Considerations for Buying an Aircraft

November 4, 2022

Are Short Flights or Long Flights on a Private Jet Plane More Economical?

Maximize Your Flight Budget and Understand Private Jet Costs

With inflammatory news articles about celebrities taking frequent short-haul flights in their private jets at top-of-mind in recent months, you may be wondering what’s economically smarter - and more environmentally friendly.

While corporate travel is very different from leisure or recreational trips, keep in mind that your choices can influence cost savings for your company.

Discover how aerodynamic drag affects fuel efficiency, and why flight cycles are such an important factor.

Due to Aerodynamic Drag, Short Flights are Less Fuel Efficient
During a typical long-haul flight, an aircraft reaches cruising altitude for about 30 minutes, and then flies level for several hours before beginning its descent. During climb and descent, there is much more aerodynamic drag on the jet than during the cruise portion of the flight. In fact, the climb and descent segments account for nearly 15 percent of total flight time at high-drag conditions, while the remainder of the flight continues during low-drag conditions.

On a short flight, a private jet plane may climb for about 20 minutes, with an hour or two of level flight, before descending. In this case, 33 percent of the flight time during the climb and descent are under high-drag conditions, with lower-drag conditions for the remainder.

Because a longer portion of the short-haul flight incurs higher aerodynamic drag - and coupled with the lower cruising altitude of a domestic flight - you can expect a lower fuel efficiency as compared to the long-haul flight. Higher aerodynamic drag also increases carbon emissions during your flight.

Flight Cycles Versus Flight Hours: An Important Distinction for Private Jet Owners
Flight cycles - measured in pairs of take-offs and landings - play the most critical role in aging your private jet plane.

With short-haul flights, your jet is accumulating cycles rapidly when you consider the ratio of cycles to flight hours in a set timeframe. Long-haul flights accumulate more flight hours than cycles. Keep reading to learn how cycles affect the economy of flight.

Maintenance Based on Flight Cycles
During each cycle, your used private jet undergoes pressurization and depressurization, putting stress on the airframe, which makes it more prone to requiring more frequent maintenance. During shorter flights, your jet engine heats and cools rapidly, which increases wear and tear, as compared to long flights.

Part Replacement Based on Flight Cycles in Your Used Private Jet
A consequence of racking up more and more cycles thanks to short flights is that limited lifetime parts on your jet will need replacement at a faster rate, particularly those scheduled for replacement based on number of cycles.

Consider Overall Carbon Emissions During Private Jet Plane Flights
With owning a private jet comes great responsibility, particularly if you use yours for business trips. You want to ensure that you aren’t compromising your company’s corporate responsibility and ethical viewpoints due to excess corporate travel.

According to the European Federation for Transport and Environment, a private jet emits up to 14 times more carbon dioxide on a 500-kilometer trip than the same flight completed by a commercial airline. This is about 50 times more carbon emissions than the same trip by rail.

If your corporation seeks to reduce its carbon emissions, frequent trips in your used private jet may not be supportive of that mission. However, it is understandable to need to travel to hold meetings, manage mergers, and facilitate deals.

Fuel Consumption

The cost of a flight is dependent on a number of factors, but one is fuel consumption. Private jets require jet fuel to power them - and this is different from the gasoline or petrol you put in your Mercedes.

In general, jet fuel is less expensive than regular gasoline, but because private jets require such a large quantity of it, the cost of private jet flights are immediately more costly than other transportation methods. For financial economics, refueling a private jet for a long-haul flight will simply cost more because your aircraft will need more fuel than it does for a short flight.

Crew Pay
You’ll need to pay your crew’s wages regardless of how often or where you’re flying. If you employ a full-time crew dedicated to your fleet of private jet planes, it ultimately does not matter whether you embark on short-haul or long-haul flights.

Conversely, if you’re paying your crew by the hour, long-haul flights will obviously be more expensive. However, you are required to have a trained flight crew in most countries.

Airport Fees
You’ll incur ramp fees and other airport fees everywhere you travel, regardless if it was a two-hour flight between Kansas City and Denver or a long-haul flight from New York City to London. Fees vary by airport and type of aircraft you fly. Consider these when assessing the economy of any flight you take.

Find a Fuel-Efficient Pre-Owned Jet for Sale for Your Business Fleet
A simple way to affect the economy of your flights is to ensure you own a fuel-efficient, well-maintained used private jet, rather than an obsolete one. You can find the best available pre-owned jets for sale on, the exclusive listing site of International Aircraft Dealers Association (IADA) Accredited Dealers.

Each listing is carefully vetted for accuracy, and every IADA Accredited Dealer holds themselves to high ethical standards - because it’s the right thing to do.

You, too, can uphold your corporation’s environmental missions by opting for fuel-efficient private jets with lower carbon emissions and by taking thoughtfully planned and coordinated trips.

Consider these used private jets for sale on

Embraer Phenom 100

Cessna Citation II

Gulfstream G200

Hawker 900XP