There is no ideal length of time to own a business aircraft, however. The ideal will differ from one prospective owner to the next.
Changes in the primary mission will often dictate a change of aircraft to one that is a better fit. When the mission changes, its important to establish if these are for the short-term or will be more permanent. A short term change in mission or hours to be flown might be well served by charter or a jet card. As a part of your acquisition process, you will need to see if any foreseeable mission changes are likely to occur, and if so, when and for how long.
As an aircraft ages, it requires more maintenance to stay reliable. The time needed to perform that maintenance tends to increase. The costs of operating a newer aircraft are therefore lower than older examples. If the economics of the newer aircraft are lower than the older one, it can further support a change.
For business –use aircraft, taxes may be another consideration when deciding how long to keep the aircraft. Taxes should never be the sole reason to buy or sell your jet, but they can be significant decision point. It’s always a good idea to consult with a tax expert for further guidance.
Maintenance, Technology and Parts
Maintenance factors: Calendar requirements for travel, advances in technology and the ability to obtain spare parts after an aircraft has been out of production for many years are among the other considerations for determining how long you should plan on keeping your jet.
The new technology that is required for ATC, navigation and increasing safety may not be cost-effective when modifying older aircraft. For some business jets, updating systems to a modern ‘glass cockpit’ suitable for global navigation can exceed $1 m or more. For the older global jet, it may not be worth spending that money. This must be assured at the time you’re buying a jet.
In summary, there is not one right answer for how long to own a business aircraft. The timing depends on the age of your aircraft and on the costs of owning and operating it. So owners who change aircraft every five to seven years and some who keep an aircraft 2 years or longer.
Article by: David Wyndhan (is co-owner & president of Conklin & de Decker) “AvBuyer”