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Private aviation creates complete flexibility over where and how you fly. Understanding the different aircraft for charter will help you get the best deal.

A world of possibility. But where do you start? There is no best aircraft for charter. The best for you will depend on how far you are flying, how many passengers there are, and the amenities you require. At Airvel we’re always seeking to provide the best value private charter, so there’s no need for a heavy jet when you’re flying solo from Boston to Nantucket.

This article provides a definitive guide to all the possible aircraft for charter.

Step #1 is to understand the different types of aircraft and when they are most useful.

Step #2 of the guide introduces you to the most popular and best value private jets for charter.

Step #3 offers a series of facts about aircraft for charter, illustrating the possibility that private aviation can create.

Step #4 shows you the easy way to book any aircraft that is available for charter.

Aircraft Guide #1 - Understanding the Different Types of Aircraft For Charter

Every aircraft is different. It’s easy to imagine that when comparing a Airbus A380 with a single-seat plane. However, most aircraft for charter are designed for a small number of passengers. The major differences are the technology that powers the plane, from pistonprops to turboprops to light and heavy jets.

By understanding why you would choose each of these aircraft for charter, you can start understanding what will be best value for you.

Single-Piston Aircraft

Ideal for short-range flights, single-engine piston prop aircraft are propelled by a gas combustion propeller engine. They are small and can’t fly far without refueling. But they can access very short runways, so you touch down closer to your final destination. Flown by a single pilot these aircraft are best suited for short inner-state hops and journeys less than 200 miles.

Average Passenger Capacity: 3-4

Representative Aircraft: Beech Bonanza, Cessna 206, Cessna Skylane 210, Piper Cherokee Six, Cirrus SR-22

Popular Itineraries: Boston to Nantucket, Los Angeles to Van Nuys, Munich to Stuttgart, Ft. Lauderdale to Ft. Myers

Multi-Piston Aircraft

Piston props are usually chosen for their price. They’re cheaper than turboprops or jets, ideal for short-range flights with limited passengers or cargo. Multi-piston props have a better safety and reliability record over single-engine piston props, especially in poor weather. You still can’t fly much further than 350 miles but you utilize short runways and touch down at rarely used airstrips, making them quick and convenient for short journeys.

Average Passenger Capacity: 1-5

Representative Aircraft: Beech Baron, Cessna 402, Piper Navajo

Popular Itineraries: Boston to Nantucket, Scottsdale to Las Vegas, Hamburg to Dresden, Ft. Lauderdale to Nassau

Turboprop Aircraft

Turboprop aircraft blend the low-cost advantages of piston props with the performance and space of light jets. They are powered by turbine propeller engines and have a range of over 1000 miles. They can travel further and faster, making them great aircraft for charter. And they’re more comfortable than pistonprops as they have pressurized cabins and usually a toilet. Turboprops are a very popular choice for private air charter and can access almost all domestic airports. They’re offer value for money, safety and performance.

Average Passenger Capacity: 4-8

Representative Aircraft: King Air 90, 100, 200, 300, Cheyenne I, II, III, IV, Merlin, Beech Starship, Pilatus PC-12, Commander

Popular Itineraries: Toronto to Chicago, San Diego to Los Angeles, Boston to New York or Washington D.C., Geneva to Paris, Vienna to Prague and Seattle to Reno

Very Light Jets

Very Light Jets are rarely used in the air charter industry but can be an economical option if available. Flown by a single pilot they are best suited to short journeys with limited passengers and cargo.

Average Passenger Capacity: 4-8

Representative Aircraft: Eclipse 500, Cessna Mustang and Embraer Phenom 100.

Popular Itineraries: Chicago to Dallas, Paris to Hamburg, Los Angeles to San Francisco and Boston to Atlanta

Light Jets

The most popular choice for short to mid-range trips, light jets make flying air charter simple. They can cruise at 440 mph and have an average range of 1500 miles, while still being able to land at minor airports and small airstrips. The technology is similar to a commercial jet, just on a smaller and more flexible scale. They’ve become the standard aircraft for business charter, realizing the speed and value that private charter can offer.

