In This Trying Time, The Rich Are Struggling To Find Private Jets For Sale

And you thought you had it rough attempting to source a reasonably priced, gently used Subaru Outback

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Car shopping right now is a miserable experience. There’s no new inventory, used inventory is scant and ultimately you’re going to be overpaying. And that’s a problem, because people need cars.

But before you lament your own inability to buy a car, take a moment and spare a thought for the real victims of post-pandemic over demand and under supply: private jet customers. They’re people just like you and me and they’re hurting, folks. New business jets can’t be made fast enough, and the secondhand market is bone dry, per Reuters:

“There are virtually no young pre-owned aircraft available - good news for would-be sellers and for (planemakers),” said aviation analyst Rolland Vincent.

He recalled one trucking company’s recent search for a pre-owned Gulfstream jet: “There was one aircraft in the world that fit their requirements.”


One Gulfstream in all the world! Now, of course these individuals could just fly first class, but they’d rather not to do that these days. Can you guess why?

[Aerlex Law Group partner Amanda] Applegate said it’s a case of pent-up demand as some wealthy travelers previously avoided private jets due to concerns like “flight shaming” over the environment. Corporate planes burn more fuel per passenger than commercial.

But since COVID-19, buyers have been shifting to private aviation to avoid airport crowds and coronavirus variants.


There are other factors at play too. You’ve got loads of first-time buyers, and those who do have desirable jets are holding onto them as values rise, per the Financial Times. The number of preowned aircraft for sale in May composed 6.6 percent of the global fleet, Reuters reports, and that’s an all-time low over the last 25 years. Meanwhile, 864 private jets changed hands between January and April of this year, which happens to be 36 percent more than that period in 2020, immediately before the pandemic.

So private jet buyers are getting antsy, and that impatience is leading to stupid decisions, like forgoing pre-purchase inspections. These are generally a good idea to carry out before plunking down millions on a jet, not just because it’s a machine that flies but also because, as the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association points out, it ensures you’re not overpaying for a sky lemon.

An unsatisfactory condition is not necessarily cause for rejection of the aircraft, but it should be treated as a point for further investigation and/or negotiation with the seller.


As it happens, there’s actually been an ongoing shortage of late-model private jets “building over the last several years” well before COVID-19 struck, according to Business Jet Traveler, though the pandemic has exacerbated the problem. I’d recommend y’all just be patient, wait a minute for new production to ramp up and fly commercial like the rest of us plebs in the meantime, though something tells me that’s not the answer you’re looking to hear.