The U.K.-based company had expanded into the U.S. with its acquisition of Bird Dog Jet which brought with it a contract for the Virtuoso network of luxury travel agencies which generates over $25 billion in annual travel sales. In September PrivateFly was acquired by the Directional Aviation family, which includes Flexjet, Sentient Jet and Skyjet.
Top destinations were London and Paris, with New York and Las Vegas also making the Top 10, alongside European leisure hotspots. Nice, Ibiza, Palma de Mallorca, Geneva, and Nassau also made the list.
Spend per flight slightly up on 2017 levels, and a consistent mix of demand across aircraft types. The average price of chartering a large jet topped $70,000 per trip while turboprops clocked in at $9,500.
The Cessna Citation Mustang was the most frequently private jet, followed by the Citation CJ2/CJ3 and the midsize Citation XLS/XLS+. The Embraer Phenom 100 was fourth with the Citation Bravo rounding up the top 5. The large cabin Gulfstream IV made an appearance at number 10. Overall, 52% of customers flew on light jets followed by 20% on midsize jets.
Lead times were slightly longer, with fewer clients booking to fly within a week (50% versus 54% in 2017). Frequent flyer clients are becoming aware of the need to book ahead at peak times to secure availability. That said, 21% of clients booked their private flights the same day or next day and 35% of reservations were within 72 hours of departure. The average flight time was 2 hours 54 minutes.
May 26 was its busiest day of the year for take-offs, due to the Cannes Film Festival, Champions League Final and public holiday weekends in both the UK and US. Friday at 11am was the busiest time for departures with Tuesday being the busiest day for bookings. Fridays and Saturdays saw the most flights (17% each) although Saturdays and Sundays (6%) were the slowest for bookings.
Clients’ mobile usage for flight search and booking grew significantly in a year – now at 51% (versus 39% in 2017). Overall, 72% of passengers were male and the average flight carried 4.4 passengers, and while average age was 40 years old, 14% were under 16 years old. Only 3% of flights had pets onboard.