Average Passenger Capacity: 4-8

Representative Aircraft: Citation II, Learjet 35, Falcon 10, Westwind, Beechjet 400

Popular Itineraries: Dallas to Chicago, Hamburg to Paris, San Francisco to Los Angeles and Atlanta to Boston

Mid Jets

In one sentence, Midsize Jets are a larger version of Light Jets. They fly faster and have a longer nonstop range of over 2000 miles, yet are still able to operate in and out of small to medium-sized airports. Compared to a Light Jet you can fly with more weight - cargo, luggage, passengers - and have more space to move around. It costs more to get them in the air, so they will work out more expensive for shorter journeys. However, if you’re flying 1000 to 2000 miles then Mid Jets are an excellent aircraft for charter.

Average Passenger Capacity: 5-9

Representative Aircraft: Learjet 55, Falcon 20, Hawker 800, Citation VII

Popular Itineraries: New York to West Palm Beach, London to Milan, and Van Nuys to Seattle

Heavy Jets

Heavy jets are premium private aircraft for long-range flights. With a range of 4,000 miles they are ideal for international and East Coast to West Coast flights, their cruising speeds typically around 530 mph. They have spacious and heavily tailored interiors, with toilets, beds, catering facilities and all those things you need to be comfortable on a long journey. Although they can’t access the smallest airstrips, Heavy Jets can land at most airports and operate from bases inaccessible to major airlines. If you’re flying long then this is what you are likely to charter.

Average Passenger Capacity: 10-19

Representative Aircraft: Falcon 900 or 2000 Challenger 600, 601 or 604, Gulfstream II, III, IV or V

Popular Itineraries: Bangor to Seattle, New York to Rome, Moscow to Miami, London to Los Angeles, and San Francisco to Tokyo

Turboprop Airliners

Turboprops have evolved to carry more passengers. The Airliners have two or four turbine propeller engines and capacity upwards to 65 passengers. Like typical turboprops they are an economical choice and can land on runways too short for jet aircraft. Their range is longer than typical turboprops and there is far more flexibility over cabin configuration. If you have 20 or more passengers Turboprop Airliners can provide surprisingly good value.

Average Passenger Capacity: 19-65

Representative Aircraft: Beech Commuter 1900, Jetstream 31, Swearingen Metro

Popular Itineraries: Newark to Charlotte, Sacramento to San Francisco, New York to Washington D.C., Le Bourget to Bordeaux

Jet Airliners

Jet airliners are the private planes you probably already know about. It’s the sort of plane the president would fly around the world. Or the Airbus 300 you may have flown on countless commercial flights. Such aircraft for charter are expensive. However, if you can fill most of the seats then it’s cheaper to fly private charter than buying all those seats on a commercial flight.

Average Passenger Capacity: 25-500+

Representative Aircraft: Airbus 300, Boeing 727, McDonnell-Douglas DC-10

Popular Itineraries: New York to Aruba, Chicago to Tokyo, Moscow to Capetown, and Sydney to Venice


You know what a helicopter is right? They are best used to transport passengers to a location that’s nowhere near an airport.

Average Passenger Capacity: 3-10

Representative Aircraft: Bell Jet Ranger, Eurocopter Twinstar, Sikorsky S76, and Agusta 109

Popular Itineraries: East Hampton NY to Manhattan, Zurich to Geneva, Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, and Whidbey Island to Tacoma

Aircraft Guide #2 - The Most Popular and Best Value Aircraft For Charter


Fly air charter and you choose the plane. The Airvel marketplace gives you access to thousands of different aircraft. We can’t get you Air Force One or the gold-laden aircraft Donald Trump travels in, but there is just about every other available aircraft for charter.

There are swanky planes from celebrity Instagram accounts, functional aircraft for business hops, the perfect plane for a ski weekend with friends, and transatlantic aircraft offering excellent value charter.

Here are ten of the most popular aircraft for charter. Within the industry these are the go-to planes, offering high flexibility, excellent safety, and all important value for money.

