Agents and operators could be looking to private jets as a way of getting customers moving again on holiday.
PrivateFly said it had seen an 85% annual rise in enquiries in the past two weeks, from both new and existing travel trade partners such as Virtuoso, Advantage Travel, Black Tomato and Ten Group.
The rise in enquiries comes despite most people in Europe being unable to fly yet due to border restrictions.
“With travel restrictions easing in much of Europe from 15 June, we are very busy indeed with enquiries from travel agents, concierges and yacht brokers,” said Hannah Needs, PrivateFly’s head of partnerships. “They are telling us their clients are desperate to get away but are reluctant to fly on [scheduled] airlines until the risk of Covid-19 has reduced significantly – particularly those with families, or those who are older or in higher risk groups.”
PrivateFly’s prices start from £6,500-£7,000 one-way for a six-seater light jet such as a Nextant 400XTi, on short trips such as London to Nice; or from £18,500 for a 13-seat Embraer Legacy 600, from London to Ibiza.
“Private jet travel is obviously more expensive, but for clients prepared to spend more, it offers far greater control over your environment, both in the air and on the ground,” said Needs. “You share the cabin only with your own group; and avoid the busy main airport, moving through a small and uncrowded private terminal instead.”
PrivateFly works with a range of accredited aircraft operators worldwide, Needs said, as well as having preferred access to a fleet operated by parent company Directional Aviation.
“Additional measures are in place to protect private jet passengers even further, including deep cleaning and disinfection before every flight, and new service protocols,” said Needs. “Agents are increasingly looking at private aviation as a solution, so holidays can go ahead safely and with peace of mind. And with travel now a more complex consideration for many people, the role of the travel agent as a trusted adviser has never been more important.”
Agents are able to access rapid transparent quotes for accredited private jet charter, Needs said.
“We work mainly with travel companies serving the luxury and corporate segments, but recent enquiries are also coming from those who haven’t booked private jets before and are now keen to offer this,” she added. “What’s more, with airline commission rates declining in recent years, it’s also an attractive revenue opportunity at a challenging time.”