Short notice bookings, more kids, pets and passengers highlight COVID-19 private jet charter trends

By Doug Gollan, July 15, 2020

Private jet charter broker PrivateFly says the average number of passengers on private jet flights is increasing while the booking window is falling

Private jet travel has been rebounding since hitting its bottom in mid-April, and while there have been lots of anecdotal stories about who is flying, PrivateFly’s Private Jet Charter Trends report covering the April to June period provide deeper insights.

private jet charter and rentals
While the number of passengers on private jet charter flights increased, so did the size or the aircraft they rented, according to PrivateFly’s summary of second-quarter bookings.

In terms of advance booking, the trends were towards booking charters closer to the departure date. The number of clients making reservations more than 30 days in advance dropped by half from 21% to 10%.

However, there wasn’t a dramatic change in short-term private jet rentals. The number of clients who flew within a week of booking inched up to 50% from 48%.

Within those booking private jets within a week of departure, there were also shifts.

“We saw more clients flying within a week of booking, but fewer the same or next day due to the added operational complexity of COVID-19,” said PrivateFly CEO Adam Twidell. Same day and next day private jet charters dropped to 9% instead of the usual 15 – 20%.

The average number of passengers per flight increased by 7%, from 4.15 to 4.45. However, private jets weren’t necessarily more crowded.

Large Private Jets gain popularity on the charter market

The percentage of clients who rented midsized jets dropped from 23% to just 10%. On the other hand charters of super-midsize and large cabin private jets jumped from 32% to 48%.

Midsize jets typically carry seven passengers while super-midsize jets aircraft usually hold eight to nine passengers. Large-cabin jets can seat up to 16 passengers.

Twidell said, “For the first time ever, Long-Range and Super-Midsize Jets was our biggest aircraft category in Q2, representing almost half
(48%) of our flights

With business travel down, family travel increased. That was reflected by the number of passengers under the age of 16, which jumped by 50% to 18% from 12%. The number of pets flying by private jet increased from 4% to 6%.

Reflecting the trend towards leisure travel, flights on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday increased from 40% to 46% of charters. Private flights on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday dropped to 41% from 47% of activity.

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