Private jet rental broker PrivateFly has updated its quarterly reports with an annual recap of trends and milestones for 2019.
Of note, it recorded its fastest-ever ‘go now’ flight – just 16 minutes from inquiry to take-off for a client flying from New York to Nashville.
At the same time, lead times continued to lengthen with only 48% of bookings flying within a week (compared to 50% in 2018, and 54% in 2017).
Overall, 3% of bookings for the same day, with 12% for next day flights, and 15% for two to three days out.
Some 21% of customers book their private jet charters more than 30 days in advance, while 15% finalize their plans eight to 14 days from departure.
PrivateFly said the with more clients are now looking to secure availability at peak times, hence committing further out from their travel dates.
The list of most frequently chartered jets for PrivateFly was topped by the Nextant 400XTi, followed by the Cessna Citation XLS/XLS+, Embraer Legacy 600, Citation CJ2, Citation Mustang, Phenom 300, Phenom 100, Citation Bravo, CJ3, and Citation Ultra.
Small jets were the most popular, accounting for 45% of flights. However, that marked a seven-point drop from 2018. Conversely, super-midsize and long-range jets jumped nine points to a 26% share.
Flights on midsize jets increased from 20% to 23%, however, flights on propeller aircraft fell from 9% to 5%.
The average flight time was 2 hours 54 minutes, with the shortest flight just 27 minutes, from Manchester, England to the Isle of Man. Bookings averaged 1.6 legs.
In terms of when people fly, the busiest time for departures was Fridays at 11 AM. It was also the busiest day of the way with 16% of takeoffs, beating out Thursdays and Saturdays, each at 15% of volume.
While Tuesdays were tied with Mondays as lowest for departures, both with 13%, Tuesday saw 19% of bookings, followed by Wednesdays and Thursdays, each with 18%
Weekends were slowest for reservations with only 7% taking place on Saturdays and 5% on Sundays.
The number of passengers per flight was down, dropping from 4.5 to 4, while the average age increased to 41 years old from 40.
Seventy-one percent were men, down a point year-over-year.
There were fewer children under 16, accounting for 12% of passengers, down from 14% in 2018.
While many media stories highlight UHNWs flying their pets, only 4% of its flights carried those best friends.
Not all customers fit the typical business or leisure profiles.
In November, PrivateFly worked with a corporate client who was flying a group of media on a short trip to view a new factory, in a remote location in Scandinavia.
For 25 passengers and the 40-minute flight, a regional airliner with rows of seating was the best aircraft option, but this didn’t give much opportunity for the client to make a VIP impression onboard.
PrivateFly created a welcome reception at the airport’s VIP lounge instead, and organized some gifts and treats onboard. Its operations manager went to personally oversee all the details.
While PrivateFly offers an online-offline approach, it said 59% of customers used mobile for searching, up from 51% in 2018. Share of desktop searches plunged to 35% from 42% while tables fell from 7% to 6%.