There are dozens of private business jet models available today. Narrowing down a purchase selection can be daunting. One way to help streamline the acquisition process is to understand the five basic industry categories of business jets; these categories take into account weight, range, and cabin space. They are very light, light, midsize, super-midsize, and large (and heavy/”bizliner” jets).
Approaching these categories with the following questions in mind will simplify the process even more by helping you relate the categories to your specific business needs:
1) Who typically will be traveling on most flights? Just a few members of your executive team, a small group of customers, or large groups of individuals from across your enterprise or client base?
2) What will you be doing on the flight? Working on your laptop or smart tablet? Conducting in-flight meetings and continuing business as usual? Carrying specialized equipment or materials? Or just flying to get to destinations more quickly.
3) Where are you going? Short hops to key regional customers throughout the year? Intercontinental trips? Or transatlantic flights to conduct global business?
4) Why do you need or want the business jet? To access small airports throughout the country easily? To save time by bypassing fuel stops and layovers? To get to destinations as flexibly as possible?
5) How quickly do you need to access destinations? As quickly as possible through the use of small airports? As quickly as possible throughout all weather conditions?
Now, consider the typical capabilities of each category as you match the category to your business requirements:
Very light jets
The smallest category, a very light jet offers agility to access small airports with shorter runways. In the U.S. alone, that opens up over 5,000 airports for business travel. What’s more, they won’t overburden your OpEx, yet they still deliver speed and travel flexibility. Examples include Cessna Citation Mustang and Embraer Phenom 100.
Who: Capacity of 4-6 passengers
What: Limited in-cabin amenities, but lavatories are possible
Where: Range of 1,000 miles
Why: Small airport accessible; shorter runway landings make this category very agile
How: Speeds up to 480 mph
Light business jets
This category also benefits from being able to land at smaller airports while also delivering intra-continental capabilities. Light jets have been a popular option since the launch of the business jet market about 50 years ago. Examples include Bombardier Learjet 40 XR, 45XR and 70/75 models; Hawker Beechcraft 400; Embraer Phenom 300; Dassault Falcon 10; and Cessna Citation CJ1-CJ4, Bravo, and Encore models.
Who: 5-6 passengers is typical for comfortable seating
What: More in-cabin comforts (e.g., reclining seats, air conditioning, some electronics) are typically included.
Where: Medium ranges (up to about 1,500 miles non-stop), which is about 2 ½-3 ½ hours
Why: They can land on shorter runways, giving you access to smaller, less busy airports
How: Cruising speed typically is 400-450 miles per hour
Midsize business jet
This category emerged to accommodate transcontinental flight for larger groups of passengers. A business staple, the flexible midsize jet enables comfortable, in-cabin productivity during long flights. Examples include Cessna Citation XLS, Columbus, and Sovereign; Embraer Legacy 450 and 500; Bombardier Learjet 60 XR or 85; Dassault Falcon 20; Hawker Beechcraft 750, 850XP, and 900XP; and Gulfstream 150 and 250.
Who: 5-10 passengers
What: A pressurized cabin makes at-altitude travel comfortable; two pilots are necessary; all models have a lavatory; in-flight work is possible
Where: Range generally is 2,000-3,000 miles non-stop (about 5 hours flying time)
Why: They can land on smaller runways, but these aircraft are suitable for longer-range travel such as transcontinental flights and for travel with larger passenger capacity requirements
How: Cruising speed typically is 430-480 miles per hour
Super midsize business jets
The super midsize category with a wide body combines speed, productivity, luxury, and ultra-range capabilities. They can climb high quickly yet comfortably, making this category a good choice for longer flights. Examples include Dassault Falcon 2000S and 900DX, Cessna Citation X, Embraer Legacy 600, Gulfstream G250, Bombardier Challenger 300, and Hawker Beechcraft 4000.
Who: 8-10 passengers
What: These are luxurious aircraft with elite amenities; they can accommodate passengers and baggage comfortably
Where: Range generally is 3,400-3,600 miles non-stop
Why: These jets are fast and fuel efficient, and they can support intra-continental travel needs
How: Cruising speed typically is 490-590 miles per hour
Large business jets and heavy (“bizliner”) jets
Large business jets are purposely designed for business travel, while heavy jets (also known as “bizliners”) typically are converted commercial airline aircraft. The robust cabin of these jets can be customized for luxurious and productive flight in dedicated work spaces, conference rooms/offices, and full-service galleys. Intercontinental travel is the goal. Large cabin jets include Bombardier Global and Challenger models; Dassault Falcon 7x; and Gulfstream G500, G550, and G650. Examples of heavy jets include Boeing Business Jets and Airbus models.
Who: 10-18 passengers
What: Any amenity you can image, including state-of-the-art electronics, is possible on these super-luxurious, highly customizable jets; they enable business as usual during flight
Where: Range is 6,000+ miles (about 5-8 hours)
Why: These can operate in most weather conditions by being able to cruise at higher altitudes
How: Cruising speed typically is 480-560 miles per hour