Thomas W. Mitchell

Large Cabin (Heavy) Private Jets: Costs, Examples & Best Uses

Thomas W. Mitchell
Thomas W. Mitchell Executive Vice President
white private jet flys over brown desert landscape

Comfort, convenience, luxury and high performance — these are just a few of the benefits that private aviation has to offer. Whether you’re looking to charter an aircraft, purchase one or anything in between, there is a vast array of aircraft classes, makes and models available to you.

This particular guide will provide an overview of heavy private jets — more commonly known as large cabin aircraft — including their capabilities, popular makes and models and how they compare to other classes of aircraft.

What Is a Heavy Private Jet?

“Heavy private jet” or “heavy jet” is a term sometimes used to refer to large cabin private aircraft with long-range performance.

Technically, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) only refers to and defines aircraft as either small aircraft or large aircraft; as a result, terminology used within the private aviation industry to describe or categorize different sizes of aircraft are somewhat open for interpretation. With that said, one can safely assume that any aircraft referred to as a heavy jet would fall under the FAA’s definition of a large aircraft.

Depending on the particular make and model of the aircraft, large cabin aircraft normally accommodate anywhere from 12 to 18 passengers, offer a range of 5,500 mi to over 8,000 mi (3,041 nm to >6,951 nm) and achieve average cruising speeds of up to 520 knots. While some articles might consider a Boeing or Airbus that has been outfitted for private travel to be a heavy private jet, for our purposes, we’ll use the term “heavy private jet” to describe aircraft designed solely for business or private use with a maximum takeoff weight of 100,000 lbs +/-.

What Benefits Do Heavy Private Jets Offer?

Many individual owners and businesses prefer heavy jets to other classes of aircraft for their spacious and functional cabins, ample storage space and, most importantly, their excellent long-range performance. As noted above, certain large cabin aircraft models are capable of flying over 8,000 mi without stopping to refuel. This is a major selling point for travelers who frequently make long-distance trips and might benefit from reducing the number of stops they make to refuel, or even eliminating them entirely.

Aircraft Class Comparisons

Class Passenger Capacity Max Range (Average) Average Crusing Speed Acquisition Cost Estimate (New)
Very Light Jet 4-5 1,000 nm 330-400 kts $3.5M-$5.5M
Light Jet 4-8 2,606 nm 400-460 kts $8.5M-9.5M
Midsize Jet 8-10 2,800 nm 420-460 kts $15M-$20M
Super Midsize Jet 8-12 3,600 nm 480-520 kts $21M-$34M
Heavy Jet 12-14 5,900 nm 500-530 kts $27M-$50M
Heavy Ultra-Long Range Jet 14-18 7,400 nm 520 kts $63M-$81M

Source: Conklin de Decker

How Do I Know If a Heavy Private Jet Is Right for Me?

If you’re debating whether a large cabin aircraft — or a different class of aircraft — is suitable for your needs, consider the following:

  • What is your primary motivation for flying private
  • How many passengers do you typically anticipate flying with?
  • When you fly, will your trips be primary domestic, international or a mix of the two?
  • Do you have frequent destinations for which the performance and range efficiencies a heavy private jet can offer are beneficial?
  • Are the destinations to which you intend to travel over the next three to five years likely to change (where range requirements would matter)?
  • Do you happen to frequent certain private airports where large cabin aircraft would be prohibited? (If so, consider retaining the services of a qualified consultant, such as those at Essex Aviation.)
  • What is your top priority when flying? For example, is it to arrive closer to your final destination by accessing smaller airports, or to save time by making long-range trips without stopping? Is it important that your long duration flights have ample seating capacity that it designed to convert into dedicated sleeping arrangements?
  • Do you require a fully functional galley?
  • Do you intend to maximize crew duty time by having additional flight crew members on the aircraft, including a flight attendant?
  • Do you require worldwide-capable Wi-Fi? Do you have specific cabin management system requirements that include unique audio and video entertainment and business meeting features?

The best way to determine which class, make and model of aircraft is right for you — heavy jet or otherwise — is to partner with an independent private aviation consultancy such as Essex Aviation Group. With over 100 combined years of industry experience, the consultants at Essex have a proven track record of helping clients identify the best private aviation arrangement — including chartering, leasing and acquisition — and aircraft based on their unique travel requirements. Let the Essex team conduct a full needs assessment for you; contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Essex_eBook_Private Aircraft Acquisition & Ownership Considerations

Are You Ready to Become the Proud Owner of Your Very Own Business Jet?

The decision whether to purchase a private aircraft is likely one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your life. In order to ensure that you’re fully prepared to make that decision — and to ensure that you get the greatest return on your investment — it’s important that you be aware of everything that actually goes into acquiring, owning and operating your own plane.