If there’s one thing a globetrotter is trying to avoid today, it’s flying.
And for good reason too. Airports are one of the most crowded places in modern society. Closely followed by huge airliners efficiently cramming more humans than one can imagine. Social distancing? Gone for a toss.
However, there are among us those who just can’t do without flying. So, what are top executives, successful entrepreneurs and wealthy individuals (etc.) doing?
Flying private of course.
Ever since countries started imposing travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders, private jet charter companies have seen a huge spike in demand. Primarily from those who’re stranded away from home.
This sudden demand died down with the mandatory quarantine requirements released by various governments for those landing in their airports.
But as restrictions start easing across the world, demand is expected to rise.
Just think about it. If you absolutely have to fly and could afford to ensure optimum safety and privacy, how’d you fly?
Private aviation is the obvious answer. It also has distinct advantages.
- Using specialised terminals that avoid crowds at the check-in counter, security checkpoints and the boarding gate.
- No waiting times, your plane takes off whenever you’re ready.
- Social distancing is easier.
- An elevated level of service and comfort.
- Choose your own route. No need to have a layover you don’t want.
Private jet charter companies across the globe have already witnessed an increase in bookings and enquiries. They expect this trend to continue growing as safety becomes the new luxury.
Charter operators have also switched their SOPs and trained crew to lean towards ensuring safety rather than luxury. For example, executing passenger requests swiftly with minimal contact and keeping disposable cutlery on hand.
Luxury brands are quickly understanding that priorities are evolving to include a higher than ever standard of hygiene and customer well-being. Jet charterers are no different.
Private jet traveller demographics have been dominated by time-crunched businessmen and corporate executives forever. With the pandemic, there has been an unexpected increase of up to 40% in families flying private, compared to pre-pandemic figures. Making it clear that private jets are being used to buy not just time but protection too.
The private jet industry provides quite a few options to choose from. With the first and most common being on-demand charters.
Then you have jet cards and private jet memberships, followed by fractional ownership or leases and finally, full ownership.
Jet cards have rapidly grown popular over the past few years. You can choose from several plans starting from as low as 10 hours, buying more as you go. Interestingly, jet card firms have seen their revenues boom recently due to wealthy individuals hoarding on flying hours.
Most seasoned fliers are purchasing in larger increments. The trend is similar to people hoarding groceries and other necessities. They might not need it. But they want the peace of having it should a need arise.
One of the few things private aviation has generally had going against it are environmental concerns. With the pandemic, this too seems to have taken a back seat.
More and more travelers are now opting to fly private if they have the means to. Not concerning themselves with the potential environmental damage of their decisions.
Many private jet firms have programs to offset carbon emissions too, awarded to fliers opting for bigger plans.
I predict an increase in first time jet owners, especially in the light private jet segment. These are small jets capable of ferrying 4 to 8 people up to a typical range of 2000-2500 km.
The substance of this segment is the jets being rated for single-pilot usage. As the world sobers up, a lot of new and seasoned owners will opt to pilot their own jets.
The thing about flying private is that most people fall in love with it after the very first time. This can lead to an increase in users and subsequently, owners. A private jet is a significant investment. Both for individuals and corporate companies.
Yet, those who try it due to safety concerns during the pandemic are likely to find the experience worthy enough to continue significantly investing in. This theory is backed up by the fact that there are very few who regret purchasing a private jet.
It’s not hard to see why. You can go wherever you want, whenever you want and however you want. It’s flexibility that lets you buy back your time.
But here’s the catch. As demand for private aviation increases in the future (and it definitely will), prices are predicted to go up. Potentially making private aviation costs more difficult to justify for both wealthy individuals and corporations.