charter helicopter is 4 or 5 seats on a single, and 6 to 8 seats on twin engine helicopters.