A desire to remain in “travel bubbles”, avoid commercial airports, and cope with the speed of decisions made around quarantine means more and more well-heeled travellers are turning to private jets
Private jets have often been seen as the preserve of presidents, pop stars and top-level business executives. But the current situation has opened the eyes of a whole new wave of leisure clients who now have more justification for this way of flying.
When the pandemic took hold, there was a flurry of private jet bookings around the world, as people attempted to get home – or to another of their homes in some cases – and companies also turned their attention to offering emergency services as point-to-point scheduled flying started drying up and borders closed.
Newly launched Victor Rescue rose to the challenge for example, including a public service of air ambulances and medical evacuations, flying essential workers – from medical staff to nuclear scientists and power plant managers – around the world while operating repatriation and rescue flights to help people stranded in various parts of the globe. And all done under Victor’s policy of double offset (200%) carbon emissions on every flight.
There’s also the perception that flying private helps avoid the risk of contracting Covid-19, as those who can afford it appreciate the higher degree of control over the service and experience that travelling in a private bubble can bring.
Victor quotes a study carried out by one of its operators, GlobeAir, which concluded a passenger flying on a scheduled flight and having to use a commercial airport would likely have to come in to contact with at least 700 touchpoints; by travelling on a charter jet, that potential danger is reduced to between 20-30 touchpoints.
“Since the pandemic hit, the perception of aircraft charter has changed, with it beginning to be viewed more broadly as a fundamental mobility and business tool, as well as an investment in the flyer’s health and safety,” says co-chief executive Toby Edwards.
“Many new customers turned to aircraft charter as a means to reach home or family quickly, efficiently, and with less risk of exposure to other flyers. There were also many of our frequent flyers looking to isolate in second homes or private islands with their family.”
One example included a British businessman who booked to travel from LA to Farnborough to the Maldives, where he continued onto a private island shared with family and friends. “Wing-to-wing flying was of the upmost importance to him, as was using a private airport such as Farnborough, in order to minimise contamination and exposure,” Edwards adds. “Touching down in Farnborough, the client changed from a Gulfstream to a Global Express for the final leg, with the total journey costing £250,000.”