Famous Jet Owners: Who Flies Private and What Do They Fly?
Private jets have long been a symbol of wealth, power, and exclusivity. They provide an unparalleled level of convenience, privacy, and luxury to those who can afford them. Some of the world’s most affluent and famous individuals—be they tech tycoons, Hollywood stars, musicians, sports icons, or other influential figures—have invested in these airborne status symbols. But who are these jet owners, what do they fly, and how much do these flying marvels cost? Let’s take a deeper look.
|Celebrity||Jet Model||Estimated Cost in Dollars|
|Mark Zuckerberg||Gulfstream G650||$65 million|
|Elon Musk||Gulfstream G650ER||$70 million|
|Jeff Bezos||Gulfstream G650ER||$75 million|
|Bill Gates||Bombardier BD-700 Global Express||$40 million|
|Tom Cruise||Gulfstream IV||$36 million|
|John Travolta||Boeing 707||$75 million|
|Jim Carrey||Gulfstream V||$59 million|
|Oprah Winfrey||Bombardier Global Express XRS||$42 million|
|Jay-Z||Bombardier Challenger 850||$20 million|
|PewDiePie (Felix Kjellberg)||Potential Jet: Bombardier Challenger 300||Estimated $24 million|
Famous Jet Owners: Who Flies Private and What Do They Fly?
Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder of Facebook, is known to own a private jet. More specifically, he owns a Gulfstream G650, one of the fastest and most luxurious jets on the market. The jet costs around $65 million, which equates to approximately 21,666,666 Happy Meals at $3 each. Elon Musk, the innovative tech tycoon behind SpaceX and Tesla, owns a Gulfstream G650ER. This enhanced range model allows for longer non-stop flights. The cost of this jet is around $70 million. To put it in perspective, that’s the equivalent of roughly 23,333,333 Happy Meals.
In general, according to some jet charter companies and management firms, an owner who uses their jet for both personal and business purposes might average around 150 to 200 hours of flight time per year. But again, this is a rough estimate and actual usage can vary widely.
Despite these enormous costs, owning a private jet provides numerous benefits for these high-flying tech tycoons. Not only does it offer unrivaled comfort and privacy, but it also allows for flexible travel arrangements, which is crucial for individuals with demanding schedules and international business commitments. Owning a private jet is a symbol of success in the tech world, demonstrating the vast wealth and influence that these individuals have garnered through their groundbreaking tech companies.
Of course, the cost of the jet is only the initial purchase price. The ongoing costs for maintenance, fuel, staff, and hangar space can also run into the millions each year. These costs, however, are just a small part of the overall wealth of these tech giants.
A. Tech Tycoons and Their Jets
- Mark Zuckerberg does own a private jet. Though the exact model is not known, he reportedly spent $23 million on charter flights in a single year. That’s the equivalent of about 6.1 million New York Happy Meals! The annual running cost of a private jet can vary significantly, depending on usage, size of the aircraft, and various other factors, but typically can range from $700,000 to $4 million per year. It’s not clear how often Zuckerberg uses his jet. (Sources: Wall Street Journal, SherpaReport)
- Elon Musk, the visionary CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, travels on a $70 million Gulfstream G650ER. This is equivalent to 18.6 million Happy Meals. Considering his business engagements around the world, Musk reportedly uses his jet extensively. The running costs would be in the region of $2-3 million per year. (Sources: Business Insider, Insider)
- Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, owns a Gulfstream G650ER, the same model as Musk’s. The cost of this jet is equivalent to 18.6 million Happy Meals. It is not clear how often Bezos uses his private jet, but given his vast business and personal interests, it’s likely to be frequently. The annual running cost would be similar to Musk’s. (Sources: Business Insider, Insider)
- Bill Gates owns a Bombardier BD-700 Global Express, which he calls his “big splurge”. With a cost of around $40 million, this equates to about 10.6 million Happy Meals. As a world-renowned philanthropist and business leader, Gates uses his private jet regularly for global engagements. The annual running costs would be around $2-2.5 million. (Sources: Forbes, SherpaReport)
B. Hollywood Stars in the Sky
- Tom Cruise owns a Gulfstream IV, one of the most popular business jets in the world, and a World War II era P-51 Mustang fighter plane. Cruise’s jet would likely cost around $2 million annually to run. Cruise’s aviation passion is well known, suggesting he uses his jets often. (Sources: Forbes, SherpaReport)
C. Musicians and Private Jets
Jay Z, one of the most influential figures in the hip-hop industry, is known for his extravagant lifestyle, which includes owning a private jet. More specifically, he owns a Bombardier Challenger 850. This jet is estimated to cost around $40 million, which equals approximately 13,333,333 Happy Meals at $3 each.
The Bombardier Challenger 850 is known for its spacious cabin, which can comfortably accommodate up to 16 passengers. With a range of up to 3,230 nautical miles, this private jet can travel long distances without the need for refueling, making it an excellent choice for international tours and trips.
The convenience of having a private jet allows musicians like Jay Z to adhere to tight tour schedules and make impromptu trips as needed. However, specific flight frequency and usage details for individual musicians are not publicly available and would vary based on their professional commitments, personal travel needs, and other factors. Please refer to direct statements from the musicians or their representatives for the most accurate and current information.
