Use of private jets soars as wealthy avoid mosh pit of commercial flights
Private jet providers are benefiting from “unprecedented demand” from wealthy travelers trying to avoid the “mosh pit” of commercial flights as coronavirus travel restrictions relax.
Flexjet and PrivateFly, which provide private jets to wealthy families and business leaders, said they “saw exceptionally strong demand” for September and October – a time when demand tends to decline.
Flexjet said it operated 53% more flights in September compared to the previous month, contrary to usual summer trends.
Marine EugÃ¨ne, European Managing Director of Flexjet and PrivateFly, said The Guardian: âOur industry in Europe has traditionally seen a significant peak in July and August, followed by a slowdown in September – but not this year.
“We are currently experiencing exceptionally strong demand as the appetite for personal travel is not yet satisfied after a later summer start due to restrictions, and now business flights are also taking off alongside.”
Eugene said business destinations such as Paris, Zurich, Munich and Amsterdam were in the top 10 for European destinations – which were dominated by vacation hot spots.
âMany of our Flexjet owners and PrivateFly customers are starting to fly for business again and we are seeing a release from pent-up demand for in-person meetings,â she added. âWe have senior executives and entrepreneurs in industries such as finance and technology, booking multiple routes to see investment goals or conduct site visits.
“The US easing of its ban on British and European travelers from November also adds to unusually high demand in the last quarter of the year.”
Private jets emit about 20 times more carbon dioxide per passenger mile than commercial flights, industry data suggests.
Brian Foley, an aviation analyst, said the increase in demand had triggered a surge in orders for new builds for private jets – driven by “the appearance of well-heeled travelers[ing] for alternatives to overcrowded airline terminals and being stuck in a middle seat next to strangers â.
He added: “[They are] looking for a private jet charter or timeshare to avoid the mosh pit. Objective data showed that business jet travel was rapidly recovering to pre-pandemic levels, while airlines continued to languish. “
The ultra-rich in the United States have hired private jets from the UK-listed Air Partner to go on vacation at a pace high enough to make up for the company’s decline in business travelers.
Air Partner said that in the first six months of the year, bookings in the United States were higher than before the pandemic.
He said strong demand from high net worth individuals to travel for leisure had offset the decline in business travel.
Shares climbed 7.8% on the morning of August after the update, which also found that the company planned to confirm that it made an underlying pre-tax profit of 3.7 million. pounds sterling during the six months ending late July.
Bosses told shareholders the company “continues to trade strongly despite travel restrictions and general uncertainty resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.”
They added, âWe continue to see a strong recovery in our private jet business. The UK topped pre-Covid levels over the summer months as we welcomed a number of first-time private jet travelers, in addition to seeing increased demand from many of our existing customers. “
The company operates a private jet travel card, which allows customers to charge them in the same way that public transport users can charge for an Oyster card in London.
Customers purchase flight hours on their card and can then book a private jet with just one day’s notice and use the hours they’ve accumulated.
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