  1. Beechcraft Premier 1 - The Beechcraft Premier 1 is a light jet which can carry 6-7 passengers. It’s known for its efficient design and comfortable cabin, and is ideal for short inexpensive private flights.
  2. Cessna Citation X - A mid-sized business jet, the Citation X differs significantly from others in the Citation family, as it has different wings, avionics, and engines. It’s long range and fast cruising speed put it in a different league to Citation II and Citation III, making it an ideal aircraft for charter.
  3. Hawker 800- The Hawker 800 was developed by the British and used by the Japanese for maritime search and rescue. It provides great value without losing out on comfort.
  4. Gulfstream G150- Aviation Week call the Gulfstream G150 the fastest and most cost-effective mid-sized executive jets.
  5. Dassault Falcon 50- The Dassault Falcon 50 was the first business jet to fly transatlantic. It’s now a par standard in the aircraft for charter industry.
  6. Bombardier Challenger 605- The Bombardier Challenger 605 is a super mid-size jet ideal for mid to long-distance flights. The 605 came along in 2007, following on from the revolutionary 600, 601, and 604.
  7. Dassault Falcon 900 - As Business Jet Travel put it, the Dassault Falcon 900 “remains in a class of its own”. We don’t need to say much more than that, other than it’s becoming an incredibly popular aircraft for charter.
  8. Beechcraft King Air 90- The smallest in King Air’s family of turbo props, this plane has a spacious cabin and is perfect for taking a family or small group of friends away. Its value for money is superb.
  9. King Air 350- The King Air family has the best safety record of any business airplane, and the 350 model is the safest among all other King Airs. The 350 also has excellent takeoff performance and a very versatile cabin.
  10. Pilatus PC-12- One of the most reliable single-engine turboprops, the Swiss-built Pilatus PC-12 can seat up to 9 passengers is regularly used as an air ambulance or surveillance aircraft.

Aircraft Guide #3 - 12 Completely Random Facts About Aircraft For Charter


We love private jets. No, that’s not a terrible chat-up line, just a passion we like to share. But you don’t need to know the nuances of Part 135 and wing drag to impress people with your knowledge of aircraft for charter. After reading this article you should already know the basics, so you might want to skip straight to Aircraft Guide

But for a brief interlude, here are some random facts about private jets and other aircraft for charter.

#1) Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier on a private jet. He had two private ribs, because he fell off a horse the day before.

#2) The fastest private jet in the world is the Cessna Citation X. It was certified by the FAA at 617 mph, making it the world’s fastest aircraft meant for civilian travel. It takes passengers from New York to LA in as little as 4 hours!

#3) Beyoncé gave husband Jay-Z a 40-million-dollar Bombardier Challenger 850 jet. As a Father’s Day present!

#4) The Super Bowl is the biggest event for private jet travel in the United States, with over 600 private planes landing. The Masters and Kentucky Derby come in second and third.

#5) The first aircraft for charter took flight in the United States. In 1963, Bill Lear’s private jet took off from Wichita, Kansas, marking the beginning of the private travel industry.

#6) A Bombadier Global 8000 can go over 9000 miles on a single tank.

#7) The odds of being in a plane crash are roughly one in 1.2 million. Make that one in 11 million for a fatal plane crash. In comparison you’ve got a 1 in 645 chance of dying in a car crash.

#8) The most expensive private jet in the world is an Airbus A380 owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, which cost over $500 million. It has two-car garage, horse stables, and rotating prayer room that always faces Mecca.

#9) In May 2017, Boeing introduced its 787 Dreamliner for private charter. The plane costs $74,000 per hour to charter and has a master bedroom, fitted with a California king-sized bed.

#10) John Travolta is an accomplished pilot and owns at least five aircraft, including a Boeing 707-138 that previously flew for Qantas.

#11) Basketball players shouldn’t fly on a Dassault Falcon 7X as the maximum headroom is only six feet two inches.

#12) More than half the world’s private jets are registered in the United States.

Aircraft Guide # 4 - The Easy Way To Find An Aircraft For Charter

Now you know what you want, how do you find it? Every flight you take will be different and the beauty of private aviation is matching the situation to the plane. So you don't need a jet card that ties you into a minimum number of flying hours per year. Nor a charter company that limits you to specific types of jet.

To maximize the benefits of private air charter you need unrestricted choice. You need the complete roster of aircraft for charter, and complete flexibility over when and how you fly. So welcome to Airvel, the easy online booking engine for on-demand aircraft for charter.

Airvel simplifies the process of flying private.

  1. Instantly search thousands of FAA-Approved Charter Aircraft, with no restrictions on the type of aircraft.
  2. Compare the prices and amenities of different aircraft for charter.
  3. Pay for your charter. You can make changes online all the way up to 15 minutes before the flight.
  4. Fly.

With Airvel you pay as you fly. There are no upfront costs or membership requirements. Just whatever aircraft you want to charter, whenever you want to fly.




About Author

Peter Murray
Peter Murray

An aerospace engineer with over 30 years experience, Peter has been involved with some major aviation breakthroughs. For example, we was part of the team that designed the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. But you don't need to know what happened in the 80s. Peter now uses his technical knowledge as a director at one of the US's fastest growing aerospace companies.

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