- Jay Z is known to own a Bombardier Challenger 850 Learjet, a gift from his wife Beyoncé. It’s worth about $40 million, equating to 10.6 million Happy Meals. The running cost would be around $1.5 to $2 million per year, taking into account maintenance, crew, and fuel costs. Jay Z’s globe-trotting music career and entrepreneurial endeavors would likely warrant regular use of his private jet. (Sources: Daily Mail, SherpaReport)
D. Sports Icons and Their Jets
Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the world’s most famous footballers, is known to own a private jet. More specifically, he owns a Gulfstream G200, which costs around $25 million. To put that in perspective, it’s the equivalent of about 8,333,333 Happy Meals at $3 each.
Floyd Mayweather, one of the most successful boxers of all time, is also a private jet owner. Mayweather owns two private jets, but his most famous is the Gulfstream G650, known as “Air Mayweather.” This jet is estimated to cost around $60 million, or around 20,000,000 Happy Meals.
The ability to travel privately offers significant advantages for sports icons like Ronaldo and Mayweather, including the flexibility to attend international events, training sessions, and personal commitments with ease. Specific flight frequency and usage details for individual sports stars are not publicly available and would vary based on their professional commitments, personal travel needs, and other factors.
- Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly owns a Gulfstream G650, valued at $70 million, equivalent to 18.6 million Happy Meals. With his football commitments all around Europe and often further afield, Ronaldo’s jet likely gets plenty of use. The annual running costs for such a jet would be about $2-3 million. (Sources: Business Insider, Insider)
- Floyd Mayweather is another sports icon with a taste for private jets. He owns a Gulfstream G650, just like Ronaldo and Musk. Mayweather’s love for luxury extends to his travel habits, so his jet sees frequent use. The annual running costs would be in the same ballpark as Ronaldo’s. (Sources: Business Insider, Insider)
In terms of private jet ownership, we can’t overlook Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group. Branson owns a Dassault Falcon 50EX, which costs around $21 million, equating to around 7,000,000 Happy Meals at $3 each. He frequently uses his private jet to travel between his numerous homes and businesses worldwide.
Another individual known for possessing an impressive private jet is the Sultan of Brunei. His Boeing 747-430 is estimated to have cost a staggering $233 million after customizations, which converts to approximately 77,666,666 Happy Meals. The aircraft, aside from being an astounding symbol of wealth, is also a testament to the Sultan’s status as one of the wealthiest individuals globally.
- The richest private jet in the world is the Airbus A340-300 owned by Alisher Usmanov, a Russian billionaire. It is worth approximately $400 million, equivalent to a staggering 106 million Happy Meals. This behemoth of a jet would have significant running costs, likely upwards of $20 million per year. (Sources: Business Insider, Insider)
- The largest private jet is the Boeing 747-8I BBJ, owned by Sultan of Brunei. This jet, worth $403 million, is the equivalent of nearly 107 million Happy Meals. With a massive jet like this, you’d be looking at yearly costs upwards of $20-25 million. (Sources: Business Insider, Insider)
- Virgin Group’s Richard Branson owns a Dassault Falcon 50EX. It’s worth approximately $21 million, the equivalent of 5.6 million Happy Meals. The annual running cost would be around $1-1.5 million. Given Branson’s global business interests, it’s safe to say his jet sees frequent use. (Sources: Forbes, SherpaReport)
As previously mentioned, the convenience, privacy, and prestige associated with owning a private jet make the expenditure worth it for these individuals. However, it’s important to bear in mind the enormous costs associated with running these jets year after year.
And so on…
Please note that the costs of the jets and their running costs have been estimated based on known values and reported figures. The equivalent cost in Happy Meals is based on an estimated average cost of a Happy Meal in New York, which is about $3.75.
It’s important to bear in mind that owning and maintaining a private jet involves a significant expenditure. The fuel, maintenance, crew salaries, and various other costs can add up to millions of dollars annually. Yet, for many of the world’s wealthiest and most influential people, the convenience, privacy, and prestige associated with owning a private jet make it an expense they are willing to bear.
Owning a private jet is not for the faint-hearted, nor is it for the shallow-pocketed. The costs of acquisition, maintenance, operation, and staffing can easily run into millions of dollars each year. However, for the individuals we’ve discussed—leaders in their respective fields—the benefits of owning a private jet clearly outweigh the costs. They offer flexibility, convenience, and comfort on an unrivaled level.
To help put things in perspective, we’ve compiled a table below which outlines the cost of these jets in not just dollars, but also in terms of an everyday item—the Happy Meal—and an average meal in New York. These comparisons give a fun, relatable sense of the sheer scale of these expenditures.
|Celebrity||Jet Model||Cost in Dollars||Equivalent in Happy Meals||Equivalent in Average NY Meals|
|Mark Zuckerberg||Gulfstream G650||$65m||17.3 million||2.6 million|
|Elon Musk||Gulfstream G650ER||$70m||18.6 million||2.8 million|
|Jeff Bezos||Gulfstream G650ER||$65m||17.3 million||2.6 million|
|Bill Gates||Bombardier BD-700 Global Express||$40m||10.6 million||1.6 million|
|Tom Cruise||Gulfstream IV||$36m||9.6 million||1.4 million|
|John Travolta||Boeing 707||$75m||20 million||3 million|
|Jim Carrey||Gulfstream V||$59m||15.7 million||2.3 million|
|Oprah Winfrey||Bombardier Global Express XRS||$42m||11.2 million||1.7 million|