One of the questions we often receive on our social media accounts has to do with the speeds of private jets, such as: how fast do private jets fly? And do private jets actually fly faster than commercial airliners?
In the article below, we will take a closer look at a few factors that affect the speed of private jets, the fastest business jets in the world, and if private jets can actually travel faster than other commercial aircraft.
A typical cruising speed for a private jet is around 950 km/h (512 knots).
The Cessna Citation X is generally considered the fastest production private jet, having a maximum speed of 1,144 km/h (618 knots).
Because of this, many private jet manufacturers are today designing their newest models to closely match this maximum speed, as a way to be more competitive in the market.
The Gulfstream G650 has a maximum speed of 1,102 km/h (596 knots) and the Falcon 7X can fly at speeds up to 1,085 km/h (586 Knots). The Learjet 60XR can fly at speeds up to 970 km/h and the Global 5000 is capable of flying at speeds up to 950 km/h (524 Knots).
Recently, Falcon, Bombardier and Gulfstream have announced brand new aircraft, with even higher top speeds. The Falcon 10X will have a maximum speed of some 1140 km/h, Bombardier's new flagship Global 8000 a top speed of 1130 km/h and the Gulfstream G700 will fly at speeds of up to 1100 km/h.
However, there are limits to just how fast a private jet can fly due to pressure differentials at high altitudes, fuel efficiency and other factors, so most private jets will usually not actually reach these top speeds during normal operations.
When comparing the speed of a private jet with that of a modern passenger airliner, the numbers might seem surprisingly close at first glance. On paper, commercial jets often have cruising speeds that are either comparable to or sometimes even exceed those of many private jets. For instance, with commercial jets like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner zipping through the skies at around 900 km/h (485 knots) and a private jet like the Cessna Citation X+ hitting around 980 km/h (530 knots), the difference might seem minimal.
However, these numbers only tell part of the story. Speed isn't solely about how fast an aircraft can travel in a straight line. It’s about the entirety of the journey — the agility to change routes, the ability to skip lengthy boarding processes, and the luxury of choosing from a wider range of airports. In these aspects, private jets often have a distinct advantage.
So while the headline speeds of both aircraft types might be in the same ballpark, the real-world experience can be vastly different, with private jets being the clear winner in terms of overall travel times, comfort and efficiency.
For a more in-depth dive into private jet vs. commercial airplane speeds, read our detailed blog How Much Faster is a Private Jet Than a Commercial Airplane? Going Beyond Airspeed
Flying at a high altitude is considered to be the main factor in determining how fast a private jet can go. Some of the lower-end models may not be able to reach their top speed when flying at very high altitudes because certain atmospheric conditions, such as air pressure, do not allow for it.
In addition to this, some aircraft are designed to be more fuel-efficient, which in many cases means slower speeds. It is also worth mentioning that the speed of the jet plays an important role in its size and range, because to go faster generally requires more power.
Private jets are generally smaller than other aircraft like commercial jets, but if they were designed with greater ranges (like commercial jets are) they would probably have similar speeds.
Other factors that determine the speed of a private jet include the number of passengers or amount of cargo on board (the weight of the aircraft), the type of aircraft (turboprop aircraft will be slower than jets), performance limits and weather conditions.
Private jets fly at an altitude of 35,000-40,000 feet (around 11,000 meters) which is about 10,000 feet above commercial planes. This helps them avoid the busy airspace below (where most other aircraft fly) and also makes for a more comfortable flight for the passengers, since there is less turbulence compared to flying at lower altitudes.
Commercial aircraft fly at lower altitudes, at 35,000 feet above sea level.
At higher altitudes, jet engines provide optimum fuel efficiency and can reach higher speeds. Flying at altitudes of 35,000 feet and above also usually results in higher ground speeds due to air density and winds.
Lastly, let's take a close look at the private jets which can fly the farthest distances.
Up until recently, the Gulfstream G650ER was known for being the longest-range business jet, with a maximum range of 13,890 km (7500 nm) at Mach 0.85 and 11,853 km (6400 nm) at Mach 0.90.
However, more recently announced long-range private jets by Bombardier, Gulfstream and Dassault have an even longer range. The G650ER's successor, the Gulfstream G700, will have a comparable range of 13,890 km (7,500 nm), the Dassault Falcon 10X a range of up to 13,900 km (7,500 nm) and Bombardier's new Global 8000 will be able to fly on industry-leading distances of up to 14,631 km (7,900 nm).
As you have read above, private jets usually fly faster than other larger commercial aircraft. This, of course, depends on a number of factors, such as number of passengers on board, cruise altitude, weather conditions and routing.
The fastest private jets can fly at speeds of over 1,100 km/h or 600 knots, on distances of sometimes over 14,000 km!
Looking for a fast private jet for your next trip? Get in touch with our expert team of brokers, we are available 24/7 for any flight request you may have.