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Light Jet, Midsize Jet, Large Jet - Spoilt For Choice, But What's The Difference?

The private jet charter market is flooded with a broad variety of jets each offering different perks, amenities, capabilities and of course, drawbacks. As a result and without professional charter advice, it can be a task trying to match a private jet to your bespoke charter and itinerary requirements, with so many viable aircraft options available to you as a charterer.

To simply a charterer's options when selecting a suitable private jet, the industry has categorised each private jet into five main aircraft categories:

  1. Very Light

  2. Light

  3. Midsize

  4. Large

  5. VIP Airliners

Some private jet manufacturers have developed aircraft which fall into hybrid categories, one such being 'Super Midsize'. For the benefit of this article, we have trimmed those hybrid sub-categories into their main category.

Each category sets a standard for private jet capabilities. Cabin size, maximum altitude, maximum range, take-off weight, load capacity, amenities and of course, speed.

So, what are the differences between each private jet category?

Very Light Jets

Very Light Jets are often associated as "Air Taxis" due to their very small airframe and minimal amenities. What they lack in size they make up for in practically and price. Very Light Jets are capable of landing on very short runways and have incredibly low running costs when compares to midsized or even light aircraft.

Very Light Jets bridge the gap in performance between traditional turboprop powered aircraft and larger more conventional private jets.

The drawbacks - Very Light Jets have a reduced cabin, minimal amenities and in some cases, no lavatory. They are mainly used for short-haul hops for 1-2 passengers.

Shown in the images above, Textron Aviation's Cessna Citation M2. Other VLJ include the Honda Jet, Eclipse and more desired, Embraer Phenom 100.

The Stats:

Passengers: 4-5

Range:  2,800 km

Speed: 750 km/h

Light Jets

Light Jets are the most popular option for private jet charterers, especially in Europe.

Offering a 'traditional' private jet experience whilst retaining some of the economical benefits of Very Light Jets, these Light Jets offer the perfect combination of speed, operating costs and of course, luxury.

The drawbacks - Whilst Light Jets offer a charterer a cost-effective 'traditional' jet experience, they are limited with range capabilities and luggage capacity. Some charterers who have demanding cargo requirements must upgrade to a Midsize Jet simply to cater for additional cargo space and take-off weight.

Shown in the images above, Textron Aviation's Cessna Citation CJ3 and CJ4. Other Light Jets include the Embraer Phenom 300 and Pilatus PC-24, which offers an exquisite cabin experience as shown below.

The Stats:

Passengers: 6-8

Range:  4,000 km

Speed: 850 km/h

Midsize (Super Midsize) Jets

Midsize Jets offer superb range, comfort and luggage capacity making them an ideal choice for trans-continental charter flights.

Midsize Jets are often a striking presence on the VIP apron and clearly out-class light jets in terms of their cabin space and flight capabilities. With wider cabin bodies than their light jet opponents, these midsize aircraft cater for up to 10 passengers and allow for a less restrictive cargo weight restrictions due to their upgrade in performance.

The drawbacks - Midsize jets bridge the middle ground between light jets and large jets in terms of range. They are superb options for inter-continental flights, but are unable to reach those longer-haul destinations which larger jets are capable of. For shorter haul charter flights, a Light Jet offers superior cost-per-charter and adequate cabin experiences. A Midsize Jet is often only chosen over a Light Jet, if a Light Jet is unable to cater to the itinerary's range requirements.

Shown in the images above, Textron Aviation's Cessna Citation Longitude and Latitude. Other Midsize Jets include the Gulfstream G200 and Bombardier Challenger 300.

The Stats:

Passengers: 8-10

Range:  6,500 km / 3,500 N/Miles

Speed: 895 km/h

Large & Ultra-Long Range Jets

Large Jets are the apex of private jet charter and are split into Large and Ultra-Long Range Jets. These jets offer superior cabin and luggage amenities, global range, superior speed and passenger experience. These aircraft can traverse the globe in a single flight and can equip a day or night cabin experience, converting the up-right seats into fully reclined beds.

Large Jets dominate the airspace and apron when compared with other jet classes. With the widest cabin bodies and customisable cabin facilities, these jets are able to meet any charter itinerary requirements, but come at a heavy charter price.

The drawbacks - Large Jets are by far the most expensive aircraft to charter. For long-haul flights, a charterer may have to charter a Large Jet, rather than a Midsize simply due to the range requirements. Large Jets are unable to land at smaller remote airports due to their weight and take-off requirements.

Shown in the images above, Dassault Falcon 8X and Gulfstream G700 Cabin. Other Large Jets include the Bombardier Global 6500 and Bombardier Challenger 650.

The Stats:

Passengers: 12-16

Range:  7,500km - 14,500km

Speed: 990 km/h

VIP Airliners

VIP Airliners are reserved for bespoke flights which require an aircraft with superior passenger and cargo capacity. These aircraft are capable of being equipped with private jet style interiors, or business-class rows for additional passenger capacity.

These VIP Airliners make up a small percentage of the private jet market due to their infrequent charter requirement, however when one is chartered, you won't be able to miss it.

Often reserved for charter requests made by larger sports teams and groups who seek to charter one aircraft, rather than several.

The drawbacks - The expense. These VIP Airliners are even more expensive than their Large Jet rivals and are not suitable for passenger groups of less than 15. Due to their size, some of the more remote or smaller airports are unable to cater to their handling requirements.

Shown in the images above, Embraer Lineage and Boeing Business Jet Cabin. Other VIP Airliners include the Airbus A320 VIP and Airbus A340.

The Stats:

Passengers: 22-100+

Range:  4,000km - 8,500 km

Speed: 870 km/h


LUX JETS assists charterers with their private jet charter requirements by firstly understanding the bespoke needs of the charterer. By understanding the purpose of the trip, luggage requirements, distance to destination, passenger numbers and comfort preferences, LUX JETS is able to narrow down the most suitable aircraft by category. Once the category is identified, LUX JETS offers several available private jets to the charterer for selection.

Save time, ensure a safe and regulated flight and guarantee availability with the LUX JETS charter team.


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