The Gulfstream G650ER.
The Gulfstream G650ER.
Image: Supplied

We all face tough purchasing decisions and it’s no different in the world of the wealthy. Okay, it’s slightly different to whether you buy your groceries at Woolies or Checkers, but it still involves money, only much, much more. Should you buy Patek Philippe or Breguet? Should you buy the holiday home in Plettenberg Bay or the Caribbean? Should you buy a Bentley or a Rolls-Royce?

Then there’s the really big-ticket question — how to choose between a luxury yacht and a private jet. If you are in the fortunate position of having this dilemma, as usual, Wanted is here to help.

Both can easily cost you anything from a few million dollars to tens of millions, even hundreds of millions, and while they are both luxury purchases, they serve different purposes.

Andrew Shirley, editor of Knight Frank’s The Wealth Report says he would go with the yacht. “There are so many things to do with it,” he tells us. “A yacht will give you more pleasure.”

That said, Shirley admits the convenience of a private jet to the high powered is not to be ignored. Parked at ExecuJet, or another private facility, and you can be seated in the plane in minutes without having to deal with the queues for commercial airlines. It’s also discreet — useful if you are a well-known CEO or celebrity who doesn’t want to be disturbed.

Climb into a Gulfstream G650 and you are in your own world, relaxing in comfort, working or sleeping in your own space, arriving fresh at your destination where you are whisked away to that important meeting. It comes at a price, of course, a Gulfstream G150 light will cost you over $14-million and the long-range G650ER is going to set you back $62-million. Those are big numbers, but in the world of big business, making use of every minute counts. Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn might be in trouble over his use of corporate jets but he spent so much time in the air managing the vast Renault-Nissan empire that he did most of his work at 36,000 feet.

Interior of a Gulfstream G650ER.
Interior of a Gulfstream G650ER.
Image: Supplied

Unlike when Ghosn rose to power, today there are environmental issues to consider. According to the International Civil Aviation Authority, private jets make up just 0.04% of global CO2 emissions, however, aviation is coming in for serious criticism when it comes to the environment.

“The wealthy are increasingly concerned about the environment,” says Shirley. It’s not just about their actual concern but also about how people perceive their approach to the issue no matter how efficient private jet travel might be when it comes to time.

“The functionality argument is a big one,” says William Mathieson, editorial and intelligence director of market information company The Superyacht Group. “Jets get you there quickly, efficiently and in comfort.” However, while jets have a huge environmental footprint, yachts do not.

The yachting industry has entered a period of significant change, though, with yacht builders looking at hybrid, electric and hydrogen propulsion as well as sustainable materials for construction.

Jets get you there quickly, efficiently and in comfort. However, while jets have a huge environmental footprint, yachts do not

Efficiency, practicality and the environment are all essential factors to consider but what would actually enhance your life the most, the jet or the yacht?

“The yacht is best for downtime,” says Mathieson but he stresses that you need to consider your approach to ownership very carefully. Owning and running a private jet is expensive and the same is true for yachts.

“People don’t necessarily understand the costs associated with yacht ownership,” he says. There’s maintenance, crew, mooring fees and so on. It requires extensive research before you even get into discussing the decor for your master cabin.

Mathieson’s advice is the same, whether you prefer air or ocean. He says you should charter first and, if you are going the yacht route, charter in different locations around the world. You need to understand the costs and how the benefits relate to your lifestyle as well as your budget.

Then you can get to the fun stuff, discussing the design and decor, whether you want a jacuzzi or a helipad. It’s possible to make a jet very much your own but you don’t have the creativity that you have with a yacht. Whichever you choose, realising your dream of ownership can take some time. From the initial conversation to delivery of a yacht can take anything up to three years but many an owner will tell you it’s well worth the wait.

If you are in the fortunate position to be able to consider either of these super-luxury forms of mobility, then it all comes down to this — do you want the uptime of a private jet or the downtime on a luxury yacht? Or maybe you can have both?

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