As inflation rises across the country, many individuals are wondering how this affects air travel. Rising fuel prices can increase the cost of owning or chartering a private jet, so it’s important to understand how these prices may affect your travel plans. When you want to make the best economic decision as you purchase a personal private jet or charter a private flight, understanding fuel consumption can help you make informed decisions.
Various factors affect fuel consumption and the cost of fueling an aircraft. Each type of jet burns an approximate number of fuel gallons per hour, but actual use fluctuates based on aspects such as weather conditions, altitude, speed, weight, take-off, and drag rate. The exact cost to fuel a private jet will vary, but you can closely estimate fuel costs by considering important factors and using correct calculations.
It’s difficult to estimate how much fuel a jet aircraft consumes since private jet fuel consumption and cost depend on several different factors. Even if you measure fuel consumption, making the same flight in the same aircraft on the same day will likely use a different amount of fuel due to weather changes and other variables.
In general, the slower an aircraft travels, the less fuel it will consume. Altitude also affects fuel consumption, meaning an aircraft will consume less fuel the higher it flies because thinner air imparts less resistance. You will also need to consider distance when calculating aircraft fuel burn because an aircraft will consume more fuel the farther it travels.
Fuel burn rates can be calculated in pounds per hour or gallons per hour. Pilots typically calculate this number in pounds per hour to consider the aircraft’s weight, which includes passengers, fuel, and cargo. As a potential aircraft passenger or owner, you may want to consider an aircraft’s fuel burn rate in terms of gallons per hour because fuel prices are set by the gallon.
Different aircraft models burn different amounts of fuel per hour, and larger aircraft typically burn more fuel per hour than smaller aircraft. While a light jet can burn less than 100 gallons of fuel per hour, a heavier jet can easily burn nearly 700 gallons of fuel per hour. Different types of jets have the following approximate fuel burn ranges:
A jet’s fuel burn rate will also depend on pressure conditions, temperature, and the type of fuel powering the aircraft.
The cost of fueling a private jet depends on more than travel distance, fuel burn rates, and fuel prices. Many factors can affect the amount of fuel an aircraft consumes and how much it costs to fly a jet from one location to another. Fueling amounts and fuel costs vary based on the following elements:
Drag is the force created when an aircraft moves through the air. Drag is a rearward force resisting an aircraft’s forward movement. The more resistance an aircraft has in the air, the more fuel it will burn to compensate for that resistance. Air and movement are necessary to create drag. Thinner air and lower speeds reduce the amount of drag.
An aircraft will have greater fuel efficiency the higher in altitude it travels. Aircraft speed increases at higher altitudes because the air is cooler, causing the engine to operate more efficiently. Cool air expands more than warmer air when it is heated, and this expansion boosts a jet engine’s turbines so it can generate more power while burning less fuel.
Air at high altitudes is also less dense. Thinner air reduces drag and allows the aircraft to fly faster at higher altitudes. Conversely, it will fly slower and burn more fuel at lower altitudes.
Altitude also affects a jet engine’s thermal efficiency. Since air at higher altitudes is cooler and has a lower density, it flows into the engine’s compressor at a faster rate and mixes with the fuel in the combustion chamber to expand the compressed gas and help the aircraft reach an optimum cruise altitude.
At its optimum cruise altitude, an aircraft can attain a maximum range speed with a given thrust setting. Optimum cruise altitude varies based on aircraft type, atmospheric conditions, and an aircraft’s weight.
An aircraft’s speed affects how much fuel it consumes. Flying at a higher speed often reduces fuel efficiency, and the slower a jet can fly, the less fuel it will burn. While flying faster can help you reach your destination faster, you can conserve more fuel by flying at or below the optimum cruise speed.
An aircraft’s take-off can also affect fuel consumption. Shorter flights tend to burn more fuel because take-off uses the most fuel during a flight. However, take-off is also an opportunity to conserve fuel. With a lower flap setting and drag, an aircraft will burn less fuel during take-off.
A jet’s climb rate affects fuel rate because a gradual climb rate will burn less fuel while maximum cruise thrust will burn more fuel.
When the air is warm, an aircraft requires more power to climb and burns more fuel. Cool air is thicker than warm air, so an aircraft will require less power and burn less fuel when the air is cool. Turbulence can also affect fuel consumption. Changing a flight path or altitude to avoid turbulent conditions increases the amount of fuel an aircraft burns to reach a destination.
An aircraft’s overall weight also affects its fuel burn rate. The more passengers an aircraft carries, the heavier it will be and the more fuel it will burn. Alternatively, the same aircraft carrying fewer passengers will burn less fuel.
