Buyer's Guide: What to Keep in Mind While Shopping for a Yacht or Private Jet
Gautam Chiniwala, owner of MMP India and Vinit Phatak, Chairman and co-founder of Invision Air
After a chat with Vinit Phatak, Chairman and co-founder of Invision Air—a business house active in aviation safety and chartering jets—and also some interesting email exchanges with Gautam Chiniwala, owner of MMP India—a marine product and services specialist company—what we are given to understand is that yachts may rate high on luxury and recreation, but private jets provide scope for both leisure and business activities in equilibrium.
“Aircrafts would be of three basic types—a piston or single engine 4-passenger aircraft, a turbo prop aircraft (aircraft with propellers), and lastly, the business jet. Focusing on jets, they can be categorized into light jets, mid-sized jets, super mid-sized jets, large cabin jets, and heavy jets. The price inevitably increases as you work your way up in the categories,” says Phatak.
Gautam Chiniwala explains that luxury yachts are completely the clients’ choice, “You can go from a 27-ft cabin cruiser to much larger yachts, mega yachts and super yachts.”
Charter or Own?
“Fundamentally it’s a matter of how much you use an aircraft, the flying experience, services and comfort levels are the same, the difference however is in the matter of availability,” says Phatak. Elaborating further, he explains that if you fly more than 350-400 hours a year, owning an aircraft makes more sense because a chartered plane is not going to wait on you. However you also have to consider the cost factor, owning a jet can set you back by Rs 20-25 crore, so unless you really need it, you could opt for chartering.
Chiniwala has his own take on the matter, “To understand the pleasure of owning a yacht, charter one first. It’ll help you realize whether the whole experience is worth enough to make it a part of your lifestyle permanently."
Inside the Phenom 100 by Embraer
Doing the math Phatak states that a first time investor could go for a light jet (the entry level jet) which would typically cost around Rs 20-25 crore. While the average range is between Rs 20-400 crore, exclusive heavy jets like Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Airbus A380 can cost as high as Rs 2,000 crore.
“As for yachts, the in-house price range of FIPA yachts is approximately 13 crore and upwards depending on customization, but you can buy for lesser I suppose, although the yacht and its amenities would be pretty basic” says Chiniwala.
Phatak explains that purchasing a jet is about identifying your city pairs—Mumbai-London / Delhi-London-Dubai… and so on). City pairs help determine whether an aircraft of a particular size can do that kind of distance and whether it would warrant stopovers. “This is what we call range. Couple this with number of passengers and you should be sorted on your choice of aircraft.”
Selecting a luxury yacht has more predictable steps. Chiniwala asks you to budget for purchase and yearly costs, check the market for new offers and models, and figure out whether you want a day yacht or whether you want to build a life on it.
Maiora by FIPA
“We are looking at about Rs 1-2 crore for the maintenance of light jets, however the bigger the machine the higher the cost, but even then you could incur an expense of Rs 5-6 crore per annum tops. This should cover everything from maintenance to fuel, to a space in the hangar,” says Phatak.
The boating culture in India is still developing and so, fuel, docking and maintenance is all taken care of by the service company handled by the client. “We calculate approximately 6-8 % of the value of the yacht as yearly costs to maintain and move it,” says Chiniwala.
Top of the Line
Interestingly, both men compare their top picks to luxury cars. From Bombardier Global Express and Cessna to Embraer and Dassault, the jet market has ample on offer, but touted to be the Rolls Royce of private jets is Phatak’s personal favourite—the Gulf Stream 650.
Chiniwala has his eyes set on yachts by FIPA, his own group. He compares FIPA’s yachts to the Bentley of the yachting industry, and would be happy with any pick from Maiora, AB Yachts and CBI Navi.