Demand for private jets soars as wealthy travelers try to avoid ‘mosh pit’ | Air Transport
Private jet providers are seeing “unprecedented demand” from wealthy customers seeking to avoid the “mosh pit” of commercial flights on fall getaways as coronavirus travel restrictions relax.
Flexjet and PrivateFly, which provide private jets to wealthy families and business executives, said they “saw unusually high demand” for travel in September and October at a time of year when bookings normally decline. .
Flexjet, which offers shared ownership of its fleet of private jets in Europe, said it operated 53% more flights in September compared to the previous month, contrary to usual seasonal trends.
Marine Eugène, European Managing Director of Flexjet and PrivateFly, said: “Our 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 the UK government’s easing of travel restrictions from October 4 and the US easing of rules for vaccinated European visitors have propelled demand for increased private jet flights as wealthy travelers continue to plan for short stays or private jet vacations until the fall. and later than usual.
She said business destinations such as Paris, Zurich, Munich and Amsterdam had returned to the top 10 European destinations, which were previously dominated by vacation hot spots.
“Many 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,” she added. “We 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.”
At the start of the pandemic, the wealthy had turned to chartering private jets for “evacuation flights” from countries affected by the coronavirus epidemic.
Private jets emit about 20 times more carbon dioxide per passenger mile than commercial flights, according to industry data.
Brian Foley, an aviation analyst, said demand for private jet flights had started to translate into an increase in orders for new aircraft builds after a drop in 2020 which was the first annual drop in deliveries of new aircraft. jets in over a decade. Foley said the request was 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 ”.
“[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. “
Foley said the large private jet makers are reporting twice as many aircraft orders as the number they are currently producing, resulting in a “significant boost” in production capacity.
“Since aircraft production cannot be increased with the flick of a switch, overall deliveries in 2021 will not be that different from previous years over the past decade,” he said. “However, as builders [original equipment manufacturers] ensure that the increased demand is real and that they can produce more airplanes without risking unsold units becoming expensive lawn ornaments, the rotation will become more pronounced.
His consulting firm, Brian Foley Associates, predicted that around 700 new private jets would be delivered in 2021 – roughly the same as in previous years. However, he said a “significant ramp-up will begin in 2022 and continue unabated for several years, easily surpassing the 900-unit level for the first time since 2007”.