Cargo also contributes to an aircraft’s overall weight. The more luggage an aircraft transports, the heavier it will be and the more fuel it will burn. An aircraft’s fuel burn rate can fluctuate depending on how much luggage passengers take on a flight. If each passenger only takes a small carry-on bag, fuel consumption will be slightly lower than a flight carrying multiple heavy bags for each individual.
When fuel cost exceeds a pre-defined level, fuel surcharges can affect the overall amount passengers pay to fly. Fuel costs also depend on the type of fuel used in an aircraft. Using sustainable aircraft fuel significantly benefits the environment, but it can increase the price of fueling an aircraft.
Similar to car fuel prices, jet fuel prices mainly depend on the barrel price of crude oil. Oil companies typically slow their oil production when prices and profitability decrease and then increase oil production when prices escalate. Because of this cycle, jet fuel prices often fluctuate. Fuel prices also vary based on the following factors:
It’s important to consider an aircraft’s engine type before calculating jet fuel costs. Turbine engines are larger and consume more fuel than reciprocating engines.
Most aircraft passengers and owners consider fuel consumption and costs in terms of gallons per hour. However, using this volume measurement for large engines and significant fuel quantities can complicate calculations because fuel volume significantly varies based on temperature. Weight, or density, provides a more consistent measurement because the temperature does not affect it as much as it does volume.
Fuel calculated by density results in fuel pounds-per-hour value. You can then divide this value into nautical miles (NM) per hour, which is true airspeed plus or minus winds. This produces a specific travel range value. During preflight planning, pilots must also consider fuel management, past fuel consumption, and mixture adjustment procedures.
If your aircraft has a reciprocating engine, you can reference your Pilot’s Operating Handbook (POH) or your Aircraft Flight Manual. In these resources, you can find fuel gallons-per-hour values.
To determine how much a flight will cost in terms of fuel, you must calculate how much fuel your aircraft will need to reach your destination. Calculate the distance your jet can travel at a known fuel consumption rate of pounds or gallons per hour at the predicted groundspeed (GS), or the amount of time the flight will take. Make sure you also consider winds in your calculations.
To complete this calculation, you must multiply your aircraft’s consumption rate by your estimated flight time. For example, if an aircraft consumes 6 fuel gallons per hour, a 5-hour flight will have a total fuel consumption of 30 gallons. If there is no wind speed, you can use TAS to calculate flight time. If wind is present, you must use GS to calculate your flight time.
While fuel costs can be expensive, chartering private flights is a much more affordable option than owning a private jet. When you book a flight on a chartered aircraft, the total price includes fuel costs. If you own a private aircraft, you must consider fuel costs separately along with the following additional costs:
Chartering a private flight is an excellent alternative to flying commercial or owning a private aircraft. It allows you to enjoy the conveniences of a private flight without handling the extra costs that aircraft ownership requires. When you charter a private flight, you can fly in class and comfort. On a private charter flight, you can bypass long airport lines, reach numerous destinations, and fly on your own schedule.
Charter flights allow you to fly in privacy and with exceptional personal service so your flight is as enjoyable as possible. When you are a passenger on a Latitude 33 Aviation charter flight, you can enjoy the following:
Spend quality time with family or prepare for an important meeting when you travel on a private charter flight. You can book an available aircraft and reach your desired destination at the time that works best for you. A charter flight allows you to bypass baggage check so you can take flight within minutes of arriving at the airport and spend your time productively. You can also choose to schedule multiple stops on your flight so you can access more locations.
The cost of fueling a private jet depends on several different variables. While each type of jet burns an approximate number of fuel gallons per hour, this number will fluctuate depending on flight conditions. Factors such as drag, climb, weight, speed, weather conditions, and altitude can potentially increase or decrease an aircraft’s typical fuel consumption.
If you are planning to own a private jet or charter a private aircraft, it’s important to understand how fuel costs may affect your overall budget. With the help of Latitude 33 Aviation professionals, you can invest in a private jet and make the best economic decisions based on fuel consumption and your financial needs.
Chartering private flights is an excellent alternative to owning a private jet if you wish to save money on factors such as maintenance, insurance, hangar, and crew compensation. When you charter a private flight with Latitude 33 Aviation, you can enjoy a comfortable, relaxing flight with exceptional service and excellent amenities. With an unparalleled safety record and award-winning aircraft, Latitude 33 provides a superb travel experience. Contact us to request a quote and schedule a flight to your next destination.