What Makes Aircraft So Expensive?

It is no secret that aircraft can be an expensive vehicle to manufacture and procure, especially up and coming models with advanced features. With the average passenger airliner reaching upwards of $230 million and many single-engine planes being priced near $100,000, one may wonder why aircraft cost so much. In this blog, we will provide a brief overview of the aircraft designing and manufacturing process, allowing you to better understand the reason behind the price tag of various models.

Aircraft are complex vehicles, defying the forces of gravity with the ability of flight despite their immense weight. To achieve such feats, aircraft often undergo significant amounts of design and testing to ensure that they can sufficiently take advantage of aerodynamics and carry out the roles they are meant for. During the design process, a team of engineers will often spend countless hours creating and refining designs, ensuring that they are capable of maintaining airworthiness, safety, and efficiency. Once a design has been finalized, the parts and components required to produce the aircraft will then be procured, each of which must meet safety and quality standards.

As aircraft manufacturers are typically limited in their choice of suppliers as compared to automobile manufacturers, any part that is not produced in their own facilities will often be much more expensive. With less competition in manufacturing also comes higher pricing, thus raising the overall costs of manufacturing. In regard to time, the average length of the aircraft manufacturing process may range from 9 to 12 months. The manufacturing process also requires thousands of employees that may stretch across multiple facilities, all of which create costs that are passed onto the consumer. Lastly, as the amount of aircraft manufacturers are limited as well, they can also charge their customers more for their offerings due to the few options that they have.

Across all parts that make up the aircraft, the engine is often considered to be the most costly component. On a large passenger airliner, a single engine may cost upwards of millions of dollars by itself. For the Boeing 747, as an example, engine options typically range anywhere between $11 and $12 million. The avionics of an aircraft can also be expensive, especially if more advanced displays and models are chosen. For a small aircraft, a GPS navigator that provides basic functionalities may cost around $20,000. Meanwhile, the robust avionics panel of a passenger airliner may reach upwards of $100,000 or more.

While private planes may cost much less upfront for procuring a standard model, they can still be expensive to operate for owners and travelers. These costs often result from standard procedures such as conducting maintenance, refueling, and carrying out ground services. If a pilot is hired for the aircraft, then owners will have to factor in their pay as well. In order to land at an airport, private jet owners will typically pay a fee of $2,000 per trip for landing and handling fees. Coupled with insurance and other expenses, there are many costs associated with such aircraft.

While the manufacturing and procurement of aircraft and their parts can be an expensive endeavor, Unlimited Purchasing is here to save you time and money on all your operational requirements. Unlimited Purchasing is a streamlined procurement platform, providing customers access to over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find items at competitive prices. Take the time to explore our vast offerings, and our team of industry experts are readily on standby 24/7x365 to provide personalized quotes for your comparisons and assistance through the purchasing process. If you would like to learn more about our offerings and services or are ready to begin procuring parts, give our team members a call or email at your earliest convenience and we would be more than happy to help